Ardent Sentinel Mk.3
1979 - 1990
1979 Sentinel advertisement. Model shown in Copper Cream.
Almost immediately after the launch of the Mark 2 Sentinel, Ardent CEO Charles Bergman ordered a complete redesign. While it was a decent base model, it fell short of Bergman’s design and sales expectations at the time. Much of the blame lay in the Sentinel’s archaic design. Bergman realized, albeit too late, that a thoroughly modern model was going to be the key to is company’s success.
With the retirement of Charles Bergman in early 1978, the third iteration of the Sentinel became the first model under new CEO Matthew Seldon’s watch.
The new Sentinel lacked, for the most part, the performance punch that was a hallmark of earlier generations. The standard 2.0 liter engine put out 76 horsepower, which was functional for motivation, but not much else. A single trim in the home markets had a V6 option, the 3.6 GL. At 127 horses and with 172 ft-lbs of torque, this single trim had some punch to it, even though it was nearly exclusively mated to an automatic transmission (With the exception of the 1988 model year. See below). This also marked the switch of the Sentinel platform to front-wheel drive.
1979 Sentinel 3.6 GL sedan in Toreador Red Metallic
The Sentinel was available in three body styles: a 5-door wagon, 3 door hatchback, and 4-door sedan. Each style was available in three trims: Sport, DL, and GL. The Sport model was designed to compete fiercely in the entry level compact segment, in which there was explosive growth. The two higher trims were upsells, with the fully loaded 3.6 GL aimed at sporty imports.
Sport trim appointments included full vinyl seating surfaces, wall to wall carpeting, an AM radio, and an in-dash clock. Upgrades in the DL included a tachometer, cloth-faced vinyl seating, and a 2-speaker AM/FM radio. The final step up to the GL added full-cloth seating, power steering, and power windows. The 3.6 GL also received alloy wheels and an automatic transmission, the latter of which was optional on all other trims.
The Sentinel Sport Hatchback was Ardent’s price leader at the time of launch, and sold quite strongly. This 1979 is shown in Sunshine Yellow.
For the Export market, all models were powered by an Aurora 2.0 liter single-cam engine. Alloy wheels were standard on the GL, but otherwise equipment was identical to their equivalent North American models.
Seldon set an aggressive marketing and sales campaign on the Sentinel, and it ended up being one of Ardent’s major anchors during the tumultuous 80’s.
1979 Ardent Sentinel DL wagon in Dark Sandstone
A mild redesign occurred in 1986, changing a few exterior details and bringing the interior up to more modern standards. Toward the latter half of the decade, a single-year special edition would be released. The 1988 “Silver Sentinel” commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Sentinel model. This special package hearkened back to the original GT model, and was available in all 3 body styles, based on the GL trim. All Silver Sentinels were of a metallic color, except for two high-impact clearcoats (Sunshine Yellow and Florida Orange), and had wheel trim paint matching their body color. Each was powered by a brand new 3.2 liter Eridani Type 2 V6, and were equipped with an exclusive Antilock Braking System. This new twin-cam motor put out 169 horses, and could be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission. The 3.2 liter was only available on the Silver Sentinel package in '88, but replaced the aging 3.6 liter V6 as the optional GL engine for the final two years of this generation’s production run. ABS also became optional on the GL in '89 as a carryover from the anniversary model.
1988 Ardent Silver Sentinel in Florida Orange
Trim pricing in 1979:
Sport Hatchback, MSRP $2849
Sport Sedan or Wagon, MSRP $2899
DL Hatchback, MSRP $2999
DL Sedan or Wagon, MSRP $3049
GL Hatchback, MSRP $3599
GL Sedan or Wagon, MSRP $3649
3.6 GL (all bodies), MSRP $4199
Automatic transmission (exc. 3.6 GL) - $270
Power steering (DL only) - $175
Air conditioning (not avail. Sport) - $250
Alloy wheels (USDM 2.0 GL only) - $150
Sport graphics package - $90
Metallic paint (DL or GL only) - $190
Silver Sentinel package (1988 GL only) - $650
Antilock Brakes (1989+ GL only) - $300
Ink Black (Except Sport)
Cherry Red (Except Wagon)
Copper Cream (1979-1982)
Sunshine Yellow (Sport, Silver Sentinel only)
Florida Orange (1983+ Sport, Silver Sentinel only)
Pewter Silver (Except Sport)
Dark Sandstone (1979-1984, Except Sport and Hatchback)
Fir Green (1979-1983, Excl. Sedan)
Gulf Blue Metallic
Toreador Red Metallic
Shock Green Metallic (Except Wagon)
Glacier Ice Metallic (Except Hatchback)
Milk Chocolate Metallic (1979-1983, Excl. Sedan)
Avocado Metallic (1979-1983)
Fir Green Metallic (1984+)