The Opel Ascona A debuted at the Turin Salon in 1970. It was positioned between the Kadett and the Rekord, targeting a growing customer segment. By March 1975, some 691,438 units of the Ascona A were built.
The chassis, suspension and drive train technology of the Opel Ascona and Manta were identical. The front axle had independently suspended wheels with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers; the rigid rear axle was controlled by two trailing arms and a Panhard rod. The Ascona was available as a 2- and 4-door sedan in standard and luxury versions. It had a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 68 hp as well as a higher-compression S-version with 80 hp. Like the larger four-cylinder engines of the Rekord, the Ascona powertrain also had a camshaft arranged laterally in the cylinder head, known as “camshaft in head.” A low-cost entry-level model was introduced with the launch of the 60 hp 1.2-liter engine in March 1972.
The pioneer of all lifestyle station wagons, the innovative Opel Ascona Voyage was a widely acclaimed addition to Opel’s model line-up. The two-door caravan version was not a classical station wagon, but a leisure-time vehicle with space for a rubber boat or bicycles: It was a car for young families. “These days, the desire to travel, go camping, participate in sports – especially transport-dependent hobbies like water sports – all demand a passenger car with generous space and transport capacities. But no sacrifices will be made in passenger car comfort. The car we have built to meet these needs is called the Ascona Voyage,” declared the press materials. The Ascona Voyage was only offered originally as an L version; the range first expanded in 1974 by a less luxurious caravan version.
Ascona SR – The stuff of winners
The Opel Ascona 1.9 S and the Ascona SR were introduced in spring 1971. The SR version came with an 80 hp 1.6-liter S engine or a 90 hp 1.9-liter unit. The two more powerful versions could be ordered with a three-gear automatic transmission as an optional extra. The SR equipment was also available for the Voyage – a novelty for the station wagon segment. In the sedan, it illustrated the sporty potential of the Ascona.