I went to see and drive the Manta last Friday the 18th.
Here's the report:
(I would like to first say I don't own a Manta)
The engine starts and runs smoothly. I was impressed how smooth it was with the dual Webers. The engine is bored 40 over. (1900 motor). The clutch was dragging a bit. It only sounded like it needed to be adjusted, but that was the only noise the car made. No creaks or squeaks from anywhere. The rearend was smooth and silent. Shifted just fine. I didn;t care for the way the gas pedal was setup. This is probaly just a taste thing.... was to hard and sudden for me. But funtioned just fine. The car felt "tight" over all. I had good power. Brakes were good. Sorry, I didn't look at the brakes as to what type they were. I was focused on the rust and overall condition of the car. Although the brakes felt good and responsive. The electrical was ok. The only thing I could see that was wrong was the ignition had an override. But did say the ignition was working now. Nothing real serious.
Rust: There is some rust. The good news is...MOST of it's surface blisters. I took a few pictures but need to have them scanned. The locations are as follows (with a small rating system.. 1=very little/cosmetic - 5=serious, near unrepairable damage.
A little around the driverside door handle. (1)
Bottom of the driver door. (1)
Bottom sill below driver door. (3)
Rear fender, driver side. (1)
Bottom of trunk, below bumper. (4)
Pax side rear fender. (1)
Around battery on driverside. (3)
Overall it isn't bad. He did reveal the reserve price of $1600 but would take $1400. I don't think it would be too hard to repair the rust spots in my opinion. The interior needs a bit of work too. I wouldn't classify the car as mint or great obviously. It needs some TLC, but would be fine if you plan to put a bit of sweat into it. I would say I could be a nice Manta. Especially for only $1400. The engine setup alone is nearly worth that much.
Bob- for a race car it would probably be ok. I didn't see any major hardpoints effected by rust. Virtually all the rust is surface or "body" rust that can be repaired relativly easily.