August 14, 2009

Opel Manta

JDMike mentioned a short while ago the name of the Opel Manta, so here it is.

A little history

When Ford launched the Mustang, its success prompted General Motors to mimic its concept and create the Chevrolet Camaro. When Ford exported this idea to Europe and designed the Capri, GM again followed suit, unveiling the Opel Manta in 1970.

While the Capri had the mid-range Taunus as its base, the Manta was derived from the Ascona. The comparison didn’t extend to performance, though. While the Ford Capri could be equipped with anything from a plain 1.3-litre four to a 3.0-litre V6 and soon became a major contender in this form of motor sport, then rapidly gaining in popularity, that is known as touring car racing, the Opel Manta had to content itself with fours from 1.2 to 1.9 litre – its maker tried to fit a 2.8-litre V6 under the bonnet, but its prototype never gave satisfaction and this project of a “super-Manta” was simply dropped. The GM car compensated this handicap with sexy lines which recipe has been lost by the motor industry since then, a long bonnet ending with an aggressive face made of a pointed grille inserted between quad headlights, while the semi-fastback roofline ended at the rear with an inverted panel featuring round lights, à la Chevrolet Corvette.

The original Manta was built until 1975, when a redesigned Ascona brought a brand-new Manta. The car now looked squarish and plainer – just what customers seemed to appreciate by the late Seventies. Engine choice was identical. Despite a comparatively lesser appeal, this second-generation Mantas, passing through a mid-life facelift in 1982, had a much longer career than their predecessor, going into retirement in 1988. The most interesting version of the second Manta, and the most highly praised by collectors today, is the “400” developed for rally racing. A successor to the Ascona 400, the Manta 400’s career, though it can be considered successful, has been largely hampered by the emergence of the four-wheel-drive, turbocharged Group B cars.

About the model

Model: Opel Manta 400
Year: 1983
Event: 1983 Tour de Corse, driven by Guy Fréquelin, navigator Jean-François Fauchille (retired)
Maker: Ixo
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Altaya as no.55 of its Voitures de Rallye de Collection press series
Acquired: brand new, in May 2006, in Souillac, France

Simply correct, this model suffers from the same low level of detailing as other Altaya-distributed models of the time. I’d give a 11/20 rating to it.

I'll try to make more pictures as the second one appears blurred and, furthermore, I just noticed that the roof antenna is missing and needs to be glued back.




JDMike's Diecast Site said...

oh yes!!!

now I'm green with envy! hehe! :-)
thanks for the great pics sir Laurent! :-)

i wish to have one someday too.

lorenzo721 said...

Good hunt then! ;)