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Dans Manta Disaster


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well it started off a nice shiney black 1800 with 55k on the clock



then i made...



a right bloody mess !!!

as you can see body work is not my speciallity altho im not afraid to try (maybee i should be )



needless to say its not finished yet .

so far ive welded the sills and chassis rails , cut out and filled various rust spots and dents ...messed it right up too

changed the axle 2 times , gearbox once , and cylinderhead is an astra gte one with a weber carb , big mid and rear exhaust and lowering springs and new shocks .

400 bonnet, lights , louvre , exclusive rear bumper and some ford fog lights [:o)]

going in at the end of the month is a 2.1 SEH engine all new pistons (0.5mm over) rings and crank .

stage 1 cylinderhead (3angle valve seats polished etc)

brand new cam shaft , valve springs , rockers , tappets .

and a nice 4 brach exhaust manifold i just aquired .

still going to use the weber carb , ive had the 1800 manifold modified to fit the head and installed a facet pump to supply it .

future plans are fit the 400 wide rear arches and skirts ive got in the shed and buy some nice wide white steel wheels to go with ...

then finally sort the bodywork somhow .

also trying to make a center console for some elec window switches , a vacuume guage , and kill switches for the fuel pump and ignition .

planning to get an old gte recaro seat to use for the trim .

im sure it wont end there..... [:D]

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a bit worried that the new engine wont work properly ,

will the CR be too high ?

the block face was skimmed at some point and the pistons seemed to pertrude slightly . so i might get pinking or it may not run atall ...

not to sure how the carb will work either , probably need rejetting , but i havent a clue about doing that .

so the plan is to fit all that lot down in cornwall on my week off later this month , so its a kind of do or die thing , its my daily drive so it must work and get me home to london again ....

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  • 2 weeks later...

right ... im all set , engine and all the new bits are in the boot ,got 10 days off work , gave the ol gal a once over and pumped up the tyres ,

will be fitting the new engine throughout next week down in sunny cornwall (mawgan porth) hope to get some surfing in while im there ...

this engine better bloody work !!! altho i think i can laugh about it if it doesnt .itll be fun dooing the swop anyways even if the 1800 has to go back in .

ill try to take some pictures too.

thanks all, for your advise about this conversion .


if all goes well ill have a good 96,000 mile 1800 engine with gte head for sale [:)]

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You wont be a million miles from me in Penzance and the west countrys largest stock of Manta parts ! e.mail me and i will send you my number then if you need something you can ring me.

(i have everything)

I have always been here,

I have always looked out from behind these eyes.

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for sure , watergate bay is my favorite , theres not so much rip current as mawgan porth and bigger waves too . almost went this afternoon but couldnt resist starting work ...

got the engine out and stripped today [:D]



need to clean off the old oil leaks that have caked everything , ill have to spend a few hours de greasing engine mounts ,sump etc..

with anyluck should have it all back together by the end of tomorrow , that of course depends on how hot it is , how much coffee i drink and if i go for a surf .

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had to stop for the football .... so didnt get it finished today , but at least its in the car and onto the gearbox and mounts .

totally forgot that where the dissy cap goes on the sri engine the 1.8 has a blanking plate there .... it doesnt fit , so have to create somthing to block the hole .


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well its gone from bad to worse !!!

the stage 1 head i got is no good . after bolting it all together . put oil and water in it . fired it up (sounded great btw)

watr was pouring out the exhaust like a hose pipe !!!

so took the exhaust manifold off ... and theres water coming out of the ports ... many many swear words later , i got the head off .

the gasket looked alright .

so i have to assume the head is no good inside , altho i cant see anything .

it must be where its been ported or somthing and they ground off too much or its cracked somhow .

so im hoping that the old astra gte 1.8 head will go onto this block and solve the problem . but i dont know for sure if its going to fit ...ill get some dinner and go back out later to see .

big disaster today , most dissapointing

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this evening took the head off , had a good look , couldnt see anything , so put it back on ...just the head bolts and refilled with water .

shone a torch up exhaust port no3 and theres a little hole in the top of it pouring water out from the water jacket .

i guess it got ported too much .

and its useless !!! another great ebay purchase lol

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where are you in the country Dan? I can TIG weld it up for you if you can get it to near leicester, but I am away on hols for 2 weeks as of tomorrow.

OMOC - 5716

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hiya calvin , you sold me the manifold???

wasnt it the mk1 gte head ?

or was it the weber DGV and manifold ?

so many purchases , sorry i cant remember ...

do you still have that vernier pulley laying about?

mantastic , thats a very generous offer m8 , thanks very much , and id love to take you up on it , but i got the head via ebay , and ive sent the guy an email saying whats happened , so i hope we can arrange somthing between us to sort it out , otherwise a fight for my money back through e bay and ill be in touch to get it Tigged .

im usually in north london , but down here in sunny newquay for a week right now ,

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ironed out the rest of the creases today .

pinking cured and oil leak sorted .

needs a tune up now , maybee a rejet of the carb ...not sure ...

had to advance the timing quite a bit to stop the pinking , which suggests a really high comp ratio . (as you said it was going to be)

so not too sure what to do next , should i be getting a thicker head gasket ? or a spacer from QED ?

then after that look at rejetting the carb ??

well anyways ill run it like this for a few hundred miles and have a think about it .....

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Nice car, love the louvered rear (i want one for my car now!)

If you do sell the Astra GTE head, can I buy it please?

Thanks, Rick (fellow daily drive hatchback manta owner) 07746 647200

1982 Manta 1.8S Hatchback with K&N, Wolfrace, Sparco, RaceX, Richbrook, Savage and best of all, Custom Solutions parts.

(coming soon Ashley sports exhaust and manifold)

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more ongoing hassle ....

scince fitting the 1.8 head on the 2liter block ive had the following problems ... pinking , lack of power , overheating , heavy engine breathing making oil leak out the cap ,dash lights flickering again (probably due to a slight misfire) , gears have now become difficult to engage ???!!! beter check the oil and clutch adjustment asap.

and just today the flywheel cover plate came loose and is grinding against the teeth (i assume from the loud grating noise)

all of which are down to me , either not paying enough attention or saying "ahhh... itll be alright " at different times .

so being the victim of my own stupidity , ive now got a whole load more work to do , just to get the thing to go properly .

and it looked so promising on the hoist


[:(]hope i can get it sorted for the weekend ,

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nope its gone wrong bigtime again !!!

the flywheel has come loose somhow . either the bolts have come off or the center of it has cracked . dont think there will be time to get it fixed for the weekend .

at least i have a spare flywheel , clutch cover and bolts .

so no billing this year for me .

hope you all have a good time....drive safely


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sorted the car now , cant believe i missed billing . my own fault tho .

changed the engine and used the 1.8 flywheel and bolts .

the bolts seemed to screw in alright and they even tightened up good .

but they came loose because they wernt the right ones , the cav engine uses thicker stemmed bolts with a corser thread .

cant believe the wrong ones seemed to go in alright !!!

kicking myself for being so dosey and not noticing .

anyway got a new flywheel and proper bolts with locktight so they dont come off again .

sorted now back on the road . still need to replace the head get the chassis rails welded and 4 branch fitted and ....well where does it end ....

all i can say is push bike smoosh bike [:D]

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  • 4 weeks later...

thanks for your interest Bob !

so far im still waiting to get the cav sri stage 1 head welded up .

(was leaking water through the exhaust port)

in the meantime im still running super high compression with the atra gte head . pinks a bit, eventually overheats and im sure im loosing lots of power . but it gets me to work everyday .

been scowering ebay for R1 carbs but too many people know about it now , and they all end up at £100+ . unlike a few months back when there were some about for £30 .

but thats the next step , maybee ill get that done before it gets too rusty .

so in the meantime ive been trying to tidy it up a bit body wise .

unable to afford a pro paint job so ive got some cans of satin matt black .

done the doors the wings , the bonnet and the front panel so far .

and they turned out prety good . ill get some pics up later .

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  • 3 months later...

more progress has been made ....

stage 1 head was welded and fitted ....

WOW! what a difference , goes up hills like theyre not there now . very pleased with it indeed .

raced a friend in his Lupo GTI 1600 a few weeks back . it was a dead heat, which is extreemly pleasing . his car is standard and has a book time of 7.1 to 60mph .

so if im anywhere neer that, im dooing really bloody good !!!

engine is definatly getting there pulling really well , altho having some slight issues with the carb and emmisions .

tuned for emmitions 2% co at 1100 rpm seems to loose loads of power .

so its at about CO 5%+ at 1200 rpm and timing is retarded? a little to get better acceleration , seems to run happyer like that .

good on fuel too , getting roughly 40mpgs on a run . but really bad around town as low as 18 sometimes .(too many short journeys)

thinking the carb (32/36 dgv) would need re-jetting and a rolling road to sort this out .

but its perfectly drivable as it is for now .

attempted painting a few panels , out side in the wind with flies sticking to the wet paint .all the same it turned out prety good for an aerosol .

front panel , bonnet , roof , scuttle wings and doors .



center console made up .swithces for rad fan , fuel pump and vacuume meter light . also an extra interior light and a dimmer switch for the lot .


some new repeators fitted .


fitted a new coil , hoping to replace the alternator with a 100amp unit , and replace the wiper motor . and fit a front heated screen eventually .

still need those wide arches and some nice wide wheels ,

need clear font indicators and some fog lights maybee .

bike carbs are in a box ready for jetting ,

just need to throw cash at it untill its done .

in the meantime im quite keen to get the bike carbs on next before anything else .

sorted the heater out a bit too , bled it from the top matrix hose and filled it up with new antifreeze . now i wouldnt say it ever gets too hot , but its a damn site better than what it was like before .

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  • 1 month later...

stopped for a rest at ogwen valley north wales .


sprung a leak intp the drivers side footwell .

so had to take the carpet out . then put the seats and everything back in to drive home .

was from the very spot that failed the MOT and was welded up .

so just shoved some silicon up there and it seems to have done the trick .


while the carpet and seats were out it was a good chance to look over the whole floor for any signs of rust .

just a small hole like a 10p on the drivers side , overall looking prety good .

letting the carpet dry out . and looking all of it on the floor it seems a bit crap . thinking of maybee adding some more sound proofing around the front .

been collecting parts for a while ready to fit when the weather gets warmer .


new dizzy

new rack

new steering UJ

new gearbox mount and cross member

some bike carbs

wide rear arches

new fuel filter

and as spares ,rear lights and a new rear bearing

trying to raise money by selling parts from other inferior vehicles that we scrap in work . having moderate sucess ,got this lot so far with hardly anything out my own pocket .

sill need a lower bearing for the steering column .

and a pile of cash for the bike carbs and arches

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