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1976 Manta Mirage : Classic Cars

The Manta Mirage was a mid-engined vehicle produced by Manta Cars, owned by brothers Brad and Tim LoVette, in Costa Mesa, California* from 1974 to 1986. The Mirage, originally referred to as just the 'Manta', or the 'Manta Can-Am', was a light-weight road-legal car, based loosely on the McLaren M8 Can-Am racing car. The Mirage's steel space frame chassis was fitted with a high-output V8 engine and 4-speed transaxle. Most Mirages were equipped with 327 in³ (5.4 L) or 350 in³ (5.7 L) Chevrolet small block V8 engines, though some used 454 in³ (7.4 L) or 460 in³ (7.5 L) V8 engines. The original Mirage design mated the Chevy V8 to a Corvair transaxle via a Kelmark adapter and remote shifter. The bodywork was all hand-laid fiberglass, pre-colored in a range of gel-coat colors. Gull-wing doors were fitted to a removable top section, while the doors flip forward for entry. With curb weights as light as 1,900 lbs (680 kg), the cars could be built by the factory or their owners to be extremely fast.

Manta Cars later produced other component kit cars, including the rear-engined Volkswagen Beetle-based Manta Montage and the mid-engined Montage-T, which had a custom space frame chassis and used GM X-body V6 drivetrains. The Montage-T recreated the elusive McLaren M6GT.
A very accurate reproduction of the classic 1953 Corvette was to be added to their product line and although a prototype was built, Manta Cars ceased production in 1986, having sold somewhere in the vicinity of 1,000 factory built and component cars.

Manta Cars moved their production facility and showroom to 2914 Halladay Avenue, Santa Ana, California around 1980.
The Mirage was one of the 48 cars stolen in the original 1974 movie version of Gone In 60 Seconds.

The Montage was the car in Hardcastle and McCormick in the 1983 TV show (1st season only).


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Sources : 1976 Manta Mirage Photo | 1976 Manta Mirage Article | 1976 Manta Mirage Photo 2 | 1976 Manta Mirage 3

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