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The Manxter: Rebirth of the Dune Buggy

Manxter S

The first Meyers Manx was pieced together by Bruce Meyers in a shed in Newport Beach sometime in 1964. His aim was to create a simple vehicle for blasting around the sand dunes. He and his friends quickly discovered that chunky 4 wheel drive jeeps didn't fare nearly as well as lightweight VW Beetles in the dunes. While he wasn't the first to create a VW-based dune buggy, his sleek vehicle took full advantage of the fiberglass molding skill he'd picked up while working at Jensen Marine.

VintagemanxMeyers spent almost two years perfecting the distinctive Manx design. The kit came with accessories such as lights, seats, and windshield. His first version replaced the Beetle floorplan with a fiberglass monocoque frame, but he quickly discovered it was too expensive to produce and created a new version based upon a shortened Beetle floorpan.

The kit sold for $495, and Meyers figured he'd get a dozen or so orders a year. Things didn't quite turn out that way; the Meyers Manx was featured on the cover of Car and Driver in April 1967, and he suddenly found himself with hundreds of orders. He struggled to meet the demand.

Others took notice of his success, and the Manx was suddenly faced with dozens of similar-looking cut-rate competitors. As the market became increasingly crowded, Meyers fought an expensive and unsuccessful lawsuit against a competitor and eventually retreated from his company altogether in 1970. It took another 30 years before he ventured back into the business he once loved -- drawn by the enthusiasm of dune buggy enthusiasts worldwide.

The brand new Manxter 2+2 four-seater hit the market in 2001. Like the original Manx, it is based on a classic VW Type I or Type II floorpan and drivetrain. A bare-bones kit costs $5395, while the more complete 'standard' kit includes a fiberglass hardtop and polished stainless steel front and rear bumpers. An even more rugged DualSport version is available for $9,975. It has 3" more ground clearance, a 6" longer body and heavy-duty long-travel suspension.

Get more information at the official Meyers Manx site

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