1979 Ardent Sentinel (Mk.3) Sport DL
1979 brought the 3rd iteration of Ardent’s Sentinel line, with the whole series moving a little upscale. Long gone were any truly “Sporty” options; the Oil Crisis and emissions implementation drove numerous nails in that particular coffin, with the final nail being conversion of the entire platform to front wheel drive with this redesign. Thus the “Sport” moniker referenced the body style, which was a 3-door hatchback. Sentinel was also available as a 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon.
Overall, the Sentinel line was a good one, if not wholely inspiring. Some of the mid-range “DL” offerings were a little less popular than others, however. The Sport DL with the 5-speed manual was one such example.
Unfortunately, Ardent didn’t fit it’s highest-level manual transmissions with the Eridani Type 1 V6 engines, instead opting for the sorely underpowered Cygnus Type 2 1.8 liter four cylinder. Pushrods and a 2-barrel carb didn’t exactly inspire any semblance of performance, especially with the automatic transmission (though, for inexplicable reasons, more DL autos were sold than DL manuals)
Interior options fell far short of the more interesting GL models, and Base trims sold better due to an aggressive price point. Improvements such as a standard in-dash quartz clock, two-tone paint, and full cloth seating just didn’t attract the buyers to this particular trim.
Sentinel DLs could be had with a manual transmission up through the end of 1983. A bit of a shame, as 1984 saw the introduction of the brand new Cygnus 3 “Mite” series engine, displacing 2.3 liters and equipped with overhead camshafts, replacing the aging 1.8. If nothing else, that ended up being a boon for automatic/4-cylinder Sentinels. The 2.3 and the manual could also be configured together starting in '84 but only in bargain budget Base trim.