Close to home: The filming of the video “The Traveller” took place on the Opel plant premises. The result is one of the most successful Opel YouTube videos ever.

E-MOTION 
that inspires ⚡️

The man behind the wheel obviously has some plans today. Maybe enjoy a little T-Rex glam rock or watch Sean Connery alias James Bond on the big screen in “Diamonds are Forever”. Just normal things one would do in 1971. In any case, the red ruffles on his shirt are freshly ironed, his moustache neatly twirled. He stops his Manta at a red light, a man appears at the side of the road holding up a sign that reads: “THE FUTURE IS ELECTRIC”.

* Reactions to the Opel Manta GSe and the video “The Traveller”.

# Build it like this and build it EXACTLY like this! # THE BOMB! I want it! 😍 # Total goosebumps # That’s really cool, with gearstick and clutch👍 * 

When the traffic light turns yellow, it happens: the Manta’s radiator grille becomes a digital visor, the number 1971 appears on the Pixel Vizor and counts up until it stops at 2021. The Manta has arrived in the present day, with an electric drive instead of four-cylinder pistons. An iconic classic goes electric. Instead of a ruffled shirt, the driver wears a tracksuit top – and steers the former combustion engine car over the asphalt in electric mode. Yeehaw!

Ingredients: Manta GSe, blue sky, technical equipment.

Not only the 60-second video “The Traveller” shows that time travel is possible. The Opel Manta GSe tself is also a car that challenges the linearity of time: built 50 years ago, converted into an Opel of the future. A radical conversion based on the original with manual transmission and yet fully electric. It is the first ElektroMOD in Opel’s history – and got a special video for its presentation. One that quickly became one of the most successful Opel YouTube videos ever.

# This is E-motion! ⚡️ # Where do I sign?! # Omg, it’s brilliant # Exactly like this, no changes!!! 👍👍👍 # Icon potential. # *

Filming of “The Traveller” took place on the Rüsselsheim plant premises at the beginning of May. The status of the study at that point was: not yet intended for the public eye. But it was not only for reasons of secrecy that the plant premises were the first choice. “The heart of the Manta GSe beats here: it is the place where the ElektroMOD was created. This is where the idea was born, this is where Opel employees transformed the legendary classic into an electric car,” explains Philipp Quanz, Opel Group Manager Social Media and production manager for the video shoot.

Manta mission: A rover is prepared.

Recharging: The Traveller aka Jann Jordan and the Manta GSe.

Every detail was planned in the past weeks, and now the time has come: as the factory site empties around noon on Friday, the black and yellow Manta GSe rolls out into the open. After endless days of rain, blue skies – perfect! Many of the colleagues involved in the RestoMOD conversion are also on site to provide support today. Mario Heymann from the concept workshop and Peter Junghanns from Brand Marketing provide technical support for the Manta GSe, while designer Pierre-Olivier Garcia programmes and controls the Pixel Vizor, among other things. Lucas Ripperger from the Social Media team is the contact person for the film crew, while his colleague Christoph Adam documents the day of filming with a photo camera. Social Media colleague Malina Dragu and Quentin Huber, Head of Opel Brand Strategy, are digitally connected to keep an eye on the brand consistency of the resulting scenes and optimise the material for use in social media.

It starts out with the dynamic driving scenes of the electric style icon, flying drones take off, rolling camera rovers start moving on the ground. Even the first test shots on the displays show – this is going to be spectacular. “To stage such an exciting vehicle as the Opel Manta GSe is a dream for every filmmaker,” says Niklas Erben. He is part of the team of the creative film production company “Neuland”; as producer he oversees the shooting schedule and the script. “Neuland” founder Pete Schilling is the director. Niklas Erben: “For some time now we have seen that Opel is developing more and more into an exciting carmaker that is willing to push the envelope – the perfect approach for such a project.”

# Love at first sight ❤️ # That’s how I like electro, Opel! # Manual transmission in E-car and gearstick! # Manta is back! 💪 # * 

“Look out, train coming!” sounds from a radio. This has also been planned for: crew members are posted along the railway line that runs through the middle of the plant premises. To hide the Manta GSe from curious eyes, it disappears briefly into a hall.

The darker it gets, the closer it gets to the 70s, it is time for the start and end sequences of the video. Uwe Mertin, head of Opel Classic, sets the Manta up on location not far from the Classic workshop. A truckload of props, including a yellow telephone box and an advertising pillar with original Manta advertising, are positioned. “The Traveller” model Jann Jordan, with his distinctive facial hair, is clearly having fun choosing an outfit – the blue ruffled shirt or the red one?

Attention to detail: The film crew goes the extra mile.

Opel plant in Rüsselsheim: Filming takes place at the location where the RestoMOD was created.

This ok? Stephan Selbach rehearses his role.

# Yeah! Love it! # The legend of the future! # Would order one directly 🤩 # Shut up and take my money!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ *

For the atmospheric night filming on the premises, the Opel plant fire brigade with Okay Kocak at the helm makes an appearance. Hoses are rolled out and the asphalt is watered down. To intensify the effect of time travel – initiated by yellow light – the firefighters extend turntable ladders and cover the streetlamps with yellow foil. Everything falls into place. The man with the sign at the roadside is Stephan Selbach, singer of the “Fog Joggers”. The song “In Control” by the German indie rock group will later provide the soundtrack to the video in post-production. Jann Jordan plucks at the ruffles one last time, a final close-up of his hand on the key in the ignition is shot – then it is over. All the scenes are in the can. There is not much time left for editing, sound, post-production, approval loops, etc. The video is due to go online in two weeks, parallel to the publication of the photos and information on the Manta GSe.

Ruffled shirt and leather jacket: The style in 1971.

Mandatory masks: The coronavirus protective measures – a must.

Gets into his role: “The Traveller” in the year 2021.

Coffee and a snack: A well-deserved break.

When the one-minute video was published on the morning of May 19, the Manta GSe and “The Traveller” triggered a wave of enthusiasm. After just a few hours, hundreds had left their comments garnished with heart and “thumbs up” emojis under the video on YouTube. The video climbed to 8th place in YouTube trends on the day of its release. As of the beginning of July, 1,990 comments were posted – never before has an Opel video got more reactions. The basic tenor: somewhere between job well done and euphoria. “Even though we knew that we had created something special with the Manta GSe and the video, the wave of enthusiastic reactions took us completely by surprise,” admits Philipp Quanz.

# Simply mega and very bold # Watching the video on continuous loop 😍 have fallen in love # Is there also a link to the great song? * 

And the social media wave rolls on. A design specialist – “We feel good when we see vehicles like the Manta GSe!” – discusses the progressive look of the RestoMOD, high-reach YouTube channels like Car Maniac and Ausfahrt TV celebrate the original four-speed transmission as an example of Opel’s pioneering work in electrification concepts – “Opel has done for the first time what others should have done long ago

The soundtrack also makes waves: “In Control”, the song by the German indie rock group “Fog Joggers” with its distinctive Hammond organ sound, is released as a single and has its own video clip. And “The Traveller”? It has hit the one million mark – with 1,003,500 views on the international Opel YouTube channel to date. The Manta GSe wave rolls on. And the legendary icon has – as we now know – become an inspiration for the future: “By the middle of the decade, we will introduce a new series production Manta. Purely electric, of course,” Opel boss Michael Lohscheller has announced. A comeback initiated by the passion of many dedicated Opel employees who put their heart and soul into it – #TeamOpel! ❤️

Plant architecture as backdrop: The present-day scenes are filmed in daylight.

Main actor: Easily mastered the filming day.

Moving image: Remote-controlled rovers and drones provide spectacular driving footage.

VIDEO: “The Traveller” has hit the one million mark – the wave of enthusiasm rolls on.


July 2021

Text: Tina Henze, Research: Carla Pachauer, Photos: Christoph Adam