By Dean Larson

If you’re a frequent follower of ReinCarNation web content, then you likely know that I have an acute appreciation for old Mantas. These cars had all the panache of 1970s race cars with a few hints of solid engineering with a healthy dose of sketchiness sprinkled in. Somewhere between the cartoon-ish body styling and the crude mechanicals, I find a nearly achieved vision for America’s homebuilt race car for the street. Any shortcomings aside, I appreciate Mantas and find aging examples on the market frequently that are perfectly viable project cars for affordable price. While the Manta Mirage is quite common on the market, it’s far less common to come across a Manta Montage, especially one with a V8 powerplant like this example on Craigslist.

I won’t say it’s the best-looking Montage I’ve seen. The wheels on the car are glorified trailer wheels, the doors are fiberglassed shut and the seller is up-front about a few necessary repair items, but the car is a complete V8 Montage in reasonable condition. The car is powered by a Chevrolet 350 small block that looks tidy in the photos, but apparently needs work to resolve an oil leak in one cylinder. The little SBC looks to be worth the effort though, with vintage-style Mickey Thompson valve covers, an Edelbrock dual-plane intake (likely an Air-Gap) and some nicely coated headers. Other than the sealed-up doors, the body looks to be in decent condition also.

If this is your first introduction to the Montage, you might not see the potential hiding in this old Manta. I’ll concede the 4x4 stance and shoddy photos aren’t helping, but this old relic is worth a second look. The Manta Montage replicated Bruce McLaren’s M6GT race car and was far less common than the Manta Mirage. Unfortunately, most Montages were based on VW running gear, which didn’t quite punctuate its streamlined bodywork. A few potent versions of the Montage were built with a tube chassis and GM V6 and V8 engines, but they are few and far between. With repairs to engine, doors, a fresh set of wheels, and improved suspension stance, this Montage could be one of the best.

If you’ve got a trailer and a spare $18,000, see the seller’s ad here on Albuquerque Craigslist.