Tweet
The Year of the Legends: Opel Ascona and Manta are 50 Years Old

The Year of the Legends: Opel Ascona and Manta are 50 Years Old

13.02.2020: Dream car: the gorgeous Manta hit the market in 1970 All-rounder: Ascona as sports limousine and life-style estate arrived in same year Strategy: Opel already used single platform for very different cars Sport stars: Walter Röhr

    Dream car: the gorgeous Manta hit the market in 1970


    All-rounder: Ascona as sports limousine and life-style estate arrived in same year


    Strategy: Opel already used single platform for very different cars



    Sport stars: Walter Röhrl and Ascona won European and World Rally Championships




 
In 1970, Opel revolutionized the midsize class. The Opel Ascona was the prototype of a fun-to-drive sports limousine with short overhangs and excellent handling. The Ascona was an eye-catcher in a variety of shapes – as a sporty two-door, a four-door limousine or as the first lifestyle estate with outdoor flair.



The crowning glory was the Manta. The sleek coupé shared the same technology as the Ascona, making it accessible to a wide customer base. With the Manta, the German brand brought another dream car onto the market in 1968, just two years after the Opel GT.



The Ascona and the Manta followed the GT across the Atlantic and were sold successfully in the USA – an international career achieved by only a few Opel models. Nowadays they are much sought-after collectors’ items and valued far higher than their prices when new.



Opel is celebrating 2020 as the year of these legendary cars and fans can join in. The fun begins with the opening of the rally season and the “Bodensee Klassik” (May 7-9). Six each of the first generation Ascona and Manta will be at the start. This overture will be followed by a major performance on June 28 featuring around 100 examples of the Ascona and Manta A at the “Klassikertreffen” in Rüsselsheim.



Around 30,000 visitors are expected at this birthday party; numerous Opel clubs will be there in force. Another highlight will be the get-together on September 25-27 organized by Manta collector and expert Manfred Henning. The venue could not be more fitting – Timmendorfer Strand on the Baltic coast, precisely where the Manta was first presented to the press exactly 50 years ago.




Opel began the 1970s with a model offensive



The new midsize models that made their debut in 1970 were called Ascona and Manta. As a two and four-door limousine, the Ascona was positioned exactly between Kadett and Rekord. The Ascona was also a trendsetter: the Caravan estate was the first compact lifestyle estate and therefore far ahead of its time. With the sporty sister-model Manta, Opel entered the growing market for family sports coupés at the same time. Chassis, suspension and powertrains were identical, both models featured four-cylinder engines producing 60 to 105hp.



The Ascona was a winner on gravel as well as asphalt; Walter Röhrl and co-driver Jochen Berger won the 1974 European Rally Championship and in 1975, on the Acropolis Rally, they scored Opel’s first victory in the World Rally Championship. In 1982 Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer claimed the World Rally Championship in an Ascona 400. 691,438 units of the Ascona A had been produced by March 1975; 498,553 Manta A were built in the same period.




The Manta made its debut at Timmendorfer Strand




The sporty Manta made its debut in September 1970, the manta ray emblem inspired by photos taken by the marine explorer Jacques Cousteau. Appropriately, the presentation took place at Timmendorfer Strand on the Baltic Sea coast. For Opel, the Manta was a step into new territory. “Instead of making an existing model obsolete, the car we are presenting today is an addition to our range and meets a new demand from the market,” said the press release at the time.



The Manta was new, smart and sporty, and perfectly timed. Attractive coupés that could sit four were highly popular. Individuality was in high demand, the Manta’s shape and lines were just what the market was looking for. In the first full year of sales, Opel moved 56,200 units of the Manta out of the showrooms; 498,553 were produced in total. The platform, suspension and engines were shared with the Ascona. A new member of the powertrain family was the 1.6 with 68hp, even 80hp in the S version. The most powerful engine in the Manta was the four-cylinder 1.9 S with 90hp also used by the Opel Rekord.



The Manta range began with the 60hp 1.2 in 1972, followed in November of the same year by a luxuriously equipped Manta Berlinetta. The standard equipment included sports steering wheel, heated rear window, halogen headlamps, electric windscreen washers and vinyl roof.




The five years of production were enriched by numerous special model variants – “Holiday”, “Plus”, “Swinger” and “Summer Bazar” combined up-market specifications with moderate prices. The Manta GT/E, powered by a 105hp, 1.9-litre engine with Bosch L Jetronic fuel injection, appeared in 1974. The trend towards matt instead of chrome trim continued with the Manta GT/E. The last special model arrived in 1975, shortly before the debut of the Manta B. The GT/E-based “Black Magic” was painted all black with orange stripes on its flanks.




The Ascona premiered at the Turin Motor Show in 1970



In terms of equipment and engines as well as dimensions, the Ascona (aka “the midsize in economical perfection”) fitted into the space between Kadett B and Rekord C, a role previously played by the luxurious “Olympia” version of the Kadett. The Ascona was initially offered as a two and four-door limousine in base and luxurious trim.




The independent front suspension comprised coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers, the rigid rear axle featured two longitudinal arms and a Panhard rod. Power was supplied by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 68hp, and a high-compression S version with 80hp. Like the larger four-cylinder engines of the Rekord, the Ascona power unit had a “cih” (cam-in-head) camshaft. In March 1972, Opel introduced a moderately priced entry-level version with a 1.2 OVH engine and 60hp.



A much admired novelty in the model range was the Ascona Voyage. Instead of a classic estate, the two-door variant of the Caravan was a leisure vehicle with space for dinghy and bicycle, i.e. a car for young families and a forerunner of today’s popular lifestyle estates. Initially, the Voyage was offered only in the L version, it was 1974 before a less luxurious Caravan joined the line-up.



In spring 1971 the model range was extended by the Ascona 1.9S and Ascona SR. The SR was powered by an 80hp 1.6-litre engine or a 1.9-litre unit with 90hp. The option of an Opel-produced three-speed automatic transmission was offered for the first time with the more powerful engines. The SR trim – a novelty in the estate market segment – was also available for the three-door Voyage.



The SR version of the Ascona had the makings of a winner. Walter Röhrl and Jochen Berger contested the 1974 European Rally Championship with a two-door limousine. At the wheel of the Ascona entered by the Opel Euro Händler Team, Röhrl and Berger won six of the eight rounds with the still unrivalled maximum score of 120 points. In 1975, shortly before the Ascona A was replaced by the B generation, Röhrl and Berger took victory on the Acropolis Rally, Opel’s first win in the World Rally Championship.

 


Uwe Mertin- photos Opel



Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/year-legends-opel-ascona-manta-50-years-old---203786.html

13.02.2020 / MaP

More News

Automechanika Frankfurt and RETRO Messen continue their successful partnership
13.02.2020
Automechanika Frankfurt and RETRO Messen have decided to continue their partnership this year, and the Classic Cars area – a lucrative aftermarket sector – will be expanded further at Automechanika Frankfurt 2020.Automechanika Frankfurt, the leadi more >>
BMW to Debut Special BMW M2 Designed by International Contemporary Artist FUTURA 2000 at Frieze Los Angeles
12.02.2020
    The BMW M2 by FUTURA 2000 will debut on Thursday, February 13 at Paramount Pictures Studios’ Backlot and inspire a special edition production M2 Competition later this year.    BMW i and Soho House will also host an Art Talk, “Sights and Sounds,” exploring the intersection of art and mobility, featuring FUTURA 2 more >>
Refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R Makes U.S. Debut at 2020 Chicago Auto Show
06.02.2020
    U.S. model makes official U.S. debut in new Boost Blue    2020 model-year updates include revised suspension and upgraded brakes    Refreshed exterior and interior styling, plus standard Honda Sensing® more >>
Refreshed 2020 Kia Cadenza debuts at Chicago Auto Show
06.02.2020
     Luxury, technology and design combine to create a prestigious statement inside and out     Significant exterior and interior design enhancements make Cadenza a premium sedan experience like no other     Smart technology, improved ergonomics and greater feature content highlight changes to the 2020 m more >>
Senna GTR joins four iconic McLaren F1 cars and rare M6GT at Retromobile Paris
05.02.2020
    New McLaren Senna GTR to star at Retromobile on Richard Mille stand    25th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours victory – stunning display of Le Mans-winning McLaren F1 GTR and class-winning Longtail to headline McLaren more >>
SKODA showcases iconic models from its 125-year history at Rétromobile Paris
04.02.2020
- ŠKODA AUTO is a guest at the international classic car exhibition Rétromobile in Paris- ŠKODA’s appearance at the trade fair focuses on the 125th anniversary of its founding- Highlights: Replica of the SLAVIA more >>
Zaniroli Events at Retromobile Paris
04.02.2020
RETROMOBILE Paris, Hall 1 - L- Stand 0332020 - FEBRUARYWe give you an APPOINTMENT at the RETOMOBILE Show: Hall 1 - Way L - Sttand 033 - where we will have, as every year, the pleasure of meeting you to present you the rest of our 2020 sch more >>
BMW of North America Returns for its Second Season as Official Automotive Partner of New York Fashion Week
04.02.2020
-The Shows to Celebrate the Road Less Traveled.    BMW partners with IMG for NYFW: The Shows to highlight inspiring voices who chose the road less traveled and took an unconventional path to success. &nbs more >>
Messe Frankfurt’s upcoming Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City and Auto Maintenance & Repair Expo to be rescheduled
04.02.2020
Messe Frankfurt has announced that two of the company’s Mobility & Logistics fairs in Asia have been postponed in the wake of the recent Novel Coronavirus outbreak. The two events include Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City (AMHCMC) and the Auto Maintenance and Repair Expo (AMR), which were originally scheduled from 5 to 7 March 2020 in Ho Chi Minh City and 15 to 18 March 2020 in Bei more >>
SKODA at the Auto Expo 2020 in New Delhi
03.02.2020
VISION IN concept study is first car from the INDIA 2.0 project› First vehicle based on the new MQB-A0-IN platform provides a look ahead at a future family SUV developed specifically for the Indian subcontinent› VISION IN celebrates more >>
FCA Heritage - Retromobile 2020 takes to the stage at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles
03.02.2020
•    FCA Heritage is the star of the French motor show expected to welcome over 1,000 vintage cars and 620 international exhibitors.•    On its 110th anniversary, the Alfa Romeo brand is represented more >>
London Concours 2020 to host stunning display of Ferrari Dinos - with photos
03.02.2020
•    The London Concours has announced the first of its special feature displays; a celebration of the Ferrari Dino, presented by Foskers  •    A total of eight Ferrari Dinos, each in a d more >>
Audi Tradition celebrates 40 years of quattro
31.01.2020
This year's program includes more than 20 events        40 years ago, the first Audi quattro was presented in Geneva        Start of the season with the Bremen Classic Motorshow more >>
Mazda Marks its 100th Anniversary
31.01.2020
Mazda Motor Corporation celebrated its 100th anniversary of its founding on January 30, 2020.Centenary official comment by Akira Marumoto, Representative Director, President and CEO: "Mazda originated as a company producing cork and then took the path t more >>
MAUTO – Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino: Timeless Myth
30.01.2020
LANCIA AURELIA 1950 – 2020TIMELESS MYTH January 30, 2020 - May 3, 2020MAUTO – Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino dedicates a retrospective exhibition to the fabulous Lancia Aurelia, one of the most advanced more >>
SKODA features own “Ice Race of Champions” at Austrian winter-sport resort in Zell am See-Kaprun
30.01.2020
- Driving 290 hp strong racing versions of the ŠKODA FABIA, four international rally aces participate in the GP Ice Race at Zell am See-Kaprun (01–02 February 2020)- European Junior Rally Champion (ERC1) Filip Mareš, Slovakian more >>
Volkswagen Classic showcases Italian elegance in Bremen
30.01.2020
Karmann Ghia Type 14 Coupé: 65 years of sporty elegance.  “65 Years of the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 14” at the Bremen Classic Motorshow from 31 January to 02 February  Volkswagen Classic presents the la more >>
Audi and the Berlinale present exciting arrivals and future perspectives on the Red Carpet
29.01.2020
In the picture (from left to right): Hubert Link, Head of Marketing Deutschland at AUDI AG, Mariette Rissenbeek, new Executive Director of the Berlin International Film Festival, Carlo Chatrian, new Artistic Director of the Berlin International Film Festival, with the Audi e more >>
Ligier’s 50 years Art Car by Nairone Defives wins the 2020 Art Grand Prix of the Festival Automobile International
29.01.2020
•    Ligier’s 50 years Art Car in collaboration with French artist Nairone Defives •    An unprecedented live performance in 24 hours during the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans•    2020 Art Grand Prix of the Festival Automobile International  more >>
BMW meets FUTURA 2000: Three exclusive originals and a limited edition of the BMW M2 Competition.
29.01.2020
At the Frieze Los Angeles art fair, BMW M will be presenting a comprehensive collaboration with iconic international contemporary artist FUTURA 2000.In the wake of the further development of BMW Individual, BMW M GmbH will be presenting its latest collaboration, a m more >>
BMW brings Andy Warhol’s Art Car to India
28.01.2020
BMW Group India presents the 1979 Art Car painted by most renowned American artist Andy Warhol in India. His creation will be exclusively exhibited from 31 January - 2 February 2020 at the India Art Fair in New Delhi. After Alexander more >>
The PSA Retail Road-Show - Automotive Services and Mobility Week
28.01.2020
PSA Retail, in partnership with OPCO mobility, will participate this year in the Week of Automotive Services and Mobility (#SSAM) which will take place from 1st to 8th February 2020. This year, PSA Retail will take part in around thirty events throughout France: more >>
Honda Battle of the Bands 2020 Delivers an Unforgettable HBCU Marching Band Showcase
27.01.2020
    Eight HBCU marching bands representing eight different states served up dynamic performances for a crowd of nearly 60,000 fans    Participating HBCUs received grants from Honda to support music education &nbs more >>
Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City 2020 introduces a spectrum of fringe programme events
24.01.2020
From 5 to 7 March 2020, Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City is set to bring in more business-focused, workshop-packed and experience-oriented opportunities to the Vietnam automotive market. Industry players and car lovers will be abl more >>
Together with Pirelli and Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Curbstone AZUR introduces new and exciting programmes for 2020 Clubsport Challenge events
23.01.2020
- Track Adrenaline App and Award extend Pirelli partnership during Clubsport Challenge events- Curbstone AZUR welcomes Lamborghini Squadra Corse as new partner for Clubsport Challenge eventsDuring its 2020 Clubsport Challen more >>
Hahnenkamm Race: Audi electrifies Kitzbühel
23.01.2020
   50 Audi e-tron in shuttle service        Audi driving experience with mobile charging stations for the first time For the 18th time, Audi is the title sponsor of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup more >>
Kia returns to League of Legends European Championship 2020
22.01.2020
    Kia continues main partnership with LEC with new sponsorship rights allowing further brand integration into global e-sports community    Popular Niro EV to be featured in Kia’s LEC marketing-communications initiatives that illuminate the company’s ambitious electrification plan more >>
The Duke of Sussex kicks off WWTW’s 10th Year celebrations
21.01.2020
Yesterday marked an important milestone for Walking With The Wounded as we celebrated exactly 10 years since we registered with the Charity Commission.   Over the past decade, we have supported 8,664 veterans and family members in ne more >>
Audi provides sustainable mobility and charging solutions at World Economic Forum in Davos
21.01.2020
    Operation of the official shuttle fleet from Audi is 90 percent electrified    Use of mobile shipping containers for charging made with used electric car batteries    Company is continuously developing green charging solutions more >>
Marc Duez Driving Day, Spa-Francorchamps
21.01.2020
Marc Duez vous donne rendez-vous le 3 juin à Spa-Francorchamps pour une journée complète de roulage dans la bonne humeur !  Venez rouler sur le plus beau circuit F1 du monde avec Marc Duez.Journée Trackday en Open Pitlane. more >>
CAPAS 2020 pinpoints new energy sector to drive continuous growth in Southwest China’s automotive maket
17.01.2020
Serving as a business gateway into Southwest China’s evolving automotive market and supply chain, the Chengdu International Trade Fair for Automotive Parts and Aftermarket Services (CAPAS) has gradually risen, becoming one of the region&r more >>
Bamboo bikes and electric skateboards take to the track at MOVE 2020
15.01.2020
Bikes made from bamboo, electric skateboards and hydrogen-powered eBikes are among the vehicles available for MOVE 2020 visitors to try out on this year’s test track.Whether catering for the first and last mile of a journey, or providing sustainable solutions for more >>
SKODA AUTO celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2020
14.01.2020
› ŠKODA AUTO was founded in 1895, making it one of the world’s oldest automobile manufacturers still active today› ŠKODA AUTO is celebrating its 125th anniversary with numerous activities, promotions and events around the world› The company is also celebrating 115 years since the launch of car manufacturing&rsa more >>
BMW Group Classic at the GP Ice Race 2020 in Zell am See
13.01.2020
Philipp Eng, German Touring Car Masters (DTM) driver, pilots the BMW M3 Rally and Christian Menzel in the 2012 Dakar MINI ALL4 Racing drifts across the ice. Another legend is also part of the action: the Morris Mini Cooper S Works Rally.Chilly weather is not more >>
Toyota Gazoo Racing Racing Company President Shigeki Tomoyama’s Speech at TOKYO AUTO SALON 2020
10.01.2020
Hello, everyone. My name is Shigeki Tomoyama, and I am President of GAZOO Racing Company. I would like to begin by thanking all of you for coming here today.Last year was particularly fruitful for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. more >>
BMW launches first-ever BMW M8 Competition Coupe at Singapore Motorshow 2020
10.01.2020
ASEAN premiere of the first-ever BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.BMW Asia, Performance Motors Limited and Performance Munich Autos today launched the first-ever BMW M8 Competition Coupe at the Singapore Motorshow 2020. The annual motoring event, held more >>
CEO Lohscheller Opens Opel Stand at Brussels Motor Show
09.01.2020
    World premiere: Opel shows new Insignia GSi, Grand Sport and Sports Tourer    Electric vehicles: Opel Grandland X as plug-in hybrid and Corsa-e    Motor sport: Opel presents the battery-electric Corsa-e Rally    Bestseller: new Opel Astra and Opel Corsa with extra efficient powertrains more >>
The new Renault E-Tech World Premiere at Brussels Motor Show
09.01.2020
2020 - New Renault CAPTUR E-TECH Plug-in and New Renault CLIO E-TECH  Following the 2019 presentation of the New Clio and New Captur, Renault world première the new hybrid and recha more >>
Alexander Rossi auctioning Bathurst helmet to benefit Australian wildlife
09.01.2020
Alexander Rossi has been moved by the images and video coming out of Australia. During his recent  October visit, he fell hard for the wildlife and was lucky enough to spend time with kangaroos and koalas. more >>

2001-2020 automobilsport.com full copyright