Manta Cars was owned and operated by American brothers Brad and Tim LoVette, and was located in Costa Mesa, California, from 1974 to 1986 (Manta Cars moved their production facility and showroom to 2914 Halladay Avenue, Santa Ana, California around 1980). Manta produced the Manta Mirage, and 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 about 1,000 factory-built and component cars.
|Body and chassis|
|Engine||Chevrolet small-block V8|
|Transmission||Chevrolet Corvair transaxle|
|Wheelbase||96 in (2,438 mm)|
|Length||160 in (4,064 mm)|
|Width||75 in (1,905 mm)|
|Height||39 in (991 mm)|
|Curb weight||From 1,900 lb (862 kg) with engine|
The Manta Mirage was an American mid-engined vehicle produced by Manta Cars. The Mirage, originally referred to as just the "Manta", or the "Manta Can-Am", was a lightweight, road-legal racing car. The Mirage's steel space frame chassis was fitted with a high-output V8 engine and four-speed transaxle. Most Mirages were equipped with 327 cu in (5.36 l) or 350 cu in (5.7 l) Chevrolet small-block V8 engines, and several vehicles were fitted with 454 cu in (7.44 l) V8s sourced from Chevrolet, as well as 460 cu in (7.5 l) V8 engines sourced from Ford. 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, 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 lb (860 kg), the cars could be built by the factory or their owners to be extremely fast.
Despite common misconception, Manta Mirages do not appear in the 1975 movie Death Race 2000. If you look closely, the proportions and overall size are very different. These cars were a basic Canam style built on a VW pan and were built by the legendary Dick Dean.
A Manta Montage, modified by George Barris, was the car in the first season of the 1983 TV show Hardcastle and McCormick (disputed in the Hardcastle and McCormick article).
A Montage also appeared in the 1991 movie Highway To Hell.
A Manta is modified in the History Channels Counting Cars episode "Red, Hot and Dangerous".