Performance Vauxhall - - NEWSFEED -

An­other bat­tle, an­other light­hearted com­par­i­son be­tween two icons of the Vaux­hall world, this time it’s the Chevette HSR and the Manta 400.


Okay, so these two are equally cool, but we thought it’d be worth com­par­ing the of­fer­ings from Shep­reth and Rüs­selsheim. The HSR was an evo­lu­tion of the HS, and as such was ho­molo­gated with some of the ear­lier car’s short­com­ings. This in­cluded limited room for sus­pen­sion travel, and an en­gine that was near­ing the end of its de­vel­op­ment life.

The upside was that the ‘slant four’ – when cou­pled with a 16v head – was a snort­ing monster of an en­gine, and a re­li­able one to boot. It meant that DTV could be pretty con­fi­dent in their cars get­ting to the fin­ish of even the tough­est events, and this cer­tainly played a part in the HSR’s suc­cess on the Manx and Scot­tish Rallys and Cir­cuit of Ire­land.


This is a bit un­fair as the Manta 400 was a Group B car, ef­fec­tively deigned to re­place the HSR! The Manta was ef­fec­tively an evo­lu­tion of the As­cona 400, but it was ho­molo­gated for the then new Group B rules, al­low­ing greater free­dom to tune the car. That meant a Cos­worth de­signed head and a rock-solid diesel crank. It wasn’t all plain sail­ing though, and early cars were frus­trat­ingly un­re­li­able and out­gunned. Though the re­li­a­bil­ity was even­tu­ally cured, the rear-wheel drive Manta was al­ways up against it, and its DCOE in­duc­tion and NA setup ef­fec­tively limited it to the 300bhp mark.

That said, the Manta did prove to be an ef­fec­tive rally car, es­pe­cially on sealed sur­face events, and it even­tu­ally es­tab­lished it­self as the car to beat on events like the Manx and Cir­cuit of Ire­land. It wasn’t half bad on the rough, ei­ther, and a Manta 400 came achingly close to win­ning the rough­est event of all, the 1984 Sa­fari.

WIN­NER : manta 400

Both had their lim­i­ta­tions, but it was the Manta that earned it­self a place amongst the Group B greats, though we’ve no doubt that plenty of you will whole­heart­edly dis­agree with the de­ci­sion!

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