Opel Manta B
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
General Motors announced a new range of cars in 1975
, which comprised the Ascona two and four-door saloon and the Manta two-door coupe in Germany and the Vauxhall Cavalier series in Britain. There were three types of Manta, the De Luxe 1600, the Berlinetta 1900 and the 1.9 SR. The SR fell in the middle of the range in Britain and had several fittings over and above the standard equipment of the De Luxe, such as extra instruments (oil pressure gauge, thermometer, voltmeter and tachometer), opening rear quarter windows and halogen lights.
With its 1.9-litre single-overhead-cam engine, producing 90 bhp, the SR had a top speed of 105 mph, and road testers of the day claimed that at around the ton the power unit remained unfussed. In fact, some commented that the wind noise at any speed in top gear outweighed that produced by the engine and transmission
- and that noise was not excessive. Acceleration, for the time, was fairly brisk in the gears, although the long gear lever
travel and enormous clutch movement discouraged frequent gear-changes.
The Manta handled and held the road well, being able to take bends at speed without too much complaint, the tail finally beginning to run wide. The servo-assisted brakes, with discs at the front, were light, positive and fade-free, the only snag being that they were not sufficiently progressive at low speeds or when stopping. Instrumentation was neat and the main dials were easy to read, but GM never bothered to translate the legend on the oil-pressure gauge into English, nor did they provide much explanation as to what the calibrations on the fuel gauge represented.
The seating inside the Manta was very comfortable, the front units being of the reclining type, and heating was efficient and controllable. 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
). 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 - and that is why we at Unique Cars and Parts
are giving it a "3" for collectability. It has again become popular, because of its good looks and well-respected handling.
Opel Manta B SR Quick Specifications:
Front-mounted, water-cooled straight-four. 93 mm (3.66 in) bore x 69.8 mm (2.75 in) stroke 1897cc (115.8 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 90 bhp at 5100 rpm; maximum torque 1081b ft at 2500 rpm. Cast-iron cylinder block and cast-iron head. Compression ratio 9:1. 5 main bearings. 2 valves
per cylinder operated, via push rods- and rockers by a single overhead camshaft. 1 x Solex carburettor.
Single-dry plate clutch and 4-speed manual gearbox. 3-speed automatic optional. Ratios (for manual) 1st 3.428, 2nd 2.156, 3rd 1.366, 4th 1, rev 3.317:1. Ratios (for automatic) 1st 2.400, 2nd 1.480, 3rd 1, rev 1.920:1. Hypoid-bevel final drive. Ratio 3.670:1.
Front-independent by wishbones, coil springs, an anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers, rear - non-independent by a rigid axle, trailing radius arms, transverse linkage bar, coil springs, an anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers.
Rack and pinion. Turns from lock to lock 3.
Servo-assisted discs front and drums rear.
13 in x 5.5 in J steel.
185/70 SR x 13.
Integral. Dimensions and weight Wheelbase 99 in; track-front 54 in, rear-54.8 in; length 175 in; width 65 in; height 52 in; ground clearance 6.3 in; fuel tank capacity 11 gals; turning circle between walls 33 ft. Dry weight 2204lb.
Maximum speed 105 mph. Acceleration from 0-60 mph 11.5 secs, Fuel consumption overall for both town and country driving 26 miles per gallon.