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Opel Manta 400 Group B Rally Car

Opel Manta 400 (Manta400)

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With the popularity of rallying as both a sport and an arena for the development and promotion of technology & vehicles, the 1970s was a good time for advances in the rally car version.

Manta 400 - click to enlargeAfter the production of the world's first dedicated rally car, the Lancia Stratos, there were numerous manufacturers looking for successes in order to promote their production vehicles. The Group B rally regulations required 400 versions of a car to be built in order for it to be homologated and Opel was no exception with the Manta 400.

The Manta 400 was a 2420cc (147.7cu) 16 valve 275HP (@7500RPM) rear-wheel drive contender at a time when development was getting a bit 'out of hand' - the 4x4s were emerging as viable rallying options and all the big players were putting money into some powerful machines. This was the time of the Audi Quattro, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta S4, Ford RS200 and the Metro 6R4.

AC Delco Manta 400Group B rallying finally came to an end due to the high speed, high power and sometimes fatal accidents that were occuring due to the rapid pace of development. It was the 1986 Tour de Corse rally where a Lancia S4 crashed with no witnesses and no survivors that prompted the plug to be pulled on Group B and the emerging Group S cars.

I've been lucky enough to have recently seen Russell Brookes' old Manta 400, tucked away under a tarpaulin a garage somewhere in Southern England. That was quite a surprise considering I was buying a Subaru Legacy at the time :) I shall try get some pics sorted for you all.

We've had a few searches here and we've been asked about the rally crash vids involving the 400 - the only one we know of is this 4.15Mb MPEG manta crash vid over at the Belgian Manta Club site.

Rothmans Manta 400

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