The Opel Ascona was developed to as a competitor to the successful Ford mid-sized car, the Taunus. The Opel Ascona A stayed in production until 1975. By that time, almost 692,000 vehicles of the first series had been produced.
The range featured petrol engines from 1.2L to 1.9L, with power between 60PS (44kW) and 90PS (66kW). The 1.2L had an overhead valve(OHV) head, while the 1.6L and 1.9L featured a camshaft in head (CIH) type of engine. All used a single barrel carburetor. Even with this simple design, the Ascona 1.9 SR had a successful career in motorsports, with Walter Rohrl winning the European Rally Championship in 1974. Tuner Steinmetz developed a special version of the Ascona SR, with two single-barrel Solex carburettors, lifting power to 125PS (92kW).
In 1975, a small number of 2 door 1.9 L sedans were exported as the "Opel 1900" to the United States, sold through Buick dealerships as the Buick-Opel. All Opels sold in the US in 1975 were equipped with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, which was not available on the European versions. The fuel injection was added because of the more strict emissions requirements that were in force that year. Due to the unfavorable DMark/US Dollar exchange rate, after 1975, all Opels in Buick showrooms were replaced by Isuzu Gemini models wearing Opel badges.
- 1.2 S - 1196cc, 60PS (44kW)
- 1.6 N - 1584cc, 60-68PS (44-50kW)
- 1.6 S - 1584cc, 75-80PS (55-59kW)
- 1.9 S - 1897cc, 88-90PS (65-66kW)
The second generation Opel Ascona B was presented in the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was available as a two or four-door sedan. There were related two and three-door coupé models in the Opel Manta range. There was no estate body.
The Ascona B retained the same engine range as its predecessor, although the 1.9L was increased to 2.0L in 1978, and versions with higher compression ratio and needing 98 octane gas, dubbed S, were available alongside the 90 octane models. The 2.0 E model had a Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, and a 2.0L diesel motor was added to the Ascona B range in 1978.