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Buy / Drive / Write: Captive Import in the Mid 70’s

Today’s 70’s captive import trio is suggestion Comment by MRF95T-Bird. He wants to see which of Manta, Capri, and Arrow justifies the purchase in the Nightmare Era. Today we have two model years, 1975 and 1976.

Ford Capri

Capri will be the fifth model year in the North American market after Ford began importing German-made European market coupes in 1970. In 1976, the new hatchback style and Capri II, which is more sophisticated than its predecessor, will be introduced. Engines available this year include the 2.3-liter OHC in-line 4-cylinder and the 2.8-liter Cologne V6, paired with either a 4-speed manual or a 3-speed auto. Today’s choice is a 2.8V6 (105hp) with a 4-speed manual. Rumor has it that Capri will not last long in the North American market as sales continue to decline.

Opel Manta

General Motors has been distributing carefully selected German Opel models through Buick dealers since 1956. Manta rays and Ascona A have been available since 1971, the latter wearing 1900 badges domestically. The manta rays are two coupes, with 1.9 liter in-line 4-cylinders used in all examples, producing 105 horsepower. Two transmissions are available. 4-speed manual or 3-speed auto (today’s choice). The new product in 1975 is the Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system in all cases. 1975 is the last year for Manta Rays in North America. Due to the rise in exchange rates, GM has imported Isuzu Gemini and called it Isuzu’s Opel.

Plymouth Arrow

1976 is the year of Plymouth Arrow’s debut in North America. Dodge imports a hatchback as another entry into its captive Colt lineup, and enthusiasts know it’s actually a Mitsubishi Lancer. Two engines are offered, a 1.6-liter in-line 4-cylinder, or an optional larger 2.0-liter I4. The transmission speed is 4-5 for manual and 3 for automatic. 2.0 liters is our engine selection today, delivering 100 horsepower through a 5-speed manual.

Three doors that are fun to drive and two doors that are economical, which one will return to the double-decker garage?

Any suggestions for future editions of Buy / Drive / Burn? Please leave it in the comments!

[Images: GM, Ford, Dodge]

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Buy / Drive / Write: Captive Import in the Mid 70's

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