Opel Manta 400 leads eclectic CCA December Sale auction

Fans of German metal will find plenty to like – including a Porsche tractor

Names like RM Sotheby’s and Barrett-Jackson might give the automotive world its biggest numbers, but for petrolheads on a more realistic budget Classic Car Auctions’ events are hard to beat.

The upcoming CCA December sale will be little different, with a wide and eclectic selection of vehicles capable of entertaining petrolheads of virtually all ages, budgets and tastes.

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That said, one of the auction’s higher estimates is undoubtedly held by one of its more interesting vehicles, in the shape of a 1984 Opel Manta 400.

The car was the work of renowned Opel and Vauxhall tuners Irmscher and engine builder Cosworth, who paired a 2.4-litre block with a 16-valve head and a five-speed gearbox, in a car with extended arches and chunky Ronal alloy wheels.

Homologated for rallying purposes, the road-going versions made 142bhp and 155lb ft of torque – not bad for 1981 – and scrabbled to 62mph in 7.5 seconds. Rally versions were considerably more potent, making up to 275bhp in Group B form, but stage success (at least at a world level) was limited thanks to the emergence of cars like the Audi Quattro.

The car on sale with CCA was imported as a left-hand drive car and converted to RHD early in its life. In 2005 it enjoyed a full restoration, which probably has something to do with the 133 points out of 135 that CCA has scored its condition, and the £40,000-£50,000 it’s expected to reach.

Talking of Audi Quattros, CCA has one of those coming up for sale too – a stunning 1991 example in Panther Black with just over 95,000 miles on its digital instruments. It’s not perfect, as a 109/135 condition report suggests, but that just gives you all the more incentive to use it. Expect to pay £30k-£35k.

Continuing the retro Germanic theme is a Mars Red, 1993 Volkswagen Corrado VR6. A figure of £5k-£7k is indicative of the way these cars are heading, and while the Corrado doesn’t match up to modern front-drivers in handling terms any more, it makes up for it in character and the now-unusual quality of a sizeable 2.9-litre VR6 engine sitting up front.

On the BMW front are several interesting examples. There’s something quite appealing about the humble but honest combination of BMW 316s crossing the block – one a 1982, E21-generation model in Henna Red and the other a 1988, E30 car in Zinnobar red. You can’t expect either to be too brisk, but both have the appealing and simple combination of a naturally-aspirated engine, rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox. The E21 is expected to reach £6.5k-£8.5k, and the E30 is being sold with no reserve.

Quicker are the pair of E36 M3 saloons for sale. The first, a 1995 car, is finished in Avus Blue and comes with a 108/135 condition rating, with refurbished wheels and refreshed paint leaving it looking very tidy for a reasonable £6k-£8k. The next is a 1996 example best known for its appearance on Top Gear and driven by Richard Hammond – it’s Boston Green and not quite as sharp at 85/135, but has no reserve. Perhaps someone will pick it up cheaply before carrying out the inevitable work required…

A pair of E46 BMW M3 CS have also caught our eye. Sadly, both are SMG, but the 2005, Interlagos Blue example is perhaps the most lustworthy – it’s a great colour and there’s plenty of history with the car. £15k-£18k should secure it. The Silver Grey 2006 car should undercut it, at £12k-£15k.

It isn’t all German, of course. Francophiles will enjoy the presence of a 1988 Renault Alpine GTA, looking chic in black paintwork, packing the obligatory yellow foglights, and fresh from a light reconditioning. It’s a proper UK car too, in right-hand drive, and looks like an affordable alternative to an old Esprit or 911 at between £8k and £10k. The other French fancy is a perennial favourite – a 2004 Clio V6, in blue, with a recent cambelt change. The £22k-£26k estimate suggests many of us have missed the boat with these cars, sadly.

A selection of other unique cars bring some colour to the auction too, from a 1982 Alfasud Ti (£6k-£8k), through a 1993 Maserati Ghibli (302bhp for £10k-£12k), to a 1990 Aston Martin Virage (£25k-£30k) and a very clean 1998 Honda CRX (£6k-£8k).

But perhaps the most intriguing of all is the 1962 Porsche-Diesel Standard Star 219. Yes, it’s one of Porsche’s famed tractors, and rapidly becoming one of the least expensive ways of getting a Porsche in your garage. It only makes 30bhp, but it’ll probably out-pull a Cayenne and looks like a fine way of fishing your 80s 911 out of a hedge.

You can view the full December Sale lot list here – there’s plenty we’ve missed out – and attend the auction itself at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on Saturday, 2nd December.

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