RE: Opel Manta GT/E: Spotted

RE: Opel Manta GT/E: Spotted

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Discussion

Lowtimer

3,952 posts

104 months

Wednesday
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I was very fond of my '88 on an E GTE coupe and did squillions of miles in it, uprating everything that wore out along the way. By the end of the five years I had it, it was a properly fast car for the time. Always honest and easy to drove to the limits: wet, dry, snow, the lot. No ABS or traction control needed. Such a faithful and predictable car

Getragdogleg

5,593 posts

119 months

Wednesday
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I currently have 6 Mantas at my place, 3 hatchs and 3 coupes, one has a V8, 2 have a 2.4 and the rest are standard 2 litres or 1800s.

Cracking cars.

J4CKO

25,716 posts

136 months

Wednesday
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CDP said:
J4CKO said:
Would have another though, I bet an S2000 engined Manta with decent suspension, and lsd and some proper brakes would be fantastic.
I'm sure it would but as already mentioned a red top would be more in keeping and probably a lot easier smile
In keeping ? I dont really care about that, but a Red top does seem to be the standard route and easier.

A V8 of some description sort of seems a bit wrong, not sure why but I bet it would be great if its a revvy kind of thing, and not too heavy. The Can Am Firenza seems to manage.

Forza Horizon 4 has a Manta in if anyone fancies some nostalgia that doesnt require a Mig welder.




tr7v8

5,866 posts

164 months

Wednesday
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I had a brand new Company car a Manta Gt/e hatch. B686YMP, Picked up brand new on a Thursday August 1st 1985 with 20 miles on it & found it needed its first service at 600 miles. Rang the local main dealer & they couldn't do it for a week. Booked it for the following Thursday & the dealer was shocked as it had 1881miles on it. Did 43000miles in the year I owned it. Vauxhall dealer was woeful & it blew two head gaskets, the second just as we sold it.
But it was awesomely quick, outhandled most things on the road at the time. Used to be on call, called out at 03:00 for a customer in the City I did Newbury to city of London in 45 minutes. The customer was very shocked. Used to pull an indicated 122MPH.

A million times better than the Capri, handled much better. The CIH engine was a bit weird & needed 6K servicing which was a pain. Would have loved it with a red top even more.

simonsti

19 posts

80 months

Wednesday
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Love my 2.4 cih exclusive coupe...can't wait til spring to drive it again.
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blade7

8,221 posts

152 months

Wednesday
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tr7v8 said:
I had a brand new Company car a Manta Gt/e hatch. B686YMP,

A million times better than the Capri, handled much better.
A million times better than an 85 2.8 injection special Capri, are you sure?

Jimboka

7,365 posts

140 months

Wednesday
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My dad had a couple of those from new. They were rubbish even back then! Camshafts made of cheese etc.
Ok if you like laying underneath a car & swearing at weekends I guess!

Hugh Jarse

3,089 posts

141 months

tr7v8

5,866 posts

164 months

Wednesday
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blade7 said:
tr7v8 said:
I had a brand new Company car a Manta Gt/e hatch. B686YMP,

A million times better than the Capri, handled much better.
A million times better than an 85 2.8 injection special Capri, are you sure?
A mate had a 2.0S Capri at the time and a year later "upgraded" to a 2.8i Special. The Manta handled better than both. Also remember that my Manta was £7000 which I think was cheaper than the 2.0S & much cheaper than the 2.8i

A year after this the 2.8i was stolen & recovered a few days later minus interior & wheels.

blade7

8,221 posts

152 months

Thursday
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tr7v8 said:
A mate had a 2.0S Capri at the time and a year later "upgraded" to a 2.8i Special. The Manta handled better than both.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Suspension/braking wise the 2.8 injection was quite a big improvement on the 2.0/3.0S, and the injection special added a LSD that was another big upgrade. I'd have a GTE coupe over a 2.0S, but the injection special was a much better car.

Mr Tidy

6,912 posts

63 months

Thursday
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blade7 said:
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Suspension/braking wise the 2.8 injection was quite a big improvement on the 2.0/3.0S, and the injection special added a LSD that was another big upgrade. I'd have a GTE coupe over a 2.0S, but the injection special was a much better car.
Too right - I can't see a Manta with 112 bhp bothering a Capri 2.8i with 160 bhp! Which is why I had 2 Capri 2.8is. laugh

Newky Brown

876 posts

164 months

Thursday
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I had two, a black Berlinetta with a horrible red interior that stank of cigar smoke from the previous owner and a white GTE coupe. They were great cars, a fantastic gearbox, good handling and smooth drive.

My mate had an Exclusive and I remember us 'racing' down various dirt tracks when going fishing and trying to drift the back end round the corners, great times!

If I didn't have a company car I'd be tempted to buy another and fit a 16v.

J4CKO

25,716 posts

136 months

Thursday
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Mr Tidy said:
blade7 said:
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Suspension/braking wise the 2.8 injection was quite a big improvement on the 2.0/3.0S, and the injection special added a LSD that was another big upgrade. I'd have a GTE coupe over a 2.0S, but the injection special was a much better car.
Too right - I can't see a Manta with 112 bhp bothering a Capri 2.8i with 160 bhp! Which is why I had 2 Capri 2.8is. laugh
I went to see a 2.8i as a replacement for my Manta, car was tidy and I was ready to do the deal, didnt have any cash on me so said I would have it and that I needed to pop and get a deposit, got back and someone else had turned up and handed over cash for a deposit, was gone maybe 8 minutes, was weird as it was fairly late and he hadnt mentioned anyone else coming.

I got back in my Manta and it felt flat as a fart after the V6 Capri which was a revelation with its instant feeling (in comparison) low down grunt


blade7

8,221 posts

152 months

Thursday
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Mr Tidy said:
blade7 said:
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Suspension/braking wise the 2.8 injection was quite a big improvement on the 2.0/3.0S, and the injection special added a LSD that was another big upgrade. I'd have a GTE coupe over a 2.0S, but the injection special was a much better car.
Too right - I can't see a Manta with 112 bhp bothering a Capri 2.8i with 160 bhp! Which is why I had 2 Capri 2.8is. laugh
I was 20 something with a 78 3.0S when the 2.8 came out. First one I tried to take on left me for dead down a twisty B road. The 2.8 turbo I had a few years later is still one I miss.

aeropilot

16,525 posts

163 months

Thursday
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rallycross said:
Manta owes much to Ascona, which was available mainly in 4 door but also much rarer 2 door, which was used for the 400 before GM released a Manta version 400. It was the same dash and clocks etc sitting in an Ascona as it was a Manta - much like when the Calibra came out, once you got in and drove you immediately knew you were in a Cavalier mk3 coupe!

Takes me back, as one of my older cousins bought a 4-door Ascona SR Berlina brand new in 1979, in a vibrant orangy-yellow colour. Was a good car, had a great chassis.




RicksAlfas

9,197 posts

180 months

Thursday
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aeropilot said:
Takes me back, as one of my older cousins bought a 4-door Ascona SR Berlina brand new in 1979, in a vibrant orangy-yellow colour. Was a good car, had a great chassis.
My Dad had a 2 door 1.9SR in the same colour. Like this:


aeropilot

16,525 posts

163 months

Thursday
quotequote all
RicksAlfas said:
aeropilot said:
Takes me back, as one of my older cousins bought a 4-door Ascona SR Berlina brand new in 1979, in a vibrant orangy-yellow colour. Was a good car, had a great chassis.
My Dad had a 2 door 1.9SR in the same colour. Like this:

Yep, that's the colour smile

(fading memory cells are telling me my cousins SR had a black interior though?)


s m

16,909 posts

139 months

Thursday
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williamp said:
I lusted after a red coupe when I was young, but there only seemed to be the hatchbacks in 80s maidstone
I was friends with a local guy, Bob, who had a red coupe - he used to make a lot of moulded aftermarket parts for the Manta, engine undertrays etc and
a lot of local cars had his parts on. That's his red coupe next to my white one
 

 
 

 
I had mine for over 100k miles - bought it as a low mileage standard car and by the end of the 7 years it was a 2.4 with 165-ish bhp.
Interesting to read about people saying it was slow as standard, although I guess by the end of 87 it wasn't especially quick.
 
Look back to when the GTE was launched in 83 though and it is hard to find much at all as a coupe/hot hatch that was quicker to 100mph or much quicker flat out that
didn't have a bigger engine such as a 2.8 Capri. Hot hatches with similar power were actually no faster although my friend's Mk1 MR2 could beat it off the mark and hold it
off all the way to V-max - the Corolla GT couldn't despite an extra few bhp - and a standard E21 323i was level pegging as it was much heavier although it had over 140bhp
 
I had mine after a string of rwd Escorts, 2 RS2000s and a hotted up Xflow 2-door, interspersed with a Mk1 Golf Gti 1800 which I didn't really get on
with. It was the same 110bhp as the Escorts and about the same off the line but I'd certainly agree it never felt as urgent as the VW or Escorts although side by side runs told a different story.
The gearing was long-legged, standard Getrag box ratios meant it was really a 4+E rather than a 5-speeder, top speed you got flat out in 4th. 
The 5th to 4th change in the box was lovely, a flick of your finger and 4th found itself. It was a bit more 'understeery' than the Escorts as standard but I still found mine pretty
'playful' although maybe the Uniroyal Rallyes it sat on was something to do with that!








It was an easy car to drift around if you wanted to, just like a 2.8 Capri, but I found it was much more composed over bumpy roads than any of my Escorts and you felt like you were sitting a lot lower down in the Manta, like a cross between an Escort and an MR2.
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
I did a lot of driving for work, mostly in Wales, when I got it and thanks to a generous mileage/petrol allowance i was able to keep it in tip-top condition. The long 5th gear was a blessing for the fuel economy, much better than the Escorts at motorway speeds as you were only doing around 3k rpm. I can remember another guy, a little older, who did the same work as me
and he bought a brand new Peugeot 405SRi off the back of his expenses. Similar weight to my GTE but a solid 15bhp extra and he was keen to tell me how my sporty coupe wouldn't stand a chance against his saloon what with the extra power and the handling of the 405. We had to come back from work in Tywyn late one ?Friday evening? and he was pretty annoyed that my Manta had the legs on him in a straight line dash and had enough handling/roadholding to keep him well in the rear view mirror all the way to Welshpool.
 


 
After a few years and no problems I had a chance to try an i200 from Steve Thompson cars, the racier cam, sorted head, different gear ratios and extra power meant I was keen to do something similar as the car could handle the extra power very well ( roadgoing Manta/Ascona 400 had an easy 140bhp ).
 

 
 
Couldn't stretch to Irmscher catalog and prices but got a 2.2 put in, 2.3HS Bilsteins instead of the thinner body standard fit Bilsteins It was probably about 135-140bp and about on a par performance wise with a 2.8 Capri, Manta being a fair bit lighter.
Thanks to the Bosch L-jet injection it was a lot more civilized to drive than my similar power Mk2 Escorts. Also had a quick rack and LSD which were fun additions, the decision to get the LSD being
made easier by the fact the rear axle bearings were starting to whine, a common problem, after 50k miles of fairly quick driving and 'enthusiastic' cornering.
Had a great couple of years with it in that format, kept the newer hot hatches like the 1.9 205 and RS Turbo honest as it had the legs on them now.
 

 
Car seemed to soak it up so when I had the chance to get a 2.4 CIH put in I went for that. Was a pretty serious car with 165-sh bhp in it, still at the same weight. Would mince my friend's Tech 1 325i Sport ( I later bought it off him after the Manta went to Ireland ) for sheer go and handling although the BM was standard and nice to sit in
 
 

 
Tend to agree the redtop would have made a great engine for it but sadly came on the scene in 88 just as the Manta had been retired and the Calibra got the engine  instead.
The things that bugged me re the car were few, lack of a passenger mirror on early cars smacked of meanness and the rubber piping for the for the L-jet by the plenum chamber was
prone to heat and cracking till I upgraded it
 
Would like a coupe with a redtop if I get chance to have another car - rare to see them round here now but still see them about in Wales in the timewarp villages. most seemed to have been bought up by the Irish! 

Amazes me that EVO nor Modern Classics mags have never done articles on the Manta/Ascona ( in 20 years of EVO ) despite the competition history, popularity and hotted up road going versions that were made ( i200, i240, i300, 400 road cars etc )
 
 
 
 

Edited by s m on Thursday 6th December 12:19


Edited by s m on Thursday 6th December 12:22

s m

16,909 posts

139 months

Thursday
quotequote all
RicksAlfas said:
aeropilot said:
Takes me back, as one of my older cousins bought a 4-door Ascona SR Berlina brand new in 1979, in a vibrant orangy-yellow colour. Was a good car, had a great chassis.
My Dad had a 2 door 1.9SR in the same colour. Like this:

I bet Retropower has hoovered up a lot of the old 2 doors to convert into 400 replicas







Edited by s m on Thursday 6th December 20:53

tr7v8

5,866 posts

164 months

Thursday
quotequote all
blade7 said:
tr7v8 said:
A mate had a 2.0S Capri at the time and a year later "upgraded" to a 2.8i Special. The Manta handled better than both.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Suspension/braking wise the 2.8 injection was quite a big improvement on the 2.0/3.0S, and the injection special added a LSD that was another big upgrade. I'd have a GTE coupe over a 2.0S, but the injection special was a much better car.
Performance was a different area, the cart springs on the Capri always limited it.
I can't remember why I went for the Manta over the Capri as I was a Ford fan at the time. I originally was after a GTE Mk1 Astra but that ceased production & the MK2 GT/E wasn't available. I think this is why I transferred to the Manta. I was running around in an XR3 at the time. The Capri 2.8 wouldn't have been on the radar as too expensive, also wasn't available as 5 speed at the time. The buying cycle of this was spread over around 6 odd months.
Yes the LSD would have been great on the Manta as well.