1973 Opel Manta Luxus Blue Max from North America - Comments

21st Sep 2007, 12:03

They work and they stop, but they will (probably) never leave you on the road if you understand mechanics!!! unlike some other cars (lets say Fiat for example), but they can give you headache.

Chassis is so hard it survives most crashes.

I even fell of a 5m cliff with one of mine after they took her out. It started on first turn and drove like nothing happened. They give love back.

27th Jun 2008, 21:37

I purchased one of the last remaining Opel GTs in the Midwest at Bauer Buick in Harvey, IL at the end of the 1973 model run. Yellow with a 4 speed, rear defogger and Delco AM radio along with skinny Goodyear whitewalls. It had great lines, a comfortable interior with full gauges and a slightly underpowered 1.9 engine that had been impacted greatly by pollution restrictions. Reliable until about 60k miles when the hideaway rotating headlamp buckets eventually rubbed thru the wiring harness causing a small under-hood fire (while at the dealership getting a tuneup) resulting in a large expense to correct. Engine was somewhat had to start when warm, even though a fix had been put in place by the local Buick/Opel dealer. Foot-pump activated "one-cycle" wiper sweep was a great idea.

4th Apr 2009, 09:20

My first new car was a 1973 Opel Manta Rallye. The only problems I had with the car were a fuel pump and attracting other vehicles! The front end got hit hit twice, while parked! It also got rear-ended twice! The last one totaled it. The tail lights were good looking, but I believe they did not give enough warning to vehicles. The car had a lot of room for its size. I have to say it was fun car to drive and brings back fond memories almost 40 years later.

5th Apr 2009, 23:11

I owned a 1973 Buick Opel Blue Max with a crank sunroof. It got incredible gas mileage. It was reliable. The battery died twice but I bought a Sears Die hard and never happened again.

It was the best car I owned as a teenager. Great cornering around turns but no power steering. It was an automatic.

7th Apr 2009, 08:29

According to wikipedia, Opel stopped making the Manta after 1989 and the model is now highly sought after in Europe (is this true?)

Opels of any model are kind of scarce in the US now (excluding that fake "Opel by Isuzu" GM sold in the late 70's). The Manta/1900 series was susceptible to rust and interior materials were not very durable. It didn't help that by the mid-80's very few Buick dealers were even willing to acknowledge its existence, let alone order parts or work on it.

7th Apr 2009, 08:50

All "Blue Maxes" were automatic.

It was a special edition Manta Luxus equipped with metallic blue paint, a dark blue vinyl top, sunroof, and automatic transmission.

17th Apr 2009, 14:10

I still have my 74 Manta Luxus. It is the same color as the blue max, and has the crank sunroof, but is a 4 speed and doesn't have the vinyl top. It is affectionately known as "hooptie." Its been driven across country at least 8 times, never with any mechanical trouble. I stopped driving it 25 years ago when it had just under 200k miles - couldn't bear to part with it so I stored it away in the garage. I'm about to restore it and get it back on the road. Extremely fun car to drive, dependable, and easy to work on. Sure, things broke from time to time, but it was always easy to get it back on the road, and it was always ready for the next road trip. Can't wait to get her rolling again...

16th May 2009, 20:36

I was involved with the Blue Max promotion in 1973. Ridley Scott - the guy who did ALIEN - was known for great car commercials and he did one for The Blue Max. We had a half dozen of them sent Ireland for the project and ran them along the Air Corps runway at Baldonnel during filming. I supplied a half dozen of my aircraft for use. The original Opel who created the company had been a World War One pilot who flew Fokker D-V11s. I owned the collection of aircraft created for use in the film The Blue Max. I think they produced 2000 of them and sold them into the Los Angeles market.

Lynn Garrison

Blue Max Aviation, Ltd

haitipro@bellsouth.net

17th May 2009, 06:49

To my knowledge, the Opel Blue Max was sold nationwide.

I purchased mine brand new in 1973, from a Buick-Opel dealer in Massachusetts.

21st Jan 2011, 14:09

I had one of these during the 1970s (it was a 1973) and liked it very much. It had a crank-open sunroof, which never leaked, though I must admit that the windows did leak a little bit. However, that was a problem endemic to all "hardtop" models, because they had no roof pillars. I disliked the vinyl top because it added nothing to the car's appearance, added weight and tended to peel. However, they were a common feature on cars during the 1970s, which one was often compelled to accept, whether one like it or not.

The worst thing about owning the Opel Manta was the extremely poor dealer service that went with it. During the 1970s, German Opels were sold in the U.S.A. through Buick dealers as a "captive import". That meant that, while the dealers were willing enough to sell the cars to customers who wanted to buy them, they were extremely reluctant to provide any spare parts, service or repair support.

In fairness to Buick, they were far from being the only American car company that took that attitude towards the "captive imports" that they sold in those days. Owners of such cars as Plymouth Crickets and Ford Capris got the same treatment from Chrysler Corp. and Ford Motor Company dealers.

26th Aug 2012, 15:22

I owned a 1973 Opel Manta during the 1970s and early 1980s. The Manta was a great car. I thought it was really good-looking except for the vinyl roof; a feature that really didn't look good with the Manta. In fact, the car would would undoubtedly have looked better without it. However, in those days, it was almost impossible to buy any car without a vinyl roof, whether you wanted it or not.

There was one problem with the Manta, though. I should mention from the outset that this was a problem with many of the imported cars sold in the U.S. at that time, not merely with Opel. The problem of which I allude had nothing to do with the car itself, but with the fact that Opel was what was then known as a "Captive Import". For those who were not around in those days, that meant an imported car that was sold through American car dealers, which in the case of the Opel, meant Buick dealers. The problem with the Opel, in common with the other so-called "Captive Imports", was that while the American car dealers were willing enough to SELL them, they were extremely reluctant to SERVICE them. Getting parts or service from a Buick dealer for an Opel was next to impossible, and almost as difficult from anyone else.

I should emphasize that this was NOT a problem unique to Buick and Opel. The same situation applied to Chrysler dealers with their "Captive Imports"; the Sunbeam (British), the Simca (French) and the so-called Plymouth Crickets and Dodge Colts, which were actually made by Mitsubishi. It was also the same situation with the Fiestas and Capris sold by Ford.

Again, I should stress that every one of those "Captive Imports" were every bit as good as, and usually measurably better than, the competing American models sold at that time; cars such as the Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant, Ford Pinto and Maverick, and the Chevy Vega.