Opel Manta (1975 – 1988) Review

Opel Manta (1975 – 1988) At A Glance


+Good to drive, sharp styling

-So few survivors now

The Opel Manta - a sporting version of the Ascona B - was launched in 1975, continuing its maker's attempt at taking sales from its arch rival the Ford Capri. As before, it was available, with 1.2-, 1.6- and 1.9-litre engines, and a variety of trim levels. The two-door Coupe was styled almost identically to the Vauxhall Cavalier, with differences being limited to slots in the front panel, some brightwork changes, and alternate positioning of the rear number plate. As with the Cavalier, the Manta B was built in Opel's Antwerp factory in Belgium.

The Manta’s handling was taut and faithful, and performance more than acceptable in 1.9- and (from 1978) 2.0-litre forms. Range expanded to include a useful UK-designed hatchback version in 1978. Facelifted to become the Manta B2 in 1982 (by this time, the Vauxhall version had been dropped), receiving new wraparound bumpers, and the option of GM's 'Low End Torque' Family II engine in 1.8-litre form to partner the GT/E. Performance and image always seemed to be overshadowed in the UK by the Capri, even though the Opel was better engineered - and survived much of the 1980s, despite declining coupe sales across Europe. Gaining popularity now as a classic, but still lagging behind the Capri (in the UK) both in terms of value and image.