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Buying A Manta A V8


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Hi everyone,

Just had a quick poke round the projects page and I ahve to say there are some brave people on here undertaking the projects they do.

That said, I'm not new to classics/rust and tasty engine conversions :)

I am new to Mantas and this forum and just looking for some basic advice.

As a Manta has been offered at a good price and has already had the V8 conversion done I'm very tempted to buy a completed car rather than put the hours in myself :)

I'm concerned that all has been done to the car apaprently is a V8 conversion kit for a Manta B purchased and the gearbox tunnel widened. It's running an SD1 engine & box. (standard SU carb rubbish too!). I had a Mk1 Capri with a V8 and I kept blowing out the windscreen till I fitted a strut brace so I'm now more concerned about structural integrity when undertaking things like this.

So my first question is what steps would you usually expect when fitting a V8 to a Manta A in terms of addind strength to the car? Is it necessary?

How do the cars handle this kind of power. From what I can tell the suspension setup if quite a lot better than the Crapi, being wishbone fronts and panhard on the rear. What are common suspension improvements? (ie anti-tramp needed?)

Brakes. They're good if you don't want to drive into a tree. I like brakes. What kind of upgrades would you usually see on higher powered Mantas?

And any other general advice what to look for in particular.

I'm sure you'll see me around on here a lot in future!


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If I remember correctly the Rover V8 is about 20 lbs lighter than the opel Cam in head pig iron lump of an engine, so suspension set up should not be too much of a problem.

Many many ways to upgrade the brakes if running tired 'A' series calipers, although good calipers (better than fitted to the later 'B's) there is not a lot of pad/disc area, have a search on the site for brakes.

Worst part for many V8's fitted into Manta's are the headers, as these are a very tight fit and tight against the chassis rails. I had a pair of headers that were supplied in the "V8 into Manta 'B' kit" off of a V8 Manta I broke (I only wanted the gearbox) and my God what an absolute nasty nasty bit of engine strangling kit they were, I used the flanges and made my own headers out of stainless tubing.

SU's can easily be dumped for a tasty Weber/Edelbrock and inlet (as you most probably know)

But basically the Manta chassis should be fine with this engine, my 'B' was fine with a V8 pushing out 203 BHP

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Thanks everyone for the quick replies.

Good ol' aluminium engines. Gotta love 'em!

In terms of suspension setup I was thinking more along the lines of dealing with the increase in power, rather than the weight. Do many people modify suspension components much? I've seen a few folk on here fitting IRS etc but I'm meaning more along the lines of adjustable parts, or improving what is there already.

I'll have a bit of a search on the brakes. I read somewhere you can fit 2.2 Carlton brakes to the hub.

I'm guessing this car will have the same headers on of which you speak, Manta Guru. Why do people not realise the impact of doing such things? Where do these kits come from anyway?

Will almost certainly be going the way of a 4 barrell carb if I do purcahse this one. Either that or an injection system.

It's interesting to see the amount of engine converstions people do on here, in the past on sites I've been a member of there's only been a few, and even then they'd be typical already been done 100 times kind of conversions.

How similar is the B chassis to the A chassis? I heard some people swap the suspension from B's to A's - what's all that about?

Sorry about all the questions - just trying to get some basic knowlwdge so I know what I'm looking at getting myself into!

Thanks again.

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The rear axle is a little wider on the B but other than that the rear of a B is the same as the rear of an A. (unless its a 1.6N)

The front is completely different.

Interesting... How is it completely different? Am I right to think that they're both double wishbone?

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Interesting... How is it completely different? Am I right to think that they're both double wishbone?

Kind of. The A has a lower suspension arm thats very different. On the A the shock absorber mounts to the bottom suspension arm through the spring.

The anti-roll bars are different as well. The B uses drop links, whereas the A goes into the lower suspension arm.

B lower arm:


A lower arm:


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So surely without a lot of chassis modification you can't swap the two over?

What about the rears. I saw some pictures on a B resto on here (I don't think I've done any work today) which had pan hard and anti tramp. Is that all standard on both? If it is I might kick myself for not buying one sooner.

Another thing I've been thinking about is lowering the car to get that mean looking stance a few people seem to have acheived. I know one guy modified his rear chassis legs to allow him to drop the car further, but how low is the norm when it comes to the Manta A? And how do you go about altering camber once you've dropped it?

(I told you there'd be lots of questions!)

Just another thing I've been thinking is if anyone from here has ever owned many other classics like the Mantas, and what their thoughts are in comparison...

Edited by MattMe
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