1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus

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The 1971-1975 Opel 1900/Manta Coupe/Rallye/Luxus was withdrawn from the U.S. market due to the unfavorable dollar-to-deutsche-mark ratio at the time and resulting price escalation.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
  • Cheap

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
*SAE gross
**SAE net

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