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Seeking further info on the 4WD prototypes


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Hello everyone!

I am currently helping in research for a book soon to be published about the Ferguson Formula 4WD systems. That research led me to the 1982-1983 Opel Manta B 400 4WD prototypes commissioned from FFD by Opel Motorsport manager Tony Fall. Most of the research has already been done and includes interesting information.

The last bout to be done is to find out where the prototypes ended up. One was originally a narrow body, all white Manta B 400, with the basic 144 hp phase 1 engine, the car was most likely RHD. The other was upgraded to rally spec, with the Irmscher wide arch kit, and in the Rothmans livery, sporting a 240 hp re-tuned phase 2 engine, and the car is LHD. Both are pre-facelift models produced in late 1981 then turned over to FFD in 1982.

After Opel sold the prototypes off, multiple names came out in my research as one-time owners of one car or the other; Mick Quaife, Tony Maslin, and Stuart Palmeras. However, this might might be incorrect. Other information suggest that both cars most likely were converted back to RWD at one point. If anyone has ANY information as to where those cars are now then feel free to share information, we would certainly like to get in touch with the current owners, and possibly get more information and recent pictures!

NOTE: not to be confused with the 1986-1987 Manta / Ascona cars converted to 4WD by using Astra 4S bits, these are not the ones we are looking for.

Edited by RGBS
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2 minutes ago, mantadoc said:

There were some pics of the underneath of a Rothmans striped 4WD on here a number  of years ago

Basically, what we need should not replicate what is already known or seen in this page:


Hopefully, the topic won't get sidetracked into something else. Current owners (or any pertinent info on the chain of custody) of these cars are our primary concern.

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KG Motorsport had a manta 400 in Rothman's colours which they said  originally the 400 Manta 400  for sale a couple of years ago. Car was on a Q plate. Would be worth contacting them for more information. 



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2 hours ago, 400PEL said:

KG Motorsport had a manta 400 in Rothman's colours which they said  originally the 400 Manta 400  for sale a couple of years ago. Car was on a Q plate. Would be worth contacting them for more information. 



I sent them an email, thanks!

2 hours ago, robah said:

On the bit of info I have it mentions "It is now owned by a member of the Group B Club". Don't know when it was written so don't know if still valid

Link to the page if helps

The only Group B club that I know of is the "Rallying With Group B" Club... is it the same thing? I did a quick Google search and nothing else comes up.

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21 hours ago, RGBS said:

The only Group B club that I know of is the "Rallying With Group B" Club... is it the same thing? I did a quick Google search and nothing else comes up.

Just looking at the"Group B Rally" homepage of the link above, it hasn't been updated since 2012, but mention they have a FB account.

I use to have a link to a page about the 400 4WD with some good colour photos, but I think it died with the FB generation as I can't locate it anymore. :(

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Opel delivered a Manta-400 to the firm Ferguson UK to rebuild it to 4X4.

Ferguson did this rebuild already some years for several cars, also the Opel Senator:



After the rebuild the Manta400 4X4 had a Getrag gearbox with the extra shaft to the front and a visco-clutch between 

front & rear traktion. 64% to the rear and 36% to the front:


Some more pages of 80's autosport reviews:

(some pics are the same as above, maybe bigger...)







During the tests the car was better and easyer to drive than the Audi's and the Chief of this project (Koch)tolled the press that a turbo 400 engine delivered

more than 350Ps and the car still stayed under 1000kg weight; a lot lighter than the Audi's.

This project died and the car was rebuild to a normal rally-400:


Not so long ago for sale in the UK. 

Another nice pic:


Edited by H-400
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I 'm sure there will be some more Manta 4X4's. Only one build build for Opel.

The Ferguson firm did this rebuild so it is sure possible there are more clones.

It is something as the Kadett 400. Only 3 build by Opel, and also some copies 

made of this rare car.

And checked some info: It was indeed KG motorsport that had this ex 4X4 400 for sale! 

So you are right!


Edited by H-400
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Thanks to everyone so far!

Also, I do not mind the slight sidetrack (the duplicated history lesson). This will make members of this site have most of the bits straight on the forum. HOWEVER, I must stress that the car was NEVER turbocharged during the time the prototype was being considered by Opel. It sported a "phase 2" (re-tuned) 240 HP normally aspirated engine. The part at the end of the German article that speaks of 350HP refers directly to the specs of the rally Audi quattro, NOT the Manta. Opel did try to turbocharge the "phase 3" engine for the Opel Kadett E 4S project but that was way after the Manta 4WD proto, so it must not be confused one with another.

Again, our info (confirmed by a FFD employee at the time) show that TWO cars were built in 1982; one white road (narrow body) 144hp "phase 1" engine, and one Rothmans rally (wide) 240 hp "phase 2" engine, (details already explained in first post). Subsequent informal copies (such as the 86-87 Astra 4S bits converted ones) do NOT interest us.

It seems that we are indeed narrowing down the provenance of the original rally one. I am still waiting on a comeback from KG Motorsports.

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Yeah, lot of pics are the same, and I thought we had some nice material...

About your info: as I mentioned it is very possible there were 2 (or several) Manta-400 4X4 made by them.

The only car used in the press was the wide one, the Rothmans with 240ps. If Opel ordered 2 cars or the 

other one is made for theirself is an interesting search. Gonna check in our club if they know something more...

About the turbocharged engine, a part of an article in a German magazine:


Gonna transelate it (was stationed 8 years in Germany, still work with them):

"How this competition-version, that at the earliest in 1984 can appear in the World Rallye Championship, will look, about that the Opel Sport manufactors are sure:

With a turbo-engine will there be more than 350Hp available, and the weight of Opels all-wheel driven car will stay under 1000kg"

"Opels archrival in Rallye, the firm Audi from Ingolstadt, has this year a similar Rallye-Beast ready: The Quattro model 1983 weighs a bit more than 1000kg and is 360Hp strong"


Offcourse this was wishfull thinking, building another 200 cars (regulations) was too expensive.

I think the prototypes Astra-S4 had priority




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Are you trying to find out if kgm still have the 4x4 bits? Seems weird to me, why you are trying to trace a car, that no longer has the ferguson system fitted?  But you gotta start somewhere!

interesting in the other 4x4 senator, would it be identical ferguson bits?

i do think it was converted to RWD, long before KGM!

NOTE: not to be confused with the 1986-1987 Manta / Ascona cars converted to 4WD by using Astra 4S bits, these are not the ones we are looking for.Knowing that these where a getrac system, This would also be very interesting! Never heard of converted manta, ascona.

If the ferguson system is lying in someones shed,  What would make a works 400 ever more special, 4 wheel drive, and s4 turbo to boot! 

 Finish what Opel should have done, the Ultimate group B car,

can you advise on your book?

Did ferguson convert anything interesting, in rallying?






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3 hours ago, ®evo03 said:

#1 - Are you trying to find out if kgm still have the 4x4 bits? Seems weird to me, why you are trying to trace a car, that no longer has the ferguson system fitted?  But you gotta start somewhere!

#2 - can you advise on your book?

#3 - Did ferguson convert anything interesting, in rallying?







Question #1 = This has nothing to do with trying to find the original parts. Finding out the entire history of the cars, notwithstanding of either they are or are no longer 4WD, is only for accurate historical preservation purposes. The book will also feature a section featuring CURRENT pictures of all the cars important to FFD's history. Which is where finding the current owners is needed (again, no matter if they are no longer 4WD).

Question #2 = It is not my book, it is Bill Munro's. I stated that I was helping in research for it. Free of charge; on my own time, on my own dime. Because I am a Group B fanatic with a knack for accurate information and preserving its history.

Question #3 = As far as I know, FFD only directly did the work for the Manta B 400 in their Coventry workshop. However, many other cars in the Group B era used Ferguson bits in their 4WD systems, the list includes; Peugeot 205 T16 (including the Pikes Peak and grand raid (Paris-Dakar versions)), Lancia Delta S4 (in a Hewland casing), MG Metro 6R4, and Ford RS200. Some of it carried over onto the various Group S prototypes; Lancia ECVs, Peugeot 405 T16 (presentation version, grand raid version) which is basically a rebodied 205 T16. Peugeot subsequently gave the 4WD system to Citroën for their ZX grand raid proto in 1991 (again mostly a rebodied 405 T16), a car that won the Paris-Dakar 4 times (last in 1996). This means that the original 205 T16's engineering and Ferguson bits were a successful recipe for 13 years (1984~1996). Pretty impressive.

Thank you for the precision of the last part of the German article, it is indeed what it says, I simply uttered it badly. In short, the turbocharged version NEVER happened, that you can be sure of, it was indeed only wishful thinking. However, you forgot to mention the missing link between the 1982~1983 Manta B 400 & 4WD proto and the 1985~1986 Kadett E 4S: the 1984 Kadett D 400. Best info on the latter here:


EDIT: PS, the Opel Kadett E 4S sported an Xtrac 4WD system, if you're wondering.

Edited by RGBS
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Hi there again I am going to try my best to clear up a few questions that you asked in the other forum as I am not a member in that page. 
The manta 400s as far as I know all were non sunroofs, the sunroof was an option and I believe only fitted to one car. The car below (picture 1) in question with the sunroof doesn't look like a genuine 400, it has the wrong wheels on (these are 4 not 5 stud), the front Opel blitz should be a plastic on the earlier cars but all were stickers after 1984/5 as we the same type on the GTE and exclusive road cars. That car also has the wrong bonnet (road cars didn't have pins) or vents and the interior is looking like the Chicago grey spec one and not the Opel blitz one (Ascona 400s had black cloth and black faux leather and the Mantas had black cloth and dark grey faux leather)
The B reg car (picture 2) is a local car to me and is 'the real McCoy' as the owner states as its a full original car and came with all the recipes and documents from Opel and Irmscher, the black strip on the front of the car is a decal (there were 2ntypes of lower air damn) The black on the side skirts and front edge of the rear arch are also decals  (some cars had rubber on the back arch) 
As for the headlights most cars were fitted with the Irmscher quad headlights apart from the early cars which had Lucas or Cibbe squares. This is the same for the two and four slot grilled cars which most two slotted cars were the early prototypes (one of which being RHD) All road cars had the standard steel bonnets, these too were different to a standard steel bonnet as found on non special cars as the webbing under the bonnet was different (maybe to clear the 2.4 head) 
other differences were the 400 spoilers along with the other Irmscher special cars had a thinner lip on the spoiler and the rally ones were fibreglass, sealed rear quarter windows, englemann door mirrors, different steering wheel which don't think your interested in for the purpose of your research. 
Its a very interesting story along with the research you are doing. Why wouldn't the guy at Opel tell you anymore? Good luck with the hunting and if you could keep us all updated that would be great. 
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@RGBS:Thanks for sharing this info about Ferguson, never looked for it and it never passed my eyes but very interesting.

About the Kadett 400: It was a project of Tony Fall (Opel Sportsdirector) and he left Opel with slamming doors after his project 

died. The reason why is (I think) the cost of building those cars (Kadett D with Manta chassis), the Kadett E was comming up and 

Opel had already Manta-400 factory rallye cars in 1981! (have copies of the papers, can't show them cause of privacy rules)


I have taken some pictures myself of the Q625 PDS , years ago if someone wants I'll upload and show them. Yet the engine-compartiment is more disappointing...

@Danny:Minor detail: I know someone (also a member of the Opel400Club) with an original Manta-400 with original sunroof! And the car is original Black! 




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6 hours ago, Mickfrad said:

A great read and interesting article, Good luck with the research.

Came across the omof page which has the same original post but with additional information. A good read for anyone interested. 



Indeed that is also my thread. I had no choice but to try on two different forums due to time constraints. Mr. Munro's book has a date with the press in June. From experience, this kind of research can be time consuming to filter out the hearsay from the facts. Also, some people have a bad tendency to check their emails very sparingly, thus making the process much longer than it should.

That being said, I am still awaiting a reply from KG Motorsport about the Rothman liveried rally 4WD prototype, maybe my email got sent into the junk mail folder due to hyperlinks I often include in them. Anyhow, there's still time...

An example of the challenge in separating hearsay from fact came when trying to find a lead concerning the white narrow body road 4WD prototype, it comes from this unlikeliest of places... a slot-car forum:


The bickering continues on page 2.

Basically, all sort of conflicting info is thrown around (mostly by the very same person who contradicts himself a few times), by saying one prototype was driven by Jimmy McRae who crashed with it, had the car returned to 2WD, then sold it. This car supposedly was converted back and forth from RHD to LHD and so on. On page two, this story changes to something else but may refer to the Rothman's liveried rally car;


From Roy Gillingham - Re Manta 400 4wd Car was Klients Monte practice car the converted to 4wd. Ari Vatenen used it as a course on Swedish Rally car was sold to Mick Quaife for rallycross. Tony Maslin bought it and David did BTRDA in it. I bought it and did 3 events in it before the diff front broke and took the chu ... nk of the block with it. I converted it to 2wd Pete Doughty built a Phase 3 engine for it as it was only Phase 1 spec (I still have the origninal 4wd stuff god knows why) Tim Ashton is correct in saying it had limited suspension travel. It used Triumph 1300 uprights and driveshafts and a Reliant Kitten diff turned upside down. I sold the car to Stuart Palmer who then sold him to a member of his crew crew whoes name escapes me but he also had Robin Herds old Darrian. Car was then sold to an Irish Dealer. On the Plains Rally 1986 driven by Tony Maslem

There is much discrepancies in the whole thing and to me doesn't quite make sense. However, the Irish dealer part at the end is correct (KG Motorsport). Besides the latter, I have also sent an email to Quaife but was answered by an employee that seemed unenthusiastic in forwarding my queries to Mick. I will be trying again soon.

Again, info that we have via an FFD employee of the time (Robin Price) is that 2 cars were converted by FFD as I've stated before. In fact, you can see both in the German article (the narrow white road version is tilted to show its underneath, the Rothman's rally wide version is in the other pictures). The schematic also shows the road car being RHD while the rally is clearly LHD. They could have been converted back and forth or be the same car (that was my gut feeling) but that goes against other info that we have... mystery indeed!

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