Opel Monza

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Opel Monza

1978 - 1994
2968 cc / 181.1 cu in
180 bhp at 5800 rpm
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
135 mph
Number Built:
2 star
Opel Monza
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2

John Beltz

Opel's Monza coupe utilised the mechanical components of the Opel Senator along with which it was introduced in 1978, and thus it was a fairly conventional mixture of a straight-six, overhead-cam engine driving the rear wheels, with semi-trailing-arm rear suspension and MacPherson strut front.

Whereas the Senator was an imposing four-door saloon, the Monza appeared as a two-door sports coupe, with the obligatory hatchback. The Senator floor pan formed the basis of the Monza, although in a shortened form, and the fastback body was by far the major obvious difference.

One of the reasons for the shorter floorpan was doubtless the fact that the coupe form of body is particularly sensitive to size; back then at least, it seemed best to suit small to middle range cars and could begin to look ungainly as it grew larger.

To our eyes, Opel struck a good compromise with the Monza's styling: it was both eye-catching in a pleasing way, and roomy. Headroom in the coupe was only an inch less than in the Senator sedan. The decrease in rear legroom, at about four inches was more of a penalty, although doubtless to some the increase in carrying capacity more than compensated.

Like its Senator stablemate, the Monza had an exceptional ride at low and high speed, allied to excellent handling characteristics; corners could be taken extremely quickly with just a little understeer, and the car showed little inclination to roll or be thrown off line by poor or broken road surfaces.

The steering was not by rack and pinion, and as a consequence was not quite as precise as you would expect from a coupe with the sort of performance the Monza offered, but this was a small point and in fact it was one of the very few things you could fault the Monza on.

It is probably true to say that the Monza would not have been an economically viable project on its own, priced, as it was, some eighteen per cent more than the Senator and aimed at a fairly small sector of the market. What did make it an attractive proposition for Opel was the fact that the use of Senator components reduced the cost enormously and enabled the company to offer a particularly good-looking and quick coupe to enhance a growing reputation with a relatively small investment commitment.

Peter Brock had plans to import, modify and market the Opel Monza Coupe as Holden Monza Coupe with the Holden 5 Litre V8 fitted, through his own HDT business, but the plans eventually fell through. Even if the venture had of got off the ground, without factory backing the legendary Monaro name would not have been resurrected, but at least Holden fans could have had a brand new V8 coupe. Of course the Opel Senator and Commodore models looked almost identical, differences being slightly different front, rear and interior treatments, with local drivetrain options, including Holden's 3.3 Inline 6 cyl, 4.2 Litre and 5.0 Litre V8 engine options.

The last incarnation of the Monza was the GSE edition; basically the A2 car, but a high-specification model which had Recaro sports seats, digital LCD instruments, and an enhanced all-black interior. It also featured a large rear spoiler on the boot. Also GS/E models are equipped with a 40% limited slip differential, an addition that had to be ordered separately on earlier 3,0E cars when purchasing. By the time the Senator was updated to the new Senator B, and the Monza canceled, 47,008 Monzas had been built. There was no direct Monza replacement, although the idea of a large Opel/Vauxhall sporting car was also seen in the Lotus Carlton / Lotus Omega saloon.

Opel Monza Quick Specifications

Engine: Front mounted, in-line, six cylinder. 95mm (3.74in) bore x 89.8mm (3.53in) stroke 2968 cc (181.1 cu in). Maximum power (DIN) 180 bhp at 5800 rpm; maximum torque (DIN) 180lb ft at 4200rpm; cest-iron cylinder block and head. Compression ratio 9.4:1. 7 main bearings. 2 valves per cylinder operated via hydraulic tappets by single overhead camshaft. Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection.
Transmission: Single dry plate clutch and four-speed manual gearbox. Ratios 1st 3.504, 2nd 2.017, 3rd 1.410, 4th 1.00, reverse 3.569. Hypoid bevel final drive, ratio 3.45:1.
Suspension: Front-independent by MacPherson struts, transverse lower arms, and anti-roll bar, rear- independent by semi-trailing arms.
Steering: Recirculating ball.
Brakes: Discs front -end rear. DUal hydraulic circuit. Servo assisted.
Wheels: 6in x 14 in.
Tyres: 195/70VR x 14.
Body/chassis: 2 door, 4 seats. Integral.
Dimensions and weight: Wheelbase 105in; track-front 56. 8 in, rear-57.7 in; length 184.72 in; width 68. 26in; height 55.7 in:' turning circle 35.43ft; weight 30351b; fuel tank capacity 15.4 gal.
Performance: Maximum speed 135 mph; acceleration 0--60mph 8.5secs; fuel consumption approx. 22 mpg.

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Also see:

Opel Brochures
Opel Senator
The History of Opel
Holden Commodore
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