Opel Manta A

Saturday 2 July 2011
The Manta A was released in September 1970, two months ahead of the then new Opel Ascona on which it was based. A competitor to the Ford Capri, it was a two-door "three-box" coupé, and featured distinctive round tail lights, quite similar to those on the Opel GT and which in fact were used on the GT in 1973, its final model year. In the UK market, the first Manta was sold only as an Opel: there was no Vauxhall-branded Manta (or Ascona) until after the launch, in 1975, of the Manta B1 and Ascona B. (In the UK the Ford Capri niche was till 1975 contested, with only limited success, by Vauxhall's Firenza, based on the by now aging Vauxhall Viva.)

Technical data:
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1600 cc
- horsepower: 75 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 170 km/h

The TE2800 was a totally different project. Actually the TE2800 wasn't really an Opel as Opel had nothing to do with the project. A Belgium company called Transeurop Engineering also wanted to up the engine power of the Manta A. Opel had previously tried a 6 cylinder engine layout already in 1971 and 72, but with no success. The cars were rendered too expensive to build, and the market was overwhelmed at the time with big engine cars. But Transeurop Engineering did not agree. They basically took a 2.8 litre CIH type engine from the Opel Commodore 2.8GS model and fitted it into the engine bay of the Manta 1.9SR. A lot of problems occurred. The radiator, the bonnet, the entire front end of the car, the rear axle, the transmission, it all needed to be changed. To solve this fast Transeurop Engineering tried to get Opel to join the project using Opels earlier experiences with the transformation, but with no luck. Even worse Opel didn't even want the Opel brand on the cars, if the project ever became a success. Transeurop Engineering therefore turned to Opel's number one tuner of the time Steinmetz. Steinmetz supplied the new fibreglass bonnet with a large bulk on it to give room to the engine, a set of widened arches, and a special front bumper integrated with the lower front spoiler, to make room for the dramatically changes that needed to be made to the cars front end construction. Several of this was cut out and replaced with other parts being mounted further to the ground to give room for the radiator. A closed radiator system was installed so that the radiator had a water tank in the engine bay (like we know it from modern cars today). The engine was still the 2.8 litre unit from the Commodore GS and this was originally fitted with 2 Zenith carburettors. The output was 142 bhp (106 kW), and with the Commodore 4 speed manual gearbox and a 3,18:1 rear axle the car went from 0–60 mph in just 7.5 seconds. A total of 79 cars were made and sold through Steinmetz in Germany branded not as an Opel but as a TE2800. All Opel brands was removed from the cars and replaced by the logo "TE".

Technical data:
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 2800 cc
- horsepower: 142 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 200 km/h

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