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autoviva2010-09-16 14:13:24

Opel Manta and Ascona A celebrate 40th anniversary

Opel Manta and Ascona A celebrate 40th anniversary

The Opel Manta and Ascona A are celebrating in 2010 their 40th anniversary. In 1970 when they were launched they represented a bet on new vehicle segments for Opel. In just five years they sold almost 1.2 million units.

Although they shared the same platform they were aiming at different customers. The Manta was a dynamic sports coupe and the Ascona a family car or a compact lifestyle station wagon.

Opel Manta

The Manta had its world premiere in September 1970 at the Hotel Maritim in Timmendorfer Strand, near Lübeck at the Baltic Sea in Germany. The smooth coupe featured a manta ray emblem that was based on photos taken by Jacques Costeau, the French marine biologist. The Manta was vehicle that met a new demand between the conventional coupe and a traditional sedan. It was inspired on the pony cars, a type o vehicle that was very popular in the US at the time.

Since the end of the 1960s there were more buyers looking for attractive coupes. In the first half year of sales in 1971, Opel sold 55,399 Manta models.

Together with the Ascona, the Manta shared the floor assembly and the chassis modified for a dynamic drive. Both models featured the new 1.6-liter engines with 68 and 80 hp. For the Manta SR model Opel offered a 1.9-liter S engine that came from the Rekord. It had had 90 hp and was initially reserved for the Manta. Launched in 1972, the entry-level model in the Manta range was powered by a 1.2-liter version with 60 hp. In 1973 the Manta GT/E premiered with a 1.9-liter injection engine and Bosch L-Jetronic and changed the chrome décor for the black matt.

Launched in 1975 the Manta Black Magic was the last special model before the debut of the Manta B. It was completely black with red-orange decorative stripes on the flanks. Opel built 498,553 units of the Manta A.

Opel Ascona A - The car of the technical future

When it premiered at the 1970 Turin Salon, the Ascona was named the “car of the technical future,” on the press kit. Positioned between the Kadett and the Rekord, it targeted a growing customer segment. Until March 1975 Opel produced some 691,438 units of the Ascona A.

Available as a 2- and 4-door sedan in standard and luxury versions, the Ascona was powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 68 hp or a higher-compression S-version with 80 hp. In March 1972 a low-cost entry-level model was introduced with a 60 hp 1.2-liter engine.

“These days, the desire to travel, go camping, participate in sports – especially transport-dependent hobbies like water sports – all demand a passenger car with generous space and transport capacities. But no sacrifices will be made in passenger car comfort. The car we have built to meet these needs is called the Ascona Voyage.” This text was included in the press materials that were distributed on the presentation of the Ascona Voyage. It was a two-door caravan version, considered a leisure-time vehicle it was a car destined for young families.

In the spring of 1971 the Ascona SR was introduced. It was powered by an 80 hp 1.6-liter S engine or a 90 hp 1.9-liter unit. Both versions could be ordered with a three-gear automatic transmission as an optional extra.

In 1974 an Ascona lined up at the start of the European Rally Championship, driven by Walter Röhrl and Jochen Berger. The Opel Euro Dealers Team took the Ascona and powered it with a four-cylinder engine re-bored to 2-liter displacement, which featured an aluminum cross flow cylinder head that produced 200 hp at 6700 rpm. Röhrl and Berger were victorious in six of eight races and won the European Rally Championship, reaching an unprecedented 120 points.

Ascona Gen.1Ascona Gen.1
Ascona SR 1.9Ascona SR 1.9
Straight 4
116 cu in
Top Speed
4, Manual
Maximum power
91 hp @ 4800 rpm
Saloon (sedan)
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




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