Red Manta Mirage

I’ll let this letter from Lewis tell the story instead of writing it myself… But first let me torment you with some pictures of his 4.7 second 0-60mph, 220mphg stunning car. Please note that it is sold at this point.

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This car was purchased at an estate sale at a fair price. The out side appearance was OK, inside went from fair to poor, engine compartment appeared to be all there, So I took it for a drive, after the owner made several attempts to start it. It did not have insurance so I agreed not to take it out on the highway, (first mistake) so I was only able to go through three gears, satisfied with my find and my overwhelming hormones of a childhood dream exploding from the inside outward. We haggled briefly and voila I know owned a Manta Mirage.

So the Odyssey began: Locating exotic car insurance (ha that was a laugh!), locating a garage to work on it, Borrowing a car trailer to bring it home, acquiring the help of a friend , So the entire ordeal just to bring this car home was around $350.00 including lunch and a half rack of Coors Light to celebrate my new acquisition.

The following weekend I proudly set off with my tool box hoping to conquer any and all problems within a week end or two. (Ha!) “The car had been stored for 9 years, it cant need that much!” I said to myself. Sooooooooo are you ready for the list? Starting in no particular order:

Cracked windshield, non functioning doors, knobs hanging with duct tape, exhaust leak, header bolts missing, bad thermostat, bad water pump outlet, bad water pump, no turn signals, no working head lights, malfunctioning gauges, sand underneath the carpet, moldy carpet, sticky accelerator, rotted cable lines, broken deck latch, broken deck rails, broken deck rail connectors (held on with piece of twine) broken shifter seal, broken shifter, loose shifter knob, cracked steering wheel, no horn, rotted air lines, rotted shock bushings, no locking nuts on or cotter pins on spindle equipment, windows on upper doors unsealed, upper doors not attached, doors cracked by support housing, rusted support housing, Rotted radiator hose, rusted "L" bends (idiots used uncoated steel, real smart), NO RADIATOR SHROUDING, no deck pins, missing deck latch, no thermal insulation, missing exhaust shields, cracked and molded weather-stripping, weathered aluminum wheels, no rearview mirror, no air filter, stripped 4th gear, no grease fittings on "U" joints, no seat belts, broken choke cable, broken wipers, no heater, corroded battery holder, corroded battery cables, bad plugs, overlapping plug wires, MUD IN THE FRAM RACING FILTER!!!, no recovery tank, No shifter boot, NO STEREO!!! (a biggie there) , no storage pockets, rusted fuse box, rusted fuses, corroded electrical wires, (that was ugly!) and probably more, I cant remember it all...but I have kept all of the receipts...

Now for the additions, improvements and repairs:OK take the list you just read all were repaired, remanufactured or replaced with either stainless steel hardware or top of the line parts.


Custom removable gull wing doors, CD Stereo, Real Voice Driving/Warning System with Radar, Laser detector, Grant pro series steering wheel, Dual air horns, alarm system with remote, Custom headlight covers, Pilot Driving lights, DEI header wrap, Thermotec liner engine bay and cockpit, Padded seat liners, new carpet, new fuse panel, new wiring, heaters, air gauge, motion visual deterrent (cool feature) $1500.00 Cooling system which includes; Flowmaster water pump, Robert Shaw Racing Stat, Griffin HP Nascar signature series all aluminum radiator, Black Magic cooling fan, Rear back up radiator w/cooling fan, all new shrouding, 53" of additional air intake added; I have had this car running in stop and go traffic during the hot summer months and it has NEVER reached over 200 degrees; also, Hi perf ignition, plugs, plugwires, Debendear Oil cooler, Synthetic oil, Synthetic gear oil, NEW Saginaw Transmission, new hoses, Thermostat for cooling fan, illuminated toggles, Hand polished aluminum wheels, third eye brake light (real cool) new tags, emissions approved, licensed and I still probably can't think of every improvement that has taken place on this car.

Sooooooo After 53 weekends, a brand new tool collection, an angry wife (now that I am home things are great!) Several skinned knuckles, several greased stained clothes, Two portfolios filled with receipts, an empty bank account, a lost summer, oil in my crotch (dont ask!) and over 200 trips to the auto parts store (three of which know me by my first name) I finally have the exotic car thats pretty damn close to my standards.Why am I selling? I really do not want to, But my family needs a bigger home and my wife says if I ever do this again I better do it from my own garage, so there you have it.

I can’t find the words to tell you what a traffic stopper this exotic is, the acceleration is out of this world 0-60 in high fours, a real thrill to drive. EVERYONE STOPS AND ADMIRES THIS EXOTIC. One time an older fellow driving a mini van stopped in the middle of a 10 way traffic intersection to look at the Manta in the other lane, needless to say the gentlemen behind him was a little upset, I almost felt a little embarrassed…(are you kidding I was eating this up!)

On a lighter note……

To all you guys and gals who have built your own, and done it right! (key word) I tip my hat to you!

For all you individuals who are seriously thinking of doing your own, you might want to meet the following criteria:

  • Single
  • Have a large bank account
  • Access to alot of tools
  • Love grease and oil
  • Have a ton of patience
  • Have a ton of skill
  • Have a ton of fine thoughts while you return that part for the third time
  • Enjoy TV dinners (because you will have no time to cook!)
  • Have about a Year or more of free weekends
  • A clean driving record (ever tried to get insurance on exotic gull wing door, 39″ off the ground, 300 horsepower rocket?)

….oh and being mechanically inclined might help too!

10 Responses

  1. DeusGear says:

    I’m sure I’ll even make ferraris turn heads XD

  2. Rob Burns says:

    Hi Rob here from BC canada awesome story .I have been in the car business for 32 years and have built many custom cars and trucks so i can really relate. It`s to bad that the manta mirage kit is no longer produced .Ihad the chance to buy one a few years ago and thought about it too long and of course missed it i have been looking for quite some time now and still have not found any for sale that are in need of restoration. Anyway really liked your story thanks

  3. Rob Burns says:

    Bye the way your manta looks great

  4. Gary says:

    wow you did a great job I hope my car comes out as good or close I am redoing a sterling and putting a 300 hp and yes I am single and I will try to make it before I get with anyone, wish I had more money, dont we all.I was wondering what something like that would be worth and since you just sold your roctet maybe you could give me some clue.thanks ,once again great job

  5. Is this car for Sale? 314-378-6574

  6. Gary says:

    Wow, what a deal. Hey, building a car entails all of your woes and just so you will feel better, that’s what “we” gearheads look forward to in the first place. Sooooo, big high five in the air for finishing the job and “driving” your car on the road (which isn’t easy either) and being a part of the Manta Mirage exotic journey. Park next to a Ferrari, and I love Ferrari’s, and your car will get the question and answer interview and wonderful grins and smiles. Hey, but get your battery down below outa sight where it belongs, for handling and safety.
    Just a bit of history, Phil Hill and Sterling Moss drove Manta’s years ago, mine was one of them, to compare against a number of that years top HP cars. After the test, and asked which car was the most fun to drive….the MANTA was the winner hands down in their opinion. The stats aquired were almost embarrassing to the production cars due to this being a “kit car”. These two ex F1 drivers are well respected even today. I treasure just holding the steering wheel to this day. Brad Lovette (Manta originator) is smiling at you from up above.
    Gary, past Sales Manager, Manta Cars

  7. M. Erickson says:

    I’m in the process of building one and need a line on the glass for it since their are no more windshields available. I was lucky enough to find a Kit that was never assembled the only thing was no glass or headlight buckets. I can fab the buckets but the glass will be harder to obtain. Any direction would be helpfull.


  8. M. Erickson says:

    I’m in the process of building one and need a line on the glass for it since their are no more windshields available. I was lucky enough to find a Kit that was never assembled the only thing was no glass or headlight buckets. I can fab the buckets but the glass will be harder to obtain. Any direction would be helpfull.


  9. Bob Van Deusen says:

    I built these cars years ago. I have a wind shield available for $750.00. Bob~~503-206-7401

  10. Bob Van Deusen says:

    I built these cars years ago. I have a wind shield available for $750.00. Bob~~503-206-7401

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