Very rarely an entirely new vehicle describes an entire subset of the automotive hobby. Meyers Manx was one of these tools. Look for “Dune Buggy” in the dictionary and you’ll likely find a picture of Manx.
And we have to thank Bruce Meyers for that.
Meyers was a World War II veteran, artist, surfer, and cross-country racer, but it was his vision of an inexpensive, fun, and capable off-roader that became his legacy. Born out of the hot rod culture, Bruce Meyers and the Meyers Manx dune buggy with a fiberglass body would set an example of the southern California lifestyle.
Despite its fun and friendly vibe, Manx was also a serious performance vehicle. Meyers and his racing team set a speed record in this process by organizing a Manx campaign in Mexico 1000 (the forerunner of the Baja 1000) off-road race.
The Manx itself was a beautiful and simple design. While the original prototypes were heavily fabricated, the moment of “a-ha” came when Meyers redesigned the Manx to drive it on a modified Volkswagen chassis. Sharing so much with the VW Beetle meant that the Manx would be easier to build and repair, and BF Meyers & Company cranked several thousand Manx cars before the influx of copycat builders forced the company to build shutters in 1971.
The Manx silhouette has since become synonymous with the dune buggy and pop culture and creating a series of new gearboxes in the process.
In many ways, Bruce Meyers can also be credited with speeding up the kit car hobby – perhaps a mistake as the aforementioned copycat makers are trying to monetize the success of Manx. But the idea Transforming Volkswagens into sand carts it has become a standard recipe that is still incredibly popular.
While Meyers’ original company closed in 1971, it has been reborn in several ways over the years. The last iteration, Meyers Manx, LLCis now owned by venture capital firm Trousdale Ventures.
Bruce Myers died last week. He was 94 years old.