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Opel Manta GTE Exclusive

2.2 Opel Manta GTE Exclusive (RIP)


Opel Manta GTE 2.2 Exclusive11 August 2004 : Well, here's a bit of Manta history I dug out from the 2001 archives - this is my old 2.2 GTE Exclusive that used to once belong to 'Crankshafted' and was affectionately called 'The Bucket'. It was a bucket too, looking rather nice but suffering from major rot in the 'A' pillars, floor pan, battery tray and jacking points. It was a looker and a right goer too at 140BHP but eventually the rot caught up with her and she went to the great Manta graveyard just a few months ago. However, she is immortalised by being the Manta in the top left of every site page...

The screen first cracked in the summer of 2001 and by that winter the condensation was a major problem, especially since the heaters never worked. It had to be de-iced on the inside and the amount of damp used to make the CD multi-changer skip. Then the lights went, the alternator packed in and it was time to take her off the road. Unfortunately she never recovered.

Anyway, here's all the old blurb I wrote back in 2000-2001...

Opel Manta GTE 2.2 ExclusiveSometime early 2000: 1988 Exclusive GTE coupe which I bought in 2000. The exclusive had a lot of modifications by its previous owner. The obvious exterior additions include a 400 bonnet on gas rams, a set of Engelmann mirrors and a sunroof wind deflector which may have to go, but is rather handy. The twin lamp kit is Irmscher surround with Hella lamps. The previous owner smashed one set and spent a long time looking for replacements in the form of this 2 x sidelight, 4 x mainbeam, 4 x hi-beam setup. Otherwise the body has the usual exclusive bits and is in good condition.

The engine is the key component with an Ascona crankcase 1.9 litre bored and stroked with Carlton crank, rods and 95mm pistons. This makes the engine a 2.2 litre unit. The head came from a scrapped i200 but was found to have oversize valves, the size of which are a point of debate and mystery. The answer will not be known until the head has to come off. The head is fly-cut (the first rebuild blew a gasket) and houses a lumpy Kent cam, a special 'one off' with no details available.

Opel Manta GTE 2.2 ExclusiveA K&N panel filter replaces the original unit and a Jetex exhaust expels the gases with a very subtle throaty note. The original fan is replaced by a Rover electric fan with Kenlow workings and a fat rally radiator, and that's about it under the bonnet. A recorded 137 BHP means it's got the grunt and a fuel consumption that's attrocious in town and traffic.

July 22nd 2000 : The Exclusive had its MOT in the week before Billing and almost sailed through. The only problem being the failure of the inner offside dipped beam. The problem was traced back to the fuse box and remedied (thanks WestHeath Garage). So receiving a new MOT certificate and not one advisory, the 2.2 was ready for Billing.

Leaving at midday on the Saturday, the 2.2's intermitent electric fault reared its ugly head again, this time on the M3, just short of the M25 interchange. It was thought to be a bad connection/loose wire and was finally traced to a section underneath the coil where the insulation was2.2 GTE with Compomotive split-rims on rear starting togo. the wire underneath was extremely brittle and disintegrated at the touch !! A lesson to be learned here is always take some tools with you. The wiring was 'bodged' without any tools, just tied together with wire found at the side of the motorway. This did the trick, the 2.2 made it the remaining 70 miles to Billing without further problems. Of course, once there the wire was properly replaced (Cheers Chris) and has been spot-on since.

February 3rd 2001 : The 2.2 was getting a bit saggy on the nearside, it was starting to look pissed when it was parked. Being on a budget meant that a set of AVO shocks were in the price range with springs to follow when someone can get any. A couple of hours of rusty nut wrenching and some routine checks and all was in place. I left the shocks at their bottom setting and went for a spin. It felt as bad as the old set-up, wallowing around like an old family saloon. Back on the drive I turned them up to max, and went off again; this time I had a right good chuckle, the steering was a lot more responsive and the ride firm but a little bit too jumpy at the rear. I'll have to turn them down again as I'm driving about 40 miles tonight.

March 4th 2001 : I've fitted the rear springs, they're the easiest ones to do, but the Manta still leans a little. When it stops snowing I'll have another look and see if I can get it sorted. The front springs are another matter, they're a bit more tricky; I snapped a stabiliser bar and it would not come out it was so rusty. In the end the trusty grinder came out and I cut the damn thing off, Oh the smell of burning rubber... New one in place and no rattling, just gotta fit those springs still... You know what the problem was...? The springs are identical apart from some really tiny letters... front & rear...

April 30th 2001 : The Manta decided to stop working in a queue of traffic during the morning rush hour. Of course, wearing my work clothes was not conducive to quick roadside repairs, so the local garage were called upon, they were only 20 yards away. I told them all the history and quirks of the Manta and left them to it, still wondering what it was that stopped it from working. As I was walking away from the garage, racking my brains for an answer, I got it. 'Fuel Pump. That's it !' But I thought being a garage they'd work that out pretty quickly. Anyway, they ring me up to say it's fixed - it was a break in the wire near the...Fuel Pump. Well done Sherlock, you'll be a mechanic yet. But no, it took them 2 hours to find that out for themselves and charged for the labour. Next time I'll put some overalls in the boot and do it myself !

May 29th 2001 : Finally succumbed to the urge to fit something better into the engine bay. And what better than a 3.5 litre Rover V8 with 5 speed manual box? OK, maybe a 3.9 litre Rover V8. OK, OK, a small block Chevy. But I can't afford any of that stuff so a cheap old 3.5 litre will have to do. The whole unit was in one piece, just as it was when it came out of the SD1 a few years back. This is going to take some planning but I'll keep y'all posted as to what happens.

July 2001 : MOT failure this year - lights again (dodgy fusebox connections still), a couple of tyres (No, not the rear ones !) and a front jacking point needed welding up. Also the exhaust had a habit of slipping out of joint over high drain covers and speed bumps. Trouble is that the power released from the restrictive Jetex system is great fun but the coppers, the neighbours and Mr. MOT don't like it so that had to secured back in place. But that's it and all for less than the price of a good weekend at Billing !

August 11th 2001 : I'm still waiting for my friend to sort out my runaround car and it's good fun too, but I'll not offend anyone by naming it on these pages. (It was actually an M-tech BMW 325) It's been 3 months now and I'm getting a bit bored of waiting for my bargain hot rod, so I might go find a solid old Manta. Trouble is that I can't start my V8 project and get it into a Manta until I get a second car.

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