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Supercar Kit Project! 1978 Manta Mirage

The Mirage was a mid-engine V8 kit car built by Manta Cars in the 1970s and 1980s. It was considered a street-legal road racer (aka “supercar”) and was vastly different than the VW-powered kits of the era. This one is a work-in-progress that has no engine or transmission. It’s ready for someone to pick up the pieces and take it across the finish line. From a garage in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, this interesting find has been bid to $7,600 and is available here on eBay.

Manta Cars was started in California by two brothers and was in business from 1974 to 1986. The Mirage was one of several kit cars that they developed which added up to about 1,000 vehicles in total. Unlike other fiberglass-bodied kits, this one had the engine placed mid-ship rather than in the back. V8 engines were sourced from Chevrolet and Ford and varied from 327 to 460 cubic inches. Most had a 4-speed manual transaxle but some had automatics as well and this one is said to have been one of them. These cars wore gull-wing doors that would flip forward when opened. At less than 2,000 lbs., these babies could really fly!

The seller provides a bunch of photos of the body, chassis, and assorted parts and pieces. So other than the power train, perhaps everything is there to proceed towards completion. The seller is unsure of the year this Mirage was built but 1978 seems to be the consensus. The fiberglass is said to be in good condition, and it may take little to get the body ready for painting. An interesting project, but would this be your cup of tea?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Steven Baker

    Manta also made the hardcastle and McCormick “Coyote x” too. Though that one started out life as a Manta Montage, which is a better looking car. With a little imagination and skill the mirage could be pretty cool too. Even for a kit. But I don’t have a place to finish it up.So hard pass

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Reid McQueen

      Hey from NC I’m the owner seller offing a 1989 coyote gpp manta Ray….
      In near perfect condition..$47,000 or Best offer

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Jesse Mortensen Staff

        Send it in and we will auction it for you!

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Bobby Jones

        Do you have photos of the manya

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Steven Peruch

      Did it sell or is it still available?

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Jerry Bramlett

    “… So other than the power train, perhaps everything is there to proceed towards completion.” No. So much is missing that I’m not even going to list it all.

    I doubt this vehicle was ever a running car. Looks like somebody just bought a body kit with interior and frame rails and never got very serious about assembly. It would take some massive talent to finish this project… as well as a tall stack of money. I’m out.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Reid Carroll

      I have one ready to go completely restored
      I’ll take 35,000

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Jerry Bramlett

        What transaxle do you have in your car? Is it one that will fit this chassis without modification?

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Robert E Luft

        please send info 520-354-0636

        Like 0
  3. Avatar photo CATHOUSE

    They redid one of these cars on the Counting Cars tv show. It was done and then shown at the SEMA show in the Borla booth.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bill McBain

      That was a Kellison. I always wanted to build one of these. I have a beautiful finished Kellison though. I think I am not up for this much project now.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo CATHOUSE

        The Kellison was a different episode and season. As I recall the Manta came a season after the Kellison. Both cars were displayed at the Borla booth at SEMA, just different years.

        Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Danno

    Man, I wanted one of these *so* badly as a kid. I think it’d still be a blast to rip around town in one, but if I was going to chase down a supercar “kit” these days, would likely turn to Ultima out of the UK.
    Great find, thanks for posting.

    Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Russ Ashley

    It would be fun to build it as a fast but fun driver with an SBC motor, 700R4, and of course, wide mag wheels. Shiny red paint with some racing strips and then drive it. It looks from the pictures that it could be an all weather driver but would be more fun to drive it open. The auction has about 20 more minutes so maybe someone will get it and it will be completed to a high level, and someone will have fun with it. Good luck to the buyer and the seller.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Allen L

      I believe you need a transaxle in one of these, so no to the 700R4.
      The design of these mimics the McLaren Trojan M6GT coupe, with a bit of M8A as well.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Russ Ashley

        I wonder about that to, but being a mid engine vehicle I though maybe it was set up to run a more common tranny. It’s sold to be a home assembled mid-engine performance kit car, and a strong transaxle to go behind a v8 is not too readily available. Maybe the best idea would be to find an Olds Toronado or Cad Eldorado engine/tranny combo, but fitting one of those in it might not be considered a home capability..

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Danno

        My recollection is that a ZF transaxle, like was used in the Pantera, was the recommended shifter.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo douglas hunt

        yes, most were setup with corvair transaxles behind small block chevy’s.
        ZF from a Pantera would be an expensive option, as would be the Mendeola transaxle and the Porsche G50 as well

        Like 2
  6. Avatar photo jimmie roan

    manta still has a website with links to other owners and a few parts still available. lots of info on the internet and youtube for anyone wanting to build one. i’ve wanted one since i saw my first one many years back but now that i can afford im too old to build one. as for a transaxle strong enough there are a few options, the corvair that is used in some is pretty strong, same insides as some of the big cars, there is one company and i can’t think of the name that makes a complete rolling chassis to bolt the body on, you can find him on youtube, very high quality chassis even for racing.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Phillip Gracen Presley

    Does anyone know if this car has been sold yet?

    Like 0

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