The Meyers Manx is the OG fiberglass dune buggy and inspired legions of copycats and competitors.
This well presented example is based on a shortened ’55 Volkswagen chassis.
The Bring a Trailer auction runs until May 30.
If there were an official Endless Summer car, it would be the Meyers Manx Dune Buggy. Not just any dune buggy, but a Meyers Manx, the cool vehicle bookends that Steve McQueen and Elvis chose for on-screen and personal tasks. If you’ve ever wanted to get in on that mojo, now’s your chance with this green metalflake Meyers Manx, up for auction on Bring a Trailer, which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos.
While the current BaT headline eschews a specific model year, this Manx was labeled a 1968 model at a previous auction elsewhere in March 2021. Its omission here is largely irrelevant as the Manx, like the California Dream it embodies, is timeless. It exists in an entirely different realm, one where it’s always 22 degrees and sunny, and the inhabitants are eternally young. However, it is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Bruce Meyers that validates the serial number – the serial number appears to be original – and the Registry ID number, giving it an unassailable pedigree. That said, the seller specifies that the fiberglass Manx tub rides on a shortened 1955 Volkswagen pan and is registered accordingly.
The green metalflake paint and fiberglass body appear to be in excellent condition, free of cobweb cracks and damage. While these cars are often subject to questionable modifications, this Manx hits the high road with a classic chrome roll bar, the politely titled “nudge” bar, a chrome windshield mount and chrome headlight trays. Turn signals run discreetly atop the front suspension mounting points under the front fenders. Arguably the most popular aftermarket wheel in the late ’60s, the chrome Cragar S/S wheels look right at home here, though we wouldn’t argue with a set of deep-dish steelies with purpose-built tires for serious beach work. Similarly, we can ditch the black “Manx” lettering on the side panels.
The interior trim is black vinyl as standard, so we recommend keeping a few light-colored beach towels on hand, lest you burn your bum, back, and thighs after parking this dune buggy in the sun. The black floor mats and the finish of the inner tub contribute to the solar gain. Wolfsburg-branded lap belts and front disc brakes add a welcome measure of safety.
Power is provided by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder Volkswagen air-cooled engine with appropriate modifications including twin Solex H40/44EIS carburettors and a Scintilla magneto. (While the original carbs are no longer manufactured by the former French Solex company, a large, international aftermarket, licensing and enthusiast support network keeps them viable for decades.) A Hurst “trigger” switch selects from four gears and a roller accelerator pedal provides smooth throttle input. A degree pulley provides better visibility when choosing tuning. (Don’t forget to adjust your valves regularly and keep an eye on that pesky #3 exhaust valve.) Chrome engine cans and pulleys add to the shine, as does a ceramic-coated Tri-Mil dual exhaust system.
While the metal EMPI Sportster buggy was hatching around the same time and several other long-forgotten pioneers were on the same trail, it’s the Meyers Manx that typically comes to mind with the phrase “dune buggy.” (EMPI would later make a fiberglass Manx clone called the IMP.) Meyers helped cement his title as the record’s modern dune buggy with his “Old Red” prototype that he and Ted Mangels piloted to a record-breaking run in the Baja 1000 of 1967.
The “production” Manx-Meyer sold them mainly in kit form for a number of reasons – like the one in this auction, benefited from a certain level of, er, “sophistication”, without watering down the core vision. That kind of purposeful purpose is a rarity, especially when an idea blossoms into a real physical product that reflects the mood of a generation. And that guarantees a place in the annals of pop culture forever.
The car is listed as a private owner, located in Danville, California, and is accompanied by a copy of Manx Mania magazine in which we assume it appears, and a clean California decal in the name of the seller stating that the a 1955 Volkswagen.
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