It’s 1983 and ABC pumps out yet another cop/crime drama television series, this one staring a rouge judge Milton C. Hardcastle and a car thief turned vigilante agent Mark McCormick. The premise of Hardcastle and McCormick was fine enough, but suspenseful ’80s tracks and witty one-liners wouldn’t make the show a standout. What was needed was a hot hero car, and the Coyote fit the bill, and surly influenced thousands of kit car owners of that generation. 

The Coyote was nothing more than a Manta Montage in disguise, which was a loose copy of the McLaren M6GT. By removing the Manta's sloping rear glass and replacing it with a short, vertical rear windshield, the car's creator, Mike Fennel, built a radical sports car exotic enough a mainstream audience. Deep aluminum wheels shod in BDGoodrich rubber, heavily tinted headlight covers and signature COYOTE stripes down the side, finished off the look, creating a one-of-a-kind, eye-catching sports car.

Manta Coyote 4

It’s said that the original Coyote was based on Beetle suspension and powered by a Porsche 914 engine, which is a bit surprising based on the car’s throaty exhaust note during the show’s numerous chase scenes. Only the hottest racing versions of the 914/6’s 2.0-liter flat-six engine sing the sort of high-strung tune that Coyote did. The car also seems to handle quite well and as able to perform quick corners, J-turns and Dukes-of-Hazzard-caliber jumps. The latter was obviously all film magic, but like the General Lee, these stunts immortalized the car all the same.

But all good things must come to an end, and fans noticed discernable changes in the Coyote for seasons two and three. Judge Hardcastle, played by Brian Keith, had trouble getting into the Manta’s miniature cockpit, so a new Coyote was built on a DeLorean DMC-12. The new car was poorly proportioned, and downright ugly.

The original Manta Montage-based Coyote is the one fans remember, and this Manta on Craigslist is exactly what you need to recreate the best scenes from your second or third favorite ’80s T.V. show.

The car is a fairly standard Montage, except that the rear glass panel has already been modified and it rides on tube-frame chassis. It’s likely that this is one of the rare, factory-built tube chassis designed to accommodate V8 engines, which is what the seller had in mind for the build. The car also comes with the Coyote’s Centerline Champ 500 wheels, a wiring harness, windshield, gauges and other parts. For just $8,900, it’s doubtful you’ll find a better Montage to build, especially if you grew up watching this bang-up ’80s crime drama.

See the ad here on Omaha Craigslist.