Saturday 24 September 2011
The Opel Manta was a rear-wheel-drive sports coupé motor vehicle built by Opel, from 1970 to 1988.
The second car to use the Manta name was launched in August 1975. This two-door "three-box" car was mechanically based directly on the then newly redesigned Opel Ascona, but the overall design was influenced by the 1975 Chevrolet Monza. The Manta had more "sporty" styling, including a droop-snoot nose not seen on the Ascona, although it was standard, on the UK version of the Ascona, the Vauxhall Cavalier. There was still no "Vauxhall Manta", with the car remaining an Opel in the UK. However, a Vauxhall Cavalier was available with the same coupé bodyshell.
Engines were available ranging from the small 1,2 litre OHV engine, the 1,6 litre CIH and the 1,9 litre CIH. Also in 1976 the GT/E engine from the Manta A series was adapted into the Manta B programme spawning the GT/E Manta B series. In 1979 the GT/E had the engine replaced with the new 2,0 litre CIH and with a new designed Bosch L injection system. Power output was now 110 bhp (82 kW). The 1.9 litre engine gave way to the 2,0 litre S engine which was aspirated by a Varajet II carburettor. This engine was the most used engine by Opel at the time, and was to be found in several Opel Rekord cars.
In 1977, a three-door hatchback version appeared to complement the existing two-door booted car. This shape was also not unique, being available on the Vauxhall Cavalier Sports Hatch variant.
Both Manta versions received a facelift in 1982, which included a plastic front spoiler, sideskirts for the GT/E and GSi models, a small wing at the rear and quadruple air intakes on the grille. Also the 1.2, 1.6 and 1.9 litre engines were discontinued and replaced by the 1.3 litre OHC engine, the 1.8 litre OHC and the 2.0 litre S and E CIH engines. The GT/E was renamed and was called the GSi from 1983 (except in the UK where the GT/E name continued).
Production of the Manta continued well after the equivalent Ascona and Cavalier were replaced by a front wheel drive model "Ascona C". In 1982 the 1,8 litre OHC engine from the Ascona was fitted in the Manta B making a more economical Manta B to drive. It could run 14 km per litre and use unleaded fuel. The 1,8 was very popular and was in production for 5 years (1982–1987). The 2,0S models where discontinued in 1984 and only the GSi was available with the "large" engine (GT/E in the UK). In 1986 Opel released the last Manta B model the Exclusive (1987 in the UK), giving it all of the best in equipment. Recaro seats with red cloth, grey leather like interior and the full bodypack known from the i200 models. This consisted of twin round headlights in a plastic cover, frontspoiler and rear lower spoiler from Irmscher, sideskirts and the known 3 split rear spoiler of the Manta 400 (producing 80 kg (176 lb) of weight on the rear at 200 km/h). In the UK, the Exclusive GT/E models were available in colours such as Dolphin Grey with matching dark grey cloth seats with red piping. These also had the quad headlights, front spoiler but a rear bumper which housed the number plate, coupled with a black plastic strip between the rear light clusters. The rear spoiler was similar to the standard GT/E. Opel finally ceased the production of the Manta B in 1988, only producing the GSi exclusive the last 2 years (GT/E in the UK). Sales continued in 1989 until the Manta was replaced by the Opel Calibra (known as the "Vauxhall Calibra" in the UK).
Today, these cars are hard to find in an original, good condition; consequently the value has risen considerably over the last few years. It has again become popular, because of its good looks and well-respected handling.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 2000 cc
- horsepower: 110 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 190 km/h