It’s a damn shame that Welly’s 1:64/3 inch cars aren’t more widely available. Their catalogue is full of unique and interesting releases such as the Skoda 110 and Favorit, Wartburg 353, Dacia 1300, Volvo 240GL, and soon they’ll be the only brand to be making a first generation Lotus Elan in this scale. Obscurity seems to be their thing and they’ve already been a subject of a few of my Lamley articles; indeed a Trabant 601S was the subject of my very first article on these hallowed pages. As well as the individuality of their casting choices, the quality is also pretty damn good and I’m very pleased to be bringing you one of their newer releases today in the shape of the Opel Manta A.
I found this last year at a news stand in the Spanish capital Madrid and knowing how hard these things are to secure even in mainland Europe, I practically threw the €4.95 at the vendor. The Super9 castings are normally available as part of a monthly magazine which is titled something along the lines of “Classic Cars” or “Legendary Cars” depending on where you are in Europe. I’ve seen this for sale in in Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Greece but have only picked up the cars that have interested me such as a Mercedes 300S W188 convertible and this Opel Manta.
The Opel Manta went on sale in 1970 with production of the final ‘B’ variant finishing in 1988. The car replicated by Welly is the first generation ‘A’ model built between 1970 and 1975. Engine choices were a raft of 4 cylinder power-plants ranging from 1.2 litre capacity (in mainland Europe) to the range topping 1.9 litre models. The Manta was sold in various European markets and even made it to the United States where they were sold through Buick dealerships.
The Welly miniature remains (as far as I know) the only Manta in the 3-inch world since Schuco’s 1970s 1/66 version. And it’s a very cool little thing.
We’ve seen before just how much detail is crammed into these Welly cars and this one is no different. The grille and bumpers are separately cast pieces, the paint is good (if a little too thick) and the standard Welly “steel” wheels work really well here.
There’s a detailed interior visible and the decals and painted details are pretty sharp, but there’s slight alignment issues on the rear badging and on the front bumper. But regardless it’s a really good looking model.
It makes a great partner to the other classic Opel released last year by Matchbox; the Opel Kadett.
In my opinion the finish on the Welly model is better than that of the Matchbox; my example has decal issues and there’s paint blemishes aplenty. But the Mattel offering is a very cool thing nonetheless and remains one of my all time favourite recent releases from the orange brand.
That the Welly car can hold it’s own in this sort of company is testament to how good these things are. I’m looking forward to the Elan and Dacia 1300 even more now….