The Opel Manta GSe Is the New EV You Didn’t Know You Wanted

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The new Opel Manta GSe EV is on a bold new “e-mission”, according to a press release from the German brand and their pun department. The GSe is a one-off vision of the company’s commitment to a zero-emission future with retro touches throughout the new EV. However, it’s not a totally new design, borrowing heavily from Mantas of the past. The name isn’t the only retro touch on the GSe, and the car is part of a continuing trend across the industry.

The Opel Manta GSe continues a trend

Manta GSe ElektroMOD | Opel

Recently, Ford brought back the “Lightning” name. GMC brought back “Hummer”. If it’s an old, long-dead name, manufacturers are looking to bring those names back as EVs to boost sales. Admittedly, it’s a strong marketing tactic. Old names are recognizable, and help get people into showrooms, especially older generations with money to spend. Now, Opel is doing the same thing.

The last Manta rolled off the production line in 1988 and has been dead until now. The original Manta was a rear-wheel-drive sports coupe with a four-cylinder motor and the famous black hood which small sports coupes of this era are known for. That black hood was used to cut down glare from the sun while racing, just like the black paint under a pitcher’s eyes. Of course, you’d be forgiven for not knowing this, or who Opel is, as the name is rather obscure in America.

Who is Opel anyways?

The logo of Opel hangs above a dealership on a yellow background
An Opel dealership in Athens | Nikolas Joao Kokovlis via Getty Images

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If you’re a super car geek, odds are the last time you remember seeing the name Opel was in Need for Speed. That’s because the Germany-based carmaker has been out of the U.S market for some time, leaving in 1978. The brand was boxed out of the market by evermore competitive offerings from big German names like Audi, and perhaps because Opel has always been a little different.

Their older cars put up acceptable sales numbers, but never approached the big dogs in the market. The Manta GSe is no different. Real retro touches set it apart from retro-inspired EVs like the Honda E, such as manual windows and handbrakes. Speaking of manual, this one-off has a four-speed manual transmission- in an EV! While it’s not necessary to use because of the instant torque, the effort is appreciated. It’s exactly that sort of thing that will help keep enthusiasts engaged and happy in EVs.

Can new EVs save old cars?

The highlighter yellow Manta GSe in profile at speed
The Manta GSe ElektroMOD | Opel

What won’t make anyone happy is the Manta’s range of only 125 miles. Not that it matters, as Opel has no plans to build this one-off. Still, this 147 hp retro whip has more style and presence than pretty much every EV on the road. Therein lies the brilliance in cars like the Manta GSe and the Honda E. Manufacturers are able to pull in old and new buyers alike with the “old-car-new” trend while keeping classically beautiful shapes alive. Let’s just hope Opel changes its mind about making it.

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