Introduction

I have been asked by Daniel C some awkward questions about the different types of headlamps fitted to the Opel Manta A series and to be honest I didn't want the hassle of writing a full explanation. But hopefully by writing this out once, I can simply point people to it in future. My experience is solely based on the models of Opel Manta A series available here in the UK. Bear in mind that Opel may have done things differently for models sold in Europe, the USA, or even South Africa for that matter.

Orientation

One constant is that the outer headlamps (nearest to the kerb) are used for the side lights and dipped beam mode and the inner headlamps (nearest to the Blitz badge) work exclusively for high beam mode. When in high beam mode the dipped beam lamps and side lights remain lit too.
The outer headlamps (dipped beam) have versions to suit either left or right hand drive. As far as I am aware, the inner headlamps are universal and there is no difference between left or right hand drive specifications.

In Praise of 5 ¾" Headlamps

A lot of cars from the 1960s right through to the 1990s used these simple 5 ¾" style headlights. In my opinion they gave a very accurate beam pattern and sufficient illumination for the performance of the vehicles they were fitted to and relative to the speeds they can be expected to attain. In some respects they are much better than modern units, which are much more expensive, difficult to adjust and have issues such a polycarbonate becoming fogged and scratched.

Image of 2 of 5 ¾" headlights on a blue background
5 ¾" headlights - accurate beam pattern and sufficient illumination

However the internal reflectors are prone to rusting, this process is accelerated if you don't use the correct rubber sealing caps and clips as per the original specification. Don't worry I still have a few left.

I have seen two different types of headlamp fitted to the Opel Manta A series and they are easily recognisable by the type of lamp fitted to the reflector unit and the electrical connectors installed in the wiring loom.

H4 type - Deluxe variant

The most basic models, branded as deluxe and often fitted with the 1.6s engine, were fitted with the H4 style of lamp, usually a Halogen unit, but occasionally on some early vehicles a Tungsden unit. There is interchangeability between the two, they fit the same size apperture and use the same multipin electrical connector. The Tungsden lamp is lower powered and casts a more yellow coloured light, so for this reason many will upgrade to the Halogen lamp for better night vision.

Original Equipment H4 lamp units - last 1 left in stock

The H4 is a twin filament lamp, designed so that a single lamp unit can provide both dipped and high beam in a single reflector. In theory with a bit of rewiring you could create an Opel Manta A series with a 2 lamp front grill, although that would be plain wrong.

H1 type - SR, Rallye and Berlinetta variants

These were sold to be the top of the range variants and were fitted with what was considered to be the best components. The H1 lamp unit is quite small physically and produces a very accurate beam pattern on the dipped setting, otherwise I don't believe there is that much difference.

The elctrical connections are descrete, i.e. there is a lead for the main lamp, sidelight lamp and earth/ground/chassis. The original lamps used a round slip ring connector for earthing which slid over an alloy post. It is quite a shabby bit of design, the ring works loose and you get an electrochemical reaction between the alloy post and copper slip ring.

Most replacement reflectors will come with a copper spade connector, you will need to cut the slip ring off the wiring loom and crimp or solder on the matching receptacle. If you can beg, borrow or steal a decent crimping tool it will improve the reliability of the join immensely, the cheap kits sold at shows and boot fairs, etc. are simply not up to the job.


Cosmetic Changes

This is getting into the realms of the "anorak" and I don't know whether today's Opel Manta owners are so concerned about originalitiy or have the choice. The earlier cars (70-73) were fitted with headlamps that had quite pronounced curvature to the reflector glass, whereas the later cars (74-75) were fitted with a flat glass lens.

Converting from H4 to H1 types

The mounting bezels and trim rings are exactly the same between either type, so physically they are interchangeable units. The width of the elctrical terminals and the fact that they will either be loose or contained within a multi-pin plug differs one system from the other.
If you are a confident DIY auto electrician it is relatively straight forward to chop and change the end of the wiring loom to suit. Alternatively handy adapter blocks are available if you want to fit H1 reflectors to a wiring loom designed for H4 lamps. A little bit of fiddling around will still be required, but you preserve the original wiring loom. I have a few such adapter blocks left in stock.

 

Alternatives to Original Equipment - Sealed Beam Units

Sealed Beam units were popular with a lot of British cars from the 1960s onwards, these have the advantage that the lamp filament and reflector are a single item, made entirely of glass and vacuum sealed, hence they never rust out. Their disadvantage is that if the filament blows you have to replace the whole unit, although to be fair, even today they are still pretty cheap due to the huge volumes they were produced in. Some have the side lamp filament built in, others have a clear section on the reflector silvering where a lamp can be attached to shine through.
Consider from the following list of vehicles for potential compatibility: Ford Cortina Mk3, Hillman Hunter, Humber Scepter, Sunbeam Rapier, Sunbeam Stiletto, Triumph Dolomite, Triumph Vitesse, Vauxhall Magnum, Vauxhall Firenza. This is by no means an exhaustive list, there will be other candidates.

Image of a Lucas 5712 Sealed beam headlamp on a blue background
Lucas 5712 Sealed beam unit - will fit Opel Manta A series
 

Alternatives to Original Equipment - HID/Xenon/Projector Headlamps

I have no experience or data about the "modern" era of high intensity lighting, there is a highly informative article by Auto Evolution found here
If you have any information to add, please use the comments box below or use the contact form to send me details.

Always Blowing Headlamp Bulbs?

If you have to replace your headlamp bulbs frequently, use a voltage meter to check the voltage of your Opel's electrics with the engine running at around 1500 RPM. If the voltage reads higher than 13 volts it may be that the voltage regulator circuit in the alternator has failed. Not only will this cause lamps to fail, it will also "cook" the battery and lead to premature failure.

Earlier Opel Manta A series ('70-'72) used an external voltage regulator mounted on the inner wing within the engine compartment and connected to the alternator by a short multipin connector.
Later Opel Manta A series ('73-'75) had the voltage regulator mounted within the alternator and will require dis assembly to access it.

If originality isn't a concern, it should be a simple swap to uprgrade to the later style of alternator, which in my experience is slightly more reliable due to fewer electrical connections in an agressive environment.

Lastly, ensure that the engine block is correctly grounded to the chassis, the braided lead is prone to fraying and is sometimes left off after an engine rebuild.

Up for grabs is this reproduction of the sales brochure for the GT/E version of the Opel Manta A series. This was one of the last variants to leave the factory before production switched over to the Manta B series and is in many ways the pinnacle of the cars short lived production. With uprated suspension, brakes and transmission you could make the most of the extra performance that fuel injection offered.

The Opel Manta A series GT/E was never available in right hand drive for the UK market and I don't think it made it to America either. But many years ago I was offered one for something like £600 here in the UK; I was young had fewer mechanical skills than now and not much money so I turned it down, what a missed opportunity.

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 1
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 2
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 3
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 4
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 5
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 6
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 7
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

Opel Manta A series GT/E Sales Brochure Page 8
Sales Brochure - Opel Manta A series GT/E

It is priced at £12, which includes delivery to a UK address. I can send to some European locations too, but please ask for a quote first as this could be quite a high sum.

Original sales brochures for classic GM vehicles are not exactly plentiful in the UK, stocks are very limited and I will not be replacing them, so don't hang about if this is what you need for your project.


Updates:

02/10/18 - Now sold

It caught my attention recently that one of these sales brochures for the ultra rare Broadspeed modified version of the Opel Manta A series is now listed on eBay for £48.
Consumed by avarice it occurred to me that I could sell my spare copy for £25 and be able to eat for another week.

Opel Manta Broadspeed Turbo Sales Brochure Page 1
Opel Manta - Broadspeed Turbo version

Opel Manta Broadspeed Turbo Sales Brochure Page 2
Opel Manta - Broadspeed Turbo version

Opel Manta Broadspeed Turbo Sales Brochure Page 3
Opel Manta - Broadspeed Turbo version

Opel Manta Broadspeed Turbo Sales Brochure Page 4
Opel Manta - Broadspeed Turbo version

It is priced at £25, which includes delivery to a UK address. I can send to some European locations too, but please ask for a quote first as this could be quite a high sum.

Original sales brochures for classic GM vehicles are not exactly plentiful in the UK, stocks are very limited and I will not be replacing them, so don't hang about if this is what you need for your project.


Updates:

26/09/17 - Sales enquiry from the Netherlands
29/09/17 - Sold

I dug out these front brake backing plates for a user on the Opel Manta Owners Club Forum, but his interest appears to have waned. They were saved from an Opel Manta B series (i200 model) that was split for spares many years ago and they have lived in my loft ever since.

Image of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey background
Manta brake disc back plates - maximum diameter is 280mm

I ran over them with a fibre brush on my drill to see if there were part numbers visible under the dirt. As the photos will show, there was some surface rusting at the centre, but nothing that appears to have penetrated the metal.

Image of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey background
Manta brake disc back plates -  mounting holes are asymmetrical

Their maximum diameter is 280mm, the “bell” section is 75mm across and the hole in the centre is 48mm. Note the 3 mounting holes are in an asymmetrical arrangement.
If any one else should be interested in these brake backing plates, you can have them for £25 posted to the UK.

Image of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey background
Manta brake disc back plates - the “bell” section is 75mm across


Image of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey background
Manta brake disc back plates - the centre is 48mm

Image of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey backgroundImage of an Opel Manta brake disc back plate on a grey background
Manta brake disc back plates - some rusting at the centre

UPDATE:

14/06/2014 - Now Scrapped

It's great to meet up with readers of the Classic Opel Spares Blog; Dejan from Stockholm in Sweden was on a trip to London and had time to collect a few odds and ends he had spotted. He was mainly interested in a Factory Parts Book for the Opel Kadett C series that had been on offer for a while.
He also asked if I could let him see any miscellaneous or unidentified parts, so I made a "supermarket sweep" of my loft for a selection of unidentified parts that have been hanging around for years.

Image of 2 Opel Ascona A over riders on a grey background
Opel Ascona A over riders - part of a selection of unidentified parts

 When we met at my local train station with an oversized suitcase, I knew he meant business and wasn't another time waster.
We struck an equitable deal during coffee on the patio and enjoyed one of the finest sunny afternoons of the year so far. It was fascinating to hear about the classic car movement in Sweden, some of which were contrary to my expectations. These are:
  • Classic cars qualify for very low rates of road tax - only around £30 per year
  • The frozen Northern areas of the country are relatively dry and roads are not salted during the long winter months. This is the place to find a well preserved classic, but make sure you rust proof it before using it elsewhere!
  • The Swedes love big engined muscle cars
  • There are reputed to be more 57 Chevy's now in Sweden than in the USA
There is a good feature on the Swedish "Raggare" car subculture here who are a sort of Swedish version of Rockabilies.

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