Many people expected the Opel Manta to die when the Ascona was replaced by a new front-wheel drive version in 1981. Instead, it freshened up the existing car’s styling with glassfibre bumpers, and introduced a new 1.8-litre engine for the cooking models. The GT/E version continued with the same 110bhp injected 2-litre, but more aggressive looks and lower list prices suddenly made the old war horse look a whole lot more competitive. By 1988, when it was finally phased out, the Manta was looking like an anachronism, but an engaging one. Rusty and trusty now.
Price at launch:
Independent, wishbones, lower trailing links, coil springs, anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers
Rigid axle (torque tube), trailing radius arms, transverse linkage bar, coil spring, anti-roll bar, telescopic dampers
rack and pinion