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Saffa Manta Gt - Update***


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So in the blink of an eye the opportunity came up and i grabbed it, now the itch has been scratched and she can lie in wait for the day i decide to resurrect her..

For a while now i've been doing research on the different options for the manta engine-wise, and ended up looking to keep her asthetically original and just beefing up the original 1.9. Almost all the guys on this forum pointed me at the 2.2 CIH motor from the rekord berlina's, straight fit into the engine bay, so the search began..

they apparently had a very restrictive intake manifold, camshaft as mild as they come and an exhaust that didn't really do the engine justice.. I've heard stories of guys getting the power up significantly just by bolting on a set of sidedrafts, changing the cam with something more deliberate and installing a bigger exhaust.

so there she was, the 2.2 GLS had blown a head gasket and the guy rebuilt the motor, but a lack of paperwork caused him to strip and sell to offset his expense, at a steal i might add.. I have legit invoices to get it cleared..

i bring to you my new baby:

loaded the boot up up:


2.2 exhaust manifold without the irritating carb heating tower, interchangable with the 1.9 should i decide to go sidedrafts on the smaller engine:


All the bits and pieces of the stripped, but complete engine:


45mm intake valve:


Rule of thumb, the more of the valve area you can see from the top of the ports, the better it's going to flow:


Stacked up nicely awaiting police clearance:


Once the engine is cleared, I'll send the head off for some attention, new seats, proper gasflow and skim, then i'll have the old virgin crank nicely balanced up and take around 3kg's off the flywheel.. the tappid cover needs cosmetic attention, will try and source pistons of similar dimensions for incase these don't last (quick tip, Nissan Navara pistons are exact 95mm bore, gudgeon pin to top height less though, can be made up wiith longer rods, which would decrease piston sideloading anyway..)

my aim is to get the motor above the specs of a standard redtop (i've already got 188Nm std), but only time and cashflow will tell..

Edited by Stev0
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A bit about the vehicle:

the only three things not original on her is the carburettor, wheels and spotlights (original 1.9 motor, but not for this model!!).. apart from a slight overheating problem she starts immediately everytime, burns white and drives super smooth.. all electrics work perfectly, minimal rust, windscreen slightly cracked, dash board sun damaged and bonnet paint burnt from the tarpaulin she was kept under. still can't believe i got the guy to sell!


Happy to announce she made it through roadworthy with no major issues, and finally registered in my name and safe and soundly hidden away for now..

Edited by Stev0
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another update, i took the front bumper off in order to remove the spotlights, i kind of like the look, will leave her as such for now, was quite a mission getting in between the 205 wheels and arch to loosen off the bolts that keep the bumper on..

I'd really like to get my hands on one of those front spoilers that the GTE's had, probably hens teeth, none ever made it onto any manta produced in South Africa..





Edited by Stev0
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Thanks to Andy (611) on the forum i'm now the proud owner of a set of sidedraft intakes for the 1.9.. i've also amassed no less than 3 sets of sidedrafts to choose from, solex, weber and dellorto.. all 40's i'm afraid.. will have to go larger once the 2.2 goes in, far down the line...




i've also aqcuired a GETRAG 204 5-speed box from a friend, who coincidently came across it looking for a suitable box for his manta, but he's doing an XE conversion there, so useless as far as what he needs... unfortunately no photo's of it...

what I DO have photo's of is my new freshly rebuilt 1.6 CIH, which came along with my mate's manta that the bought.. happily (for me), he's decided to go redtop with the car, hence no need for the engine and gearbox, which he kindly donated to my cause, now also safely in storage awaiting decisions..



I've heard that the cylinder heads from the 1.6 have some special bits and pieces such as solid lifters, and when strapped onto a stock 1.9, will up the compression ratio... Also, the cranks are much lighter and a straight swop with the 1.9's...

something to consider if i'm playing with the original motor..

Edited by Stev0
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Another update:

Although the rims which are on the car look nice and oldskool, i was kindof hoping of getting hold of a set of rostyles, just to give it a bit more of an authentic look.. The buddy of mine acquired his manta GT with original wheels, but he wasn't very enthusiastic to give them up, so the search began..


Some of the older fords had rostyles on but all sets that I could find was the wrong PCD, and the guys wanted serious money for them.. I search scrapyards and spares shops and almost gave up the search when a friend of mine informed me that the chevrolet chevair was also released with rostyles, but without the black inner detail..

Armed with this new info, I went about it again, and almost immediately found a set.. They look like cheap steel rims without the black inner detail so the guy sold them to me for basically nothing, and even threw a 5th rim into the deal because it didn't have a set of it's own!!





with a quick experimental masking off and tincan spray, i confirmed the potential these rims have to look AWESOME and really compliment the look of the car..


They're also in storage, as i'm currently looking for a suitable place to have them widened out a bit to sport the wider 205 tyres i plan to have on the car, something to this effect, although not as extreme:


Edited by Stev0
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Just when you thought it was safe to go home...

The redtop manta friend and myself took on a joint venture to purchase a 3rd manta together, the body was still neat and the 1.9 engine was still in (condition unknown), but the rest of the car was fairly complete.. the previous owner had had a bike accident and needed money urgently to pay hospital bills, so we bought it.. Redtop manta mate soon ran out of space at his place after purchasing a 4th, 5th and 6th manta, all scrapped and in different states of bad, all donor cars for further endeavors...

So i decided to clear out the old container in the backyard to make room for this car to sleep undercover, away from the elements that would also eventually render it nothing more than a donor shell..


found an old set of headers my dad stashed in there once apon a time, don't know what he had planned but it looked like it could've been fun:


Finally cleared everything out and chucked all the unneccesary stuff away:


And later that same day, que manta No3:







it's like a time capsule, maybe it stays in there for 100s of years and someone digs up the old container one day to find the last remaining example of a manta lol..

One thing i'm definitely happy about after giving this car a quick top-to-bottom is the steering wheel, which i will most certainly steal for my red GT, it just suites the car so well...


No plans for the car yet, but redtop mate has since gotten his hands on another manta for a steal, body is a rust write off, BUT complete in every other sense of the word, so we'll most likely use the body from manta No3 and build all the sexy bits from rust manta over to have a 3rd example of the car..

Edited by Stev0
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Now all the updates are up to date, here are my plans from here on forward:

for now i'm going to keep the 1.9 in the manta and play around with it until i get some serious cashflow back into my life (bonus december 2013 maybe). the 1.9 seems healthy with good compression, although she overheats from time to time.. regardless of which engine she gets, the brake servo and master cylinder needs to be moved in order for the sidedrafts to go on, i was very happy to learn that camshafts are interchangable throughout the CIH range, so i'll probably be contacting Jan from ENEM in the near future for pricing of their Y12 cam, which i'm told is the best match for the engine without having to replace lifters and springs etc (although i have a 1.6CIH lying around, and those have solid lifters i am told ).. that cam will go into the 1.9 for now, and later the 2.2 when the transplant happens.. the exhaust manifold from the 2.2 can also service the 1.9 once the sidedrafts go on, that will give me some joy while I go to work on the bigboy.. maybe even put the 1.6 head on for extra compression, balance up the bottom end etc etc not chasing serious power as i hope to keep the drivetrain std (except gearbox, which will be a GETRAG 5 speed manual, already acquired and awaiting action)..

Even Juno is enthusiastic about the whole story!!


Please guys, any input is greatly appreciated...

Edited by Stev0
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Hey StevO

Nice looking car!

I would take the vinyl off and just paint the roof. Steel wheels once the have been painted as original, get it nice and low, leave the bumpers on but no overrider's! a nice dark red with a black stripe (i think its the SR that has one that goes down the side and across the boot lid) and you might be able to get the front spoiler from Germany (not original of course!!) and then it would look stunning!! Just my thoughts.


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Hey StevO

Nice looking car!

I would take the vinyl off and just paint the roof. Steel wheels once the have been painted as original, get it nice and low, leave the bumpers on but no overrider's! a nice dark red with a black stripe (i think its the SR that has one that goes down the side and across the boot lid) and you might be able to get the front spoiler from Germany (not original of course!!) and then it would look stunning!! Just my thoughts.


Thanks for the input Andy, that's exactly what i'm going for..

i'd like to play around with the look without making it look unoriginal.. the side pinstriping will probably go back as is, but the bit that crosses over the bootlid i want thicker, maybe across the opel badge..

Apart from that, the chrome bullet style side mirrors must go on and definitely a front spoiler (not sure if i'm going to try and import or just try have something custom fabricated)..

Another add on that i'm quite keen on is the manta rear window louvre!! again, something that South Africa never saw, and judging by the amount of examples i've seen, not an easy find:


still deciding if i'll go the black bonnet/black rear look, decisions decisions...

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Yep, it had a real crap one in it when i bought it, so got one from the local windscreen fitting place as they had some nice ones. I was a bit nervous cutting the hole out as the new one was bigger than the old one :-)

Im going to remove the vinyl when i get round to doing the body work as its such a pain with rust under it over here!


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same here.. the vinyl roof must come off my car... it's pretty and all that but not at the expense of rust.. i have always have the option of having it done again later, should the urge ever bite me.. i'm going for the clean look, no vinyl..

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  • 1 month later...


I never thought it would be advantageous living in South Africa for modifying a manta A, but i stumbled onto something quite special recently..

As some of you might have seen, I was struggling to fit the sidedrafts to the current 1.9 setup as the RHD manta brake servo and master cylinders get in the way.. I vaguely remember seeing an article that pertained to the South African manta's, and the "manta S" conversion that was offered as an aftermarket option which included a more aggressive camshaft and sidedrafts..

Now, nowhere in this description there's any mention of relocating servo's and master cylinders, so 1st prize would've been one of these manifolds, which would be ULTRA rare as hens teeth (only a handful were ever converted)..

I was acquianted with a chap that used to be quite involved in the manta scene in the 70's and 80's, and this was what he had for me:




as you can see, the intake takes the sidedrafts over the top of the master cylinders so it's straight bolt-on, even gets the fuelling further away from the heat..

how many of these items do you reckon are still in existence? have any of you ever seen one??

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  • 1 year later...

I was going to update my thread until I saw that images are now limited to members only.. I'm not even allowed to see my own images.. 


don't think I'm going to continue this thread.. I'm out

Edited by Stev0
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