Manta Shell Restoration

I purchased this shell in 1992, and spent the next three years restoring it and bringing it up to the standard necessary to allow me to race it in the British Clubman/National Hill Climb Championships.

Introduction

I got the shell in very poor condition. It had been stored in a lean-to which had a polythene roof and very holy sides. It had no rear axle and the rear panel was so rotten it had fallen off.

Work for 1992

Gallery - Manta Shell Restoration - Part 1

Once we got the shell and dragged it into my tiny garage, I started stripping everything from the car. The complete interior was removed and either stored or taken to the local tip. I kept things like the front passenger seat, steering wheel and column, dash display and paneling. The front wings, bonnet and boot lid were disposed of. Most of the front and rear suspension was removed and scrapped, as I would be using the parts recovered from my written off Opel Ascona B.

I began the restoration work by spending my free weekends learning to mig weld. Then I set out to repair the front panel.

Over the winter of 1992/3 I took front and rear suspension parts to work and spent my lunch breaks cleaning up the parts, when the workshop grit blaster was available for me to use.

Work for 1993

 While waiting for the temperature top rise during spring of 1993, I used work facilities to paint the parts. Once cured I was able to fit all new motorsport spec rubber bushes I got from a motorsport company in Litchfield. There were no Powerflex bushes available in those days.

During late spring I started work on repairing the front chassis legs at the point where the lower bracket for the cross-member is attached. Then I started work on the inner wings and front of the 'A' Pillars on my free weekends.

Work for 1994

I finished off repairing the 'A' pillars, and the set to work replacing the rear panel, wheel well and repairing the rotten boot floor.

Once complete, I began a dummy build of the car. This included installing a fire wall between the boot and cabin, installing a 6-point rally safety cage, and a welding a bracket for my new drivers motorsport seat. Re-installing the wiring with modifications for relocating the battery and added gauges and motorsport isolating switch. 

Finishing Off

Gallery - Manta Shell Restoration - Part 2

Early in 1995, the dummy build was complete and everything was again stripped from the car except the front and rear suspension. The car, together with doors and fibreglass bonnet and boot, was then sent away for spraying. About six weeks later I got the car back and started refitting everything. I completed everything and still managed to get out for a couple of hill climb events before the end of the 1995 season.