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						Manta Montage2
350-Powered Manta Montage

V8-powered Manta Montage on Craigslist

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

A good kit car really ought to do a few key things. First of all, it’s gotta be fun to drive, because that’s the whole point right? Secondly it has to be something you can build (or rebuild/maintain in this case) at home in your garage without going broke, so the availability of spares is something to keep in mind. But most importantly, a good kit car has to have super car panache — something the neighbors see roll out of your garage and question how well they really knew you. Not every kit car from the 1970s satisfies this list, but the Manta sure does.

Opened by brothers Brad and Tim LoVette in 1974, Manta Cars operated in Costa Mesa and Santa Ana California until 1986, having built around 1,000 kit cars and turnkey vehicles. Manta had two main production models, the Mirage and Montage, sometimes referred to as the Can-Am and McLaren respectively. The Mirage mirrored exotic looking Can-Am race cars of the 1970s, and was built on a steel tubular chassis and most often completed with Chevrolet small-block engines mated to a Corvair transaxle with a special adaptor. The Mirage sold well and was also seen on the big screen in the 1974 film Gone in 60 Seconds.

Manta’s Montage was no less exotic in appearance, having taken its shape from the rare McLaren M6GT Can-Am car. An affordable version of the Montage was designed on a VW air-cooled pan, while the Montage-T used a tubular spaceframe chassis. The Montage made its largest contribution to pop culture in the first season of the 1983 TV show Hardcastle and McCormick.

It’s a treat to find any Montage in reasonable condition today, but it’s the V8-powered cars that really get our gears spinning, and this small-block Chevy powered Montage project car on Los Angeles Craigslist is just about perfect in our eyes. It’s clear the builder was a meticulous fellow, evidenced by the thorough build quality and sanitary condition of the chassis and mechanicals. It’s powered by a 350 SBC topped by exotic Weber 48IDA carburetors and backed by a Porsche transaxle. The owner cites that all the components are either brand new or rebuilt.

The exterior of the car isn’t quite complete yet, but there’s no denying that this one has the right look. it appears that the headlights need to be finished, but they're looking rad already. Also, who would have guessed that gold daisy mags could look so good on an exotic?

The owner writes that the car runs and drives, and he’s asking $22,000 for it here on Los Angeles Craigslist. On average, finished Manta Montages get near the upper $20,000s, which means this car is priced quite reasonably in my humble opinion.

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