Expensive, But Orange: 1985 Manta Mirage
If you don’t know what a Manta is then you are a terrible waste of carbon based life and I don’t want to be your friend…whoa, whoa, whoa…wait up. That’s not right. Let’s start over, if you don’t know what a Manta is, then you need to get up to speed and learn about the Costa Mesa California based brothers Bran and Tim LoVette who built kit cars that started as Beetle-based kits with styling evocing the vintage McLaren M6GT racers and evolved into mid-engine Corvette powered things with a custom space frame that had sub 2000 lb curb weights and horsepower to spare. Today’s Mirage is one of the later cars where you’ll want up-to-date life insurance policy and strong desire to have your picture taken by every yahoo with a camera phone in the state. Find this 1985 Manta Mirage offered for $32,800 in Scottsdale, AZ via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
From the seller:
1985 Manta Mirage
cylinders: 8 cylinders
paint color: orange
title status: rebuilt
1985 Manta Mirage. Freshened from long-term storage from a museum in MO. STRONG 400 C.I. Chevy with Smokey Yunick intake manifold. Full MSD ignition system. Holley 800 just rebuilt. Corvair 4-Speed. Shifts great. Insulated headers. Aluminum Radiator and 16″ fan. Airbag Mustang II front end with 5-lug Chevy S-10 rotors and new disc brake calipers. Excellent Lamborghiini Orange Pearl paint with very few imperfections. Really nice interior. 4-point harnesses. Brand new AC/Heat unit. All new componants. Rearview/Back-up Camera. All gauges and electrics function as they should. 19″ and 20″ Prowler wheels with new tires. Upper doors included. Perfect glass. New, updated front clip. Very nice driver. Solid throughout. Located in Phoenix, Az. Az title will be provided. Priced at $32,800 (pretty firm). Not another one equipped like this, and ready to enjoy. Please contact me with any questions. Thank you..
See a better way to drive something that costs as much as a well equipped new Civic? firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t know, I think I need something a bit more flamboyant. And preferably with more vents and toggle switches. At least it’s infotainment equipped!
And it lost me for a minute talking about an airbag from a Mustang II… until I realized it was suspension-related.
I wonder why the ad doesn’t mention that it can levitate. Seems like a neat feature.
It always bothered me how you’d see these flamboyant looking kit cars that did everything they could to emulate a Euro exotic, only to put in a cheap set of truck brake lights that only barely meet Pep Boys’ standards………
Have you ever seen what’s on the back of a real Countach? They are barely harbor freight worthy.
…let alone try to get into/out of a Countach, or actually drive it. For anyone over 5’6″, or 130 lbs, it can be a miserable experience.
If you’re a successful petite contortionist in the circus, though, it’s perfect.
-Stan (who was never that good at putting both of his legs behind his head, and then walking quickly…)
Love the cockpit. Great use of 70’s Can-Am style toggles and rocker switches. No sarcasm at all– this is what racers used when their cars were first starting to go over 200 mph on straights. They’re easy to see, and tactile. Very cool.
I’ve owned both a high HP Mirage (built by a Indy car designer, it was his daily driver), and a Manta Montage (an electric car, built in the 1980s). Both were a blast to drive. And easy to work on, if you happened to be the original builder (I wasn’t 🤔 )
Rumor has it that Jason Momoa is the current owner of my Mirage. If anyone sees pics of him driving on, please post them here or let me know. Jason’s a car guy, I’d be delighted if he was the new caretaker.
-Stan (who has been slowly whittling down his car collection, sold 3 last year, 2 the year before, and the 2 Mantas in 2020). Still have the 1988 Mera…that’s going to get sold later this year.
The website is no longer around, but according to the hard-core Mantaphiles, the Mirage is based on actual measurements taken off a M8 (these guys even documented the exact M8 that was measured, since they knew the owner). The Lovettes changed the design, adding a cowl over the cockpit and rear C pillar.
The Manta Montage was done with measurements off Bruce’s M6GT, after his death, when it was being shipped back to Denny Hulme in NZ and stopped off briefly in LA on its way from England. The Lovette brother’s fiberglas shop was right next to the Mclaren shop, and the Lovette brothers often did ‘glas work for them. When Bruce died at Goodwood, the development of the M6GT stopped, so that’s why Mclaren allowed the Lovettes to take measurements off the actual Mclaren cars, and produce replicas.
For guys like me, who are enormous Can Am and Mclaren fans, this was a heckuva gift.
-Stan (the *other* Stan…)
PS Google “Manta Montage” and “Mclaren M6GT”. They are virtually identical (headlights and taillights are different).