Mantis Ageon / Targa

A while back I posted about a car that I ID’d as an Invader, even though the Craigslist seller was identifying it as a “Mantis”, a car I’d never heard of. Extremely lucky bastard Jason “Schmitty” Milsom managed to pick up this striking vehicle for the scant price of $2,000 and I am very, very jealous of his acquisition. He writes,

It turns out it is a Mantis Ageon or Targa after all. I just bought a “Mantis” Brochure on eBay (although I haven’t received it yet). It looks like the Kaylor Invader is actually a Mantis that they renamed Invader GT-5 for some reason. The title for my car says it’s a 1975 which is before Kaylor was building cars. It’s not running and has lots of problems. Since purchase I have installed a different engine (a dual port dual carb 1600 that was in an original 1944 Kubelwagen), installed a new steering column, did minimal electrics to make it legally driveable (lights, etc), installed pedals, cables, and so on, and just recently put the louvered cover (from a 240Z) over the big hole in the back. The car is only 37 1/2″ tall and an absolute blast to drive.

Have I mentioned how jealous I am? This is one of the most striking of the aggressive seventies exotic designs out there, and a very special car. Speaking of special cars, you may also notice a Trivette trike in the second photo!

[Note: I initially misspelled — this is a “Mantis Aegean Coupe”.]

 

13 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    What’s the wheelbase on this car ? The car that goes by the name of Mantis Aegean coupe in Petersen’s 4th VW book kinda looks like it has the Kellison Shark wheelbase of 84.5 inches.

  2. Gary says:

    What’s the wheelbase on this car ? The car that goes by the name of Mantis Aegean coupe in Petersen’s 4th VW book kinda looks like it has the Kellison Shark wheelbase of 84.5 inches.

  3. Gary says:

    Schmitty, I commented on this car, and THEN I found your latest info by my Shark. I’m more confused than ever. In your pictures, I can see clearly the exact Shark lines at the nose (but not further back), and around the tail (with that distinctive boomerang sculpture on the side). The center may have come from an unnamed car in the same article, plus some completely new areas.

  4. Gary says:

    Schmitty, I commented on this car, and THEN I found your latest info by my Shark. I’m more confused than ever. In your pictures, I can see clearly the exact Shark lines at the nose (but not further back), and around the tail (with that distinctive boomerang sculpture on the side). The center may have come from an unnamed car in the same article, plus some completely new areas.

  5. Schmitty says:

    Yes, according to Dave Loring the designer of Mantis cars. Kellison stole his design with the shark. It is almost an exact copy of either the Mantis Aegean 1 or Mantis gazelle. I’m still unclear which is which. My car (the yellow one) is a Agean coupe II. which (according to the mantis brochure) is the front of a Mantis Targa (a wagon back type sports car) and the rear from the aegean coupe 1. I think all these cars fit a stock VW pan/wheelbase. The previous owner of my car modified the headlights and rear of the yellow car and added side skirts and air dam. The rear looked exactly like the shark before his mods. In a hand written letter from Dave Loring dated 1977 that came with a Mantis brochure I bought on ebay. Dave explains that Devin (not sure who that is) purchased one of his cars and copied it for Kellison. He also says that Bruce Weeks copied his designs for his 1969 Invader GT.
    The Brochure mentions that the petersons guide (book#4 from 1976) got the names of his cars mixed up.The aegean coupe (1?) and gazelle are reversed.

  6. Schmitty says:

    Yes, according to Dave Loring the designer of Mantis cars. Kellison stole his design with the shark. It is almost an exact copy of either the Mantis Aegean 1 or Mantis gazelle. I’m still unclear which is which. My car (the yellow one) is a Agean coupe II. which (according to the mantis brochure) is the front of a Mantis Targa (a wagon back type sports car) and the rear from the aegean coupe 1. I think all these cars fit a stock VW pan/wheelbase. The previous owner of my car modified the headlights and rear of the yellow car and added side skirts and air dam. The rear looked exactly like the shark before his mods. In a hand written letter from Dave Loring dated 1977 that came with a Mantis brochure I bought on ebay. Dave explains that Devin (not sure who that is) purchased one of his cars and copied it for Kellison. He also says that Bruce Weeks copied his designs for his 1969 Invader GT.
    The Brochure mentions that the petersons guide (book#4 from 1976) got the names of his cars mixed up.The aegean coupe (1?) and gazelle are reversed.

  7. schmitty says:

    just to clarify: The wheelbase of this car (Mantis Aegeon coupe II) is a stock VW 94.5″ The Brochure does not mention the wheelbase of any of the cars. One of the cars pictured in the brochure, that is either the mantis gazelle or mantis aegeon coupe 1 (it is not clear) looks exactly like the kellison shark. The headlights are differnent but looks otherwise identical with I would assume the same wheelbase.

  8. Lupe says:

    Very nice! Good find, enjoy the ride! I sure wouldn’t mind having Trivette myself. They look so good.

  9. Gary says:

    Schmitty, The mention of Bruce Weeks and the Invader GT got me looking again. I think the beltline on your Aegean II exactly matches the beltline of an Invader GT. When all this is figured out, you’ll have some fun answers for people who think it’s a Ferrari.

  10. Gary says:

    Schmitty, The mention of Bruce Weeks and the Invader GT got me looking again. I think the beltline on your Aegean II exactly matches the beltline of an Invader GT. When all this is figured out, you’ll have some fun answers for people who think it’s a Ferrari.

  11. Gary says:

    Schmitty,
    Today is 7-2-09, and there’s a Petersen’s VW book #4 on the Samba. Ad #744080.

  12. Dale says:

    Hello, I am also an TriVette owner here in Canada sure would like to talk to some else who has one.

  13. Rad Racer says:

    After seeing this car, it looks extremly cool. I Was just wondering how much it is or could be worth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *