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Manta/ Cavalier MK1

Manta Cavalier MK1 1975-1988


In September 1975, a new generation of large family cars was shown at the IAA in Frankfurt, the Ascona B and the coupé version the Manta B. The slogan was reliable technology in a whole new exterior.

Opel sold the Manta as a Combi Coupé (CC) from 1978 onwards. The Combi Coupé had a rear which tailed down diagonally with a practical third door. In April 1980 the GT/J version was added to the existing models L, SR, Berlinetta and GT/E, aimed at a younger market. In 1982 the shape was changed by adding bumpers and a dual grooved front. After 10 years in production the number of models of the Manta being produced was reduced. In 1984 the GTE was renamed the GSI and for the versions with an 1.8 and 1.3 engine, the term GT was used. In 1987 the GSI with the 2.0 fuel injection engine was still being produced in two versions: the GSI and the GSI Exclusive in co-operation with Imscher, complete with double headlights and a spoiler package

Opel only sold the Ascona as a two or four door saloon. A combi version was not available. Originally it was sold in two versions (L or SR). The Ascona J was brought out in 1980, with Opel specifically aiming at the Youth (J for Jugend). On the other hand Opel tried to keep the Ascona up to date by producing a Sports version. These activities did not however prevent the Ascona from also evolving to a front wheel drive with a transverse engine.

Initially the Manta and Ascona were available with the following engines: 1.2 (60hp), the 1.6N (68hp), the 1.6S (75hp), the 1.9S (90hp) and the 1.9E (105hp). In 1976 engines were added which were suitable for normal petrol; the 1.2N (55hp) and the 1.9N with 75 hp. In 1977 the 1.9 engine was extended to 1997cc and brought out in a 2.0N (90hp), a 2.0S (100hp) and a 2.0E (110hp) version. In addition a 1998cc version (58hp) was added to the 2.1D, which had only been used in the Rekord up till then.

A new 1297 cc engine with an overhead camshaft (OHC) was added in 1979. Until then all engines had been fitted out with a Camshaft in Head (CIH). From 1981 onwards only the 13S, the 20S and the 20E remained in production. All of these engines were intended for use with high octane petrol, followed shortly afterwards by a 1.8S engine.

An end came to the production of the Ascona B in August 1981, after more than 1.5 million vehicles. In 1988 the Manta met the same fate after 550.000 vehicles. Its heir, the Calibra, stood ready and waiting for the fan of racy Opel coupés. 

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