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Stunning 1970 Manta Montage

Two brothers named LoVette owned and operated Manta Cars from 1974-86 which was known for at least three models of kit and component automobiles. The Manta Montage was based on a VW Beetle chassis and drivetrain but looked like a race car (and was sexy!). This one was recently repainted in Corvette Red and given a full tune-up, and we’re told it runs and drives great. Located in Panama City Beach, Florida, this weekend attention grabber is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $18,000.

Brad and Tim LoVette set up shop in Southern California in the mid-’70s and would build about 1,000 kit cars over the next dozen years. These cars were not solely dependent on VW hardware for their underpinnings, such as the Montage-T which was a tribute to the McLaren M6GT and had a custom space frame chassis and used GM X-body V6 drivetrains. The bodywork on the Manta cars, including the Montage, was all hand-laid fiberglass, colored in a range of get-coat finishes. Gull-wing doors were fitted to a removable top section, while they would flip forward for entry and exit. These cars usually weighed under 2,000 lbs., making them quite nimble. It’s been argued that a Manta Montage, modified by George Barris, was used in the first season of the 1983 TV show Hardcastle and McCormick.

The seller tells us that only about 200 Manta cars are still registered in the world, which would add to the rarity of this beautiful survivor. It’s powered by a rear-mounted 1600cc dual-port VW engine with a great sounding exhaust and a 4-speed manual transmission. The mileage is indicated as 3,000 with no commentary, so we don’t know if that’s actual miles after more than 50 years. The interior looks good, and the car presents a lot better than many kit cars do. The seller has provided a walkaround video clip to help highlight the car.

Since so few of these autos exist, it makes sense that they don’t show up for sale very often. We covered one of these here on Barn Finds a couple of years ago and it was a project car rather than a well-kept cruiser like this one. That car was going for $12,000 and was going to need a lot of work (though it has a V8 engine), whereas this is a turnkey machine that might be had for 50% more. A car that you could show right away rather than after months of toil.


  1. Avatar photo DayDreamBeliever

    Far better finished than most which have surfaced in the last decade. And a driver too.
    But a car with a body like this one screams for more power and a mid-engine setup.
    Really nice for what it is, but sure has the appearance of a speedy supercar, and obviously can’t deliver.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Travis Hoover

      People suprise me when talking VW engines. VW is mother ship to Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche and Bugatti. Pretty sure they can put out a good motor.

      Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Mike W_H_ Member

    Not sure if this had a 600 hp V8 in it that it wouldn’t tear itself to smithereens at around 88 mph.

    With a built V-dub motor and raspy exhaust you would have a good looking quasi go-cart and Cars n Coffee cruiser.

    Key is an excellent mechanic and those guys aren’t everywhere.
    Looks fun!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Brian Member

      I agree. This could be a fun little car. If you’ve ever heard a built VW engine, it sounds anything but anemic. The one in this listing is far from built but big bore kits and great inductions are readily available.

      Like 7
  3. Avatar photo Will Fox

    “Stunning”? Who comes up with these adjectives?! It’s a plastic kit car with a VW Beetle engine!! These got laughed at back in the `70s. Looks cool, until you hear that air-cooled VW motor clutter to life…

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Cristiana

      Even just parked, it’s got “Kit Car” written all over it! Then the engine sound would seal the deal! 😛

      Like 3
  4. Avatar photo michael h streuly

    Just a glorified VDUB. I would not be caught dead driving that thing.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Al

      Whew! Thought it was just me LOL!

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo michael h streuly

    Glorified piece of S**T VDUB. not stunning not cool. The best thing you could do is light it on fire and watch it burn.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Mike

    I guess if you are of a certain age and used to watch Hardcastle and McCormick you would like this car as I do. If I bought it I would swap in a Corvair 140HP engine and enjoy it.

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo Daniel Wright

    I am 43 and even at 160 pounds I would not be able to get in and out of this thing.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo joenywf64

    I wonder if any production car ever got 1 piece/continuous padding type concept car seats this kit car has.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Martin

    Air cooled flat fours are uncommon enough now to command attention, and with a few scat parts this car would go quite well and be a lot of fun. Obviously some bidders agree.

    Like 13
  10. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    I’d lose that silly wing..drop in a nice 1776 VW motor and enjoy a very nice, exotic looking , reliable VW Special. Its not a bogus Speedster or Spyder posing as a Porsche but its its own special..and I like it!

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Quidditas

      No need for a V8. Simply switch to throttle body injection and a turbo.

      Kits still available.

      Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Gerard Frederick

    Some comments here are downright nasty. Why? How can one hate an inanimate object with such intensity? I think it is a great looking machine, dropping in a Porsche 911 6 cylinder would do wonders, but even as is, it´s a gas! I wish the buyer all the luck and have a groovy day cruising around.

    Like 23
    • Avatar photo Jimmy Novak

      Attempts at bonding from some desperate to always appear “cool”?

      Like 1
  12. Avatar photo PairsNPaint

    These were always some of the best looking kits available, much better looking than the Bradley GT. If I could fit in it, I’d buy it! Might be a bit claustrophobic with such narrow seats (note how the inner “bolsters” are the center tunnel). Love the overall execution of the build. I always liked the design of these even down to the Chevy Monza taillights. Lose the wing and lower it so the tires match the wheelwells. A 1776 or 1835 cc mill with dual Webers would make this fly! I always wondered where they sourced the windshield, tho.

    Like 7
  13. Avatar photo Frank

    A McLaren replica should be orange with a big block. Manta has a small following and a few owners have taken their Manta’s to the limit making them look handle and perform like the M6. Love the Induction stacks and wild exhaust system. Actually this is a good deal if you look at pricing for this type of a kit car from Factory Five. You have tinkeritis this is a fun project!

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Frank

    Raise your hand if you like the rear jacked up on a road racing type vehicle.

    Absolutely Wrong!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Howie Mueler

      Yes i was going to say the same thing, even the front sits too high, look at all that room in the wheel wells. My back hurts just looking at those seats.

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Mark

    Looks like the Coyote on Hardcastle & McCormick. Pretty cool but needs a V8. I guess even a small block Chevy would be better that the VW motor. The VW motors hopped up are pretty cool

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Jimmy Novak

    Attempts at bonding from some desperate to always appear “cool”?

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Ward William

    This is just crying out for a Subi upgrade.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo DayDreamBeliever

      The bigger VW or Corvair, or air-cooled Porsche swaps would be easier than switching to a motor which needs a radiator and associated coolant-carrying bits.
      But the Subaru is a great package.

      Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    Once air cooled..always air cooled for me..Easy to get over 100 bhp out of a VW motor to make this a real fun ride..

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo pacekid

    One man’s food is another man’s poison.

    I have not seen a car create so much divisiveness ever on this site. Let’s just say it is.

    Different strokes for different folks! No haters and let’s all us car guys just get along.

    Like 2
  20. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    Could not agree more. I dont like many so called “kit cars” and have a serious problem with folks slapping Porsche badges on VW based ” Speedsters”. To me this falls into another category. It is quite unique..not posing as something it isn t. I would probably lower it, lose the wing and change the wheels down the road..but I’d be proud to drive this true ” VW Special”. If you dont like it fine..folks have mocked many of the cars I have owned over the year..now they cry to see what they are worth!

    Like 2
  21. Avatar photo Victor Anderson

    Looks like it sold for over $23,000 — seems like a lot. About the only thing I would want it for would be to get rid of vw motor and put in suburu motor (probably the cheapest route) — but what it needs is different chassis with a mid-mounted V8 — so only thing you’d save would be body lol. Just not worth it for the money.

    Like 0

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