The i200 was produced from 1984 to 1986 and was launched as a limited edition Group B FISA homologated model by Opel tuning and styling house, Irmscher. In Total, 477 i200 models were built by Irmscher. They took batches of specially ordered Mantas direct from the Opel production line in Antwerp and shipped them to Remshalden, the home of the Irmscher works, where many subtle changes were made. They arrived as either Polar White or Astro Silver cars, and already had the Opel Cloth seats fitted at the Opel Factory. These cars were built on the same production line as the standard GT/E but due to the differences in spec, they were not designated as such. Upon arrival at Irmscher, the Manta 400 Rally car quad Halogen headlamps and a deep boot spoiler were fitted along with the various mechanical upgrades. The standard package included a high lift cam, solid lifters, uprated valve springs and re-mapped distributor to increase power output by some 15 bhp. UK specification cars were generally fitted with a gas flowed cylinder head which gave the i200 136 bhp. Many other options were available such as a big valve head and Limited Slip Differential. As the car was usually built to order, the specification was dictated by how much could be spent.
A new cloth trim was introduced, with the Recaro seats being decorated in black 'Opel Sport' cloth. Similar to the Road Manta/Ascona 400 seats with Black seat backs, the i200 version had grey, lightening the interior. The Blitz interior is the biggest clue as to the whether the car is an original. Many 'look alike' models appeared but did not feature the mechanical modifications. This interior option was only ever available on genuine Irmscher Cars, and as such is highly collectable now.
A 'no cost option' was the fitment of a Rothmans decal set, to celebrate their sponsorship of the Dealer Opel team. A limited edition Opel Sport version of the decal kit was also released but it is the Rothmans Blue / Red / Gold striping kit that most people associate with the car. As the i200 was fitted with Quad Headlamps from new (in the UK), the headlamp wash wipe was not applicable and as such the front airdam was not fitted with washer jets. The chassis build plate should also show the factory code for the Blitz Trim interior (188) and not the code for the other variants of trim available. The model code for the GT/E, which surprisingly was XR3, is not present on the genuine i200 build plate.
It was possible to have a standard GT/E converted to i200 specification by purchasing the upgrade kit from Irmscher. Several of these conversions are know to the club. They do not feature the Blitz interior however, as this was made in very small numbers and was not available as an aftermarket item.
The i200 was only in production for 2 years and only sold in relatively small numbers from the UK Irmscher franchise, Steve Thompson Cars Ltd, of Walsall. It is believed that 30-35 Right Hand Drive i200's were built out of the total of 477. All of these were Coupe's although there are rumours that a Hatchback version exists. Within the club Irmscher Register, 16 Genuine UK examples survive, making this a rare and collectable edition.
- 1979CC Fuel Injected engine.
- High Lift Cam with Solid Lifters (creating more engine noise than a GT/E)
- Sports Distributor (originally came with an Irmscher sticker attached)
- Recaro seats with Opel Sport Cloth Trim
- Irmscher Leather 4 spoke steering wheel (option)
- i200 Graphics
- Rothmans Sport Striping Kit
- Ronal alloy wheels (other wheels were available as a cost option from new - Revolutions RFX and BBS)
- Four Halogen Headlamps - (different to later GT/E models, the lamps are located in a steel cradle)
- Manta 400 rear spoiler - (thinner than the later Exclusive 3 piece spoiler)
- Green tinted glass
- Opening rear quarter windows
- Sill Extensions in body colour
- Polar White or Astro Silver paint
- Irmscher Stainless Steel Sports Exhaust (single or twin tailpipe with Irmscher logo)
Edited by Irmscher Man