McLaren replica build base on a Manta

This will undoubtedly be a very humbling experience considering my location on the "fabricators food chain" here at, but I'm willing to stand in this vast shadow of knowledge and learn from what I'd consider the best there are.
I started on this project this past winter, but progress is slow, and I feel I've lurked here on this site long enough to dip my toe into the water and expose my endeavors.
I'm taking an unfinished Manta Mirage and will be doing my best (considering price and time) to build a fair representation of the McLaren M8B. I've REALLY enjoyed Russell's build, and that read was probably the one thing that pushed me over the edge to sell my highly modified 240Z that I had, and start this new project.

The car as received was a wretched mess. It has (had) a VW front suspension, Corvair transaxle with poorly modified coil-over rear dampers, and really nothing that I could call "beneficial" except for a good condition body, and a frame which which to start modifying. My goal is to replace the Corvair transaxle with a 930 LSD box (done!), remove and replace the VW front suspension with a more acceptable unequal-length A-arm suspension with coil over suspension, and modify the fiberglass body extensively to better replicate the proportions and shape of the M8B. I was looking for another "project", but now I fully understand better than every before what it means to "be careful what you wish for".

For those with a weak stomach, please avert your eyes, and consider the following "as received" condition photos inappropriate for children.

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Bronze Supporter
Well Ox ,you've finally let the cat out of the bag! I'm sure you'll get through the build without eversomuch as a heart murmur.


Jac Mac

Active Member
They are all players in the same ballpark Terry, doesnt matter what the badge on the nose says.

You would have to wonder what was happening between the ears of the person who cut that piece of square tube in front of the brake master cyl at the time--- perhaps he needed a 'round tuit' to finish it off! Keep- the pics coming- dont need to type much- each pic is worth lots of words, there are more scratch build lurkers on this site than you probably think.:)
Where did you buy this car from? It looks alot like an unfinished project for sale at the Carlisle import/kit car show a few years ago. Good luck, it may take some work,but it sounds like you have a sound plan of attack.
Re: McLaren replica build based on a Manta

Took EVERYTHING off the frame, and then cut the hermaphrodite rear coil-over and VW suspensions OFF the car. I grabbed some old 240SX rear hubs that were sitting in the corner of the garage, some steel, and casters, and made me a rotisserie for the frame.

Notice how the side pods have a lot of un-utilized space around the fuel tanks. So my first step is the removal of the side pod (tank) structures, and rebuild them so that they utilize all available space for storage (the necessary helmet/lawn chair combination) and fuel tank on the driver side, and battery/water pump/fuel tank on the passenger side.
Re: McLaren replica build based on a Manta

I cut out the ball-joint plates out of 3/8" steel, then tapped it so the ball-joint is bolted on.

Then welded the threaded stud onto the plate (a 3/4" bolt with head cut off)

Then bolted it onto the arms and the C4 upright. Now to trim it all down so it looks half-way decent and start on the other side.

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Nice to see your progress, the good thing about doing things for your self is that your the boss and you can do as you please. I have also enlisted my `boss` and turned her wishes into reality and started building a `LOTUS` style of roadster that is un ashameadly budget and designed for her ( and me) to drive. Got a nice little 2 ltr 6 cyl Nissan and running a full Nissan S14 rear subframe so will drop some shots when you can see something. Currently I am consuming tube as quick as I can bring it home.
Re: McLaren replica build based on a Manta

Russell, you'll love the S14 rear. I drive an S13 as a daily driver and wouldn't give it up for anything (2nd one after the first one hit 225K). Even with all those links, it's very precise. I like your term "ashameadly budget", as that applies to my whole project. I'm still trying to decide which I like better, the build or the drive, but the "boss" is looking forward to riding shotgun soon, so I can't dabble around to long with it.

I felt like a locksmith last night. I couldn't find a tapered stud that correctly fit the C4 steering arm, so I took a generic tapered stud, inserted it into the drill-press, and "turned" it to match the tapered bore on the upright. It took some trial and error (insert stud, read the markings, extract, file (turn) on the drill-press, re-insert stud, bla, bla, blaaa. Anyway, within 15 minutes, it was a perfect fit.

Dave, those clevises were bought at Coleman racing. Very nice pieces (these are the heavy-duty option) in both LH and RH theads.

Dang Russell, just stick the knife in even deeper and twist it a bit.

Awesome photos and fun. The comparison to the "vertically challenged" neighbors was interesting. Some day...
Jeez, 2 months later and I finally have a front suspension (tacked in, but not permanently welded) finished. I can't image what the rear will entail.

The side plates holding the top of the shock are only templates. Just curious, IF I were to make the actual plates out of aluminum, would 1/4" be sufficient (couldn't tell you the grade or alloy content-sourced from the local sheet metal shop), or should I stick with steel?



Bronze Supporter
UB Machine has lots of "stuff" for fabrication as well as Lefthander Chassis.
Ox, Lefthander has more "stuff" if you haven't seen thier web site.