15k: Cool Kitten: 1977 Manta Mirage

The Manta Mirage was a low volume car built in Costa Mesa, CA from 1974-1986 in the style of a McLaren M8 CanAm race car.  The Mirage was featured prominently in low budget Hollywood films in the day, first as one of the 48 cars stolen in HB Halicki’s 1974 Gone in 60 Seconds and went by the code name Annie and later in the 1975 Death Race 2000.  Find this 1977 Manta Mirage for sale in Santa Monica, CA currently bidding for $10,200 reserve-not-met with 3 days to go.

The Mirage is technically a kit car because Manta Cars supplied in parts to the customer and it was up to the buyer to use this assembly guide (from Mantacars.org) to build his Manta.  Power was usually a small block Chevy, but it was up to the buyer to assemble and figure out a way to register the beast.  This way the Manta could avoid all sorts of emissions requirements, crash tests and a myriad of other regulations concerning production vehicles as mandated by the Dept of Transportation.

This Mirage is powered by a Chevrolet 350 cubic inch small block V8 mounted behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels.  It should not be confused with VW flat-4 powered cars like the Fiberfab Aztec, as the Mirage tipped the scales at 1900 lbs and could be easily built with 400 horsepower.  Keeping it away from telephone polls and Police impound lots will be a constant battle.

The early Mirages used VW front suspensions (which is basically a nice way of saying the steering system from a Roman ox-cart), but later cars like this one had Mustang II rack-and-pinion setup.  The Mirage also used the rear suspension and transaxle from a Chevrolet Corvair as well as the tail lights from a Chevy Van.

The Manta Mirage only appeared for a few seconds on screen in the original Gone in 60 Seconds, but it was the only kit car in the film. 

A pair of Manta Mirages were used in the 1975 film Death Race
(…which was a big disappointment when the actual year 2000 rolled
around and were weren’t living in a Death Race world.  Granted, David
Carradine and Sylvester Stallone are psychopaths hell bent on the destruction of innocent lives, but the rest of Ib Jørgen Melchior’s vision of a dystopian future has not come to fruition.  You can watch the entire Death Race 2000 movie on youtube here.

See a better way to re-live your Death Race 2000 or Gone in 60 Seconds fantasies? tips@dailyturismo.com

Image credits; ebay, imcdb.org