Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Build-Ready: 1979 Manta Montage Coyote

I absolutely love the ambition of kit builders of the past. Literally, anything could be made, from little British-style roadsters to full-on racing replicas. Clearly, Brad and Tim Lovette had the same thoughts and they formed the company, Manta in the mid-1970s to build the Mirage and Montage. These are clear replicas of the Mclaren M6GT, a famous racer in its day. If you want a rare kit, that you would like to build in your own way, this is your chance to do just that. Our Manta Montage Coyote comes at us from Upland, California, and is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds.

Originally Manta made two cars – the factory-built Mirage, and the homebuilt VW Beetle-based Montage which is what we have here. The facility was based in California and they built cars all the way up until 1986 after having built almost 1000 units. Our seller has left most of the designs in the hands of the next builder but does provide some direction in terms of possible powertrains. Usefully the VW Beetle engine is gone, and there are 2 Subaru engines available to fit, one of which is the 2.0l turbo with a 5-speed manual. This can all be placed in the tubular factory-provided space frame chassis, with a huge array of parts included in the sale.

Some of those parts include some hard-to-find originals. The windscreen, which is said to be extremely difficult to find is there, and in good shape. It comes with bucket seats which are original plus the original very large wheels and tires. There is no title, so the next seller has to contend with getting this registered, but it does mean you can do whatever you want to the car. The original Mirage versions came with Chevrolet Small Block V8s, so there is ample room to squeeze one of these in too.

So how would you customize this to your liking? Would you try to squeeze a V8 into the lightweight (under 1000kg) car? Or would you try and go for something bigger like a V10 or even a V12 to make it a real street monster? You could even convert it to EV for stealth acceleration and a lot of shocked looks from folks at your next car meet. The only limitation to this car is your imagination, and how deep your pockets are – so what would you do to the Manta?


  1. Avatar photo Grant

    EV? Hell yes, why not? It would faster than anything IC you could put in it. Quiet and world friendly too. Mixing the present with the past is a great idea. I am not sure why people get so cranky about putting EV into old cars. People have been putting V8s into Model Ts for years without a huge cry for the peanut gallery.

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo TheGasHole

      Love the idea. 2.3 Ecobost would be awesome in this

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo ROBERT

    The car is available on EBAY at https://www.ebay.com/itm/255671036148

    Bid Soon and Bid Often, selling to the high bidder!!!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Howie

      Not if reserve is met.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo JMB#7

      3 days left, $14,900 reserve not met. 35 bids.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo SubGothius

    Basis of the Coty Coyote X featured in the TV show Hardcastle & McCormick

    Like 21
  4. Avatar photo Lowell Peterson

    Will Ev ultimately be looked back on as environmentally virulent? Because of the lithium and the costs of charging and disposal etc. Astronomical repair costs, parts shortages, uhhh……

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo SubGothius

      OTOH, EV powertrains generally require far less maintenance/repair than ICE powertrains — far fewer moving parts, generating far less heat and vibration, no fluids to manage (fuel, cooling, lubrication), etc. — and a DIY EV conversion would use “off the shelf” commodity components where anything that fails could be replaced with a comparable unit if the original model became unavailable.

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Roland Schoenke

      What high repair costs, the ev motor has one moving part, requires no oil changes, tune-ups, coolant changes etc… and because of regenerative braking, not even a brake change. The new tesla batteries in the model 3s no longer use cobalt etc.. so they are cleaner ( especially compared to pumping oil ) and where I live , we have hydro power so now carbon foot print in the charging either.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo RC Graham

      Will wind turbines be looked at as the Cuisinarts of of rare birds (and well, anything that flies) is a good question, too.

      How about; anything the government touches turns to ka-ka?

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Gary

      You will never replace fossil fuels with electricity, it is just not feasible, at least at this time. The costs (15-20k for a battery?)environmental damage from mining, the battery disposal, etc .

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Roland Schoenke

        If you look at the amount of parts and fluids that get changed in the lifetime of an ice car it adds up to significant environmental problems. Also new ev batteries no longer require the use of cobalt etc… just lithium and despite the name lithium batteries use very little and almost entirely recyclable.

        Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Slomoogee

    To me Subie power is the way to go on this one. Reliable and well balanced. Would make an interesting road car that could be a early morning take the back way to work car.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Jay McCarthy

      I agree with your choice good amount of horsepower and you’re not too tail happy

      Like 2
  6. Avatar photo J R Jones

    In the current configuration this is a 1900-2000lb car, with unique (these days) handling. As a V8 this would be a 2300lb car and likely a handling nightmare with inadequate chassis and brakes. As an EV this would be a 2600-2700lb car and a nightmare in anything beyond a straight line.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo chrlsful

      depends on placement.
      I can see an ev 4WD w/batteries dwn the center like the lotus double wishbone – the batteries between ‘the bones” (in ‘the tunnel’).

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo J R Jones

        This car is also listed on ebay. The design is a narrow cockpit between large side pods that were McClaren fuel cells. Not much space between the seats. The car is also low. 600lbs of batteries plus passengers do not fit under the roof. Smaller batteries everywhere with wiring and cooling plumbing?

        Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Howie

    I have always liked these, it does need lots of work, i hope it sells.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo chrlsful

    nother needing more than just section views. Needa full view
    (further back) to geta sense of the lines.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo JMB#7

    oh what the heck. I will put a target on my back and say it. Put a rotary in it..!!! The Manta designs were some of the best looking on the kit market. It seems that they designed it the way they wanted to without trying too hard to be a replica. Always wanted on, but I am older than that now.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Robert

      My Grandpa put a ported rotary in a montage decades ago and won best in show at the AutoRama in Iowa, I believe it was ‘83 but am not positive, would have to check the trophy. He was approached at one point by Manta to assemble their kits on VW chassis and build rotaries for it to sell as complete cars as he had a reputation for building rotary motors for dirt track racing and the Mazda race team at that time. I wish I could track down his show car as he sold it not long after winning. He has recently passed and I would love to find it using his old license plate from TX

      Like 1
  10. Avatar photo JMB#7

    Bidding ended at $14,900. Does not say anything about reserve, so I guess it sold. Would like to hear more about what it evolves into.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.