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Thread: About Manta Cars

  1. #1
    Administrator Sulley's Avatar
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    About Manta Cars

    Manta Cars was founded by brothers Brad and Tim LoVette who were in Costa Mesa California. They built the Manta cars from 1974 to 1986.

    The Manta Mirage which was referred to as just the 'Manta', or the 'Manta Can-Am', was a light-weight road-legal race car, based on the McLaren M8 Can-Am race car of the 1970's. The Manta Mirage's steel space frame chassis was outfitted with typically a small block V8 engine and 4-speed transaxle. Most Mirages were equipped with 327 in³ (5.4 L) or 350 in³ (5.7 L) Chevrolet small block V8 engines, though some used 454 in³ (7.4 L) or 460 in³ (7.5 L) V8 engines. The original Mirage design mated the Chevy V8 to a Corvair transaxle via a Kelmark adapter and remote shifter. The bodywork was all hand-laid fiberglass, pre-colored in a range of gel-coat colors. Gull-wing doors were fitted to a removable top section, while the doors flip forward for entry. With curb weights as light as 1,900 lbs (680 kg), the cars could be built by the factory or their owners to be extremely fast.

    Manta Cars later produced other component kit cars, including the rear-engined Volkswagen Beetle-based Manta Montage and the mid-engined Montage-T, which had a custom space frame chassis and used GM X-body V6 drivetrains. The Montage-T recreated the elusive McLaren M6GT. A very accurate reproduction of the classic 1953 Corvette was to be added to their product line and although a prototype was built, Manta Cars ceased production in 1986, having sold somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 factory built and component cars. Manta Cars moved their production facility and showroom to 2914 Halladay Avenue, Santa Ana, California around 1980.

  2. #2
    Champion Member Manta22's Avatar
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    The Mirage prototype had its first public showing during a Can- Am race at Riverside Raceway in the Fall of 1973. Brad LoVette was crew chief of a Lola that crashed in practice and to make room on their trailer for the Lola, Brad pulled a cover off the car that had been sitting on that trailer and rolled it off on to the asphalt of the paddock area. Rumors had been circulating about a new "street McLaren" that was in the offing and the crowd that gathered around the Mirage was convinced that this was that new McLaren. Brad told the assembled multitude that it was his new kit car but few believed the story. Everyone was impressed by the prototype Mirage that afternoon.
    Regards, Neil Tucson, AZ

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    Of the approximate 1000 cars made, does anyone know the number of Montage and Montage T were made?

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    Champion Member Manta22's Avatar
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    Production Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by 76stratos View Post
    Of the approximate 1000 cars made, does anyone know the number of Montage and Montage T were made?
    I don't think that anyone knows that for sure. It would be interesting to find some records from Manta Cars that show the number of Mirages and Montages that they produced over the years.
    Regards, Neil Tucson, AZ

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    As a producer of serialized, register-able vehicles do you think Manta Cars was required to submit production information to their local government or maybe the Feds ? I wonder if they might still ave some documentation. I've always wondered what year my Manta was laid (serial #66).

  6. #6
    Champion Member Manta22's Avatar
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    Manta Cars

    Quote Originally Posted by MantaMan View Post
    As a producer of serialized, register-able vehicles do you think Manta Cars was required to submit production information to their local government or maybe the Feds ? I wonder if they might still ave some documentation. I've always wondered what year my Manta was laid (serial #66).
    No, since Manta Cars produced only the chassis & bodies without an engine, they were not considered to be a manufacturer. Therefore they did not need to crash test their vehicles, file paperwork, etc- only the usual stuff associated with doing business in CA.

    Regards, Neil Tucson, AZ
    Regards, Neil Tucson, AZ

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