The 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus was a smooth Euro-ponycar styled by Chuck Jordan, GM Director of Design. It competed for pizzazz and practicality with the Mustang-like Capri from Ford of Europe, but was larger and not as quick despite less weight.
All U.S. export models carried Opel's robust 1.9-liter cam-in-head four. The coupes were always called Manta in Europe and shared chassis, all-coil suspension, and drivetrain with the more upright Ascona sedans and wagons.
All were initially marketed in America (through Buick dealers as per previous Opels from 1958) as the 1900; the Manta name (but not Ascona) was applied from 1973.
The Rallye version had extra instruments, foglamps, matte-black hood, bodyside striping, stiffer suspension, slotted wheels, and a shorter final drive. Luxus had cord cloth upholstery, four-spoke wheels, and none of the Rallye's "boy-racer" goodies but was quieter and more comfy.
Also, a vinyl-trimmed base coupe was offered all years. "Crash" bumpers arrived for 1974-1975; Bosch fuel injection for '75 only.
The 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus was withdrawn from the U.S. market due to the unfavorable dollar-to-deutsche-mark ratio at the time and resulting price escalation.
The car is not to be confused with the later Isuzu-built "Opels" from Japan, based on the German T-car design also used for the Chevy Chevette. Compression was lowered for 1972-1974, so the '71s and '75s have the best go.
Pluses of the 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus:
- Ultra-strong engine
- Neat looks, though aging now
- Terrific handling
- Class-leading passenger/trunk room
- German build quality
Minuses of the 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus:
- Parts tough to find
- Drivability problems on '72s
- Fuel injection woes on '75s
- Original Luxus cloth upholstery doesn't hold up
- Undergeared and noisy
- No collector potential
Production of the 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus (U.S. Sales):
- 1971: 8,378
- 1972: 10,647
- 1973 Rallye: 8,360; Luxus: 17,536
- 1974 Rallye: 7,959; Luxus: 14,026
- 1975: 15,118
Specifications of the 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus:
Wheelbase, inches: 95.7
Length, inches: 162.0
Weight, pounds: 2,105-2,225
Price, new: $2,490 in 1971, $2,800 (Luxus) in 1973, $3,800 (Manta) in 1975
Engines for the 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus:
Type Size Horsepower Years ohv I-4 1,897 cc 90*/70** 1971-1974 ohv I-4 1,897 cc 77** 1975
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