Bruce Meyers, creator of the primary dune buggy, dies at 94

Bruce Meyers in a recent photo with the original Meyers Manx | Volkswagen

Bruce Meyers, who turned a basic hand-laid fiberglass system melded to a shortened Volkswagen chassis into a all over the world feeling identified as the dune buggy, has died at the age of 94. The induce of loss of life was myelodysplasia, a blood disorder comparable to leukemia.

Meyers was the creator of the original Meyers Manx, named Massive Pink, which he designed and rolled out of his small Newport Seashore, California, garage in 1964. Meyers and his spouse, Winnie, just just lately offered the Meyers Manx brand and small business to Trousdale Ventures, an investment business that vows to create a new technology of the beach cruisers.

Bruce Meyers in a new photograph with the original Meyers Manx | Volkswagen

The Meyers’ sale of the firm capped off a uniquely American story of skill and innovation about a California surfer, artist, boat builder and off-street racer, between his quite a few pursuits, who located fame in the development of a new sort of enjoyable-fueled car that has been loved by millions throughout the earlier fifty percent century.

Major Purple was honored on its 50th anniversary in 2014 as the second car or truck inducted by the Historic Car Association to the Nationwide Historic Car or truck Sign-up, gaining lasting recognition in the archives of the Library of Congress. The very first car named to the register was the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe race vehicle, putting the primary dune buggy in esteemed firm.

Meyers was present on the Capitol Shopping mall in Washington, DC, exactly where the 1st Manx was set on temporary exhibit to mark the celebration.

The Meyers Manx on display at the Capitol Mall | Historic Vehicle Association

The Meyers Manx on show at the Capitol Mall | Historic Motor vehicle Association

“Dune buggies have a concept: exciting,” Meyers reported at the time. “They’re playful to generate and need to look like it. Nothing at all did that at the time.”

As effectively as staying pleasurable, the Manx was observed to be a formidable off-highway competitor. Meyers and his dune buggy are credited with launching the start off of arranged off-highway racing when he and his driving companion, Tom Mangels, set the initial trans-Baja 4-wheel document by beating the bike times in Major Red in 1967.

That victory sparked the starting of the National Off Street Racing Association’s Mexican 1000 that year on the Baja peninsula, which Mangels and Vic Wilson gained in a Manx.

Bruce Meyers hand-building the first Manx, Old Red, at his Newport Beach shop in 1964

Bruce Meyers hand-setting up the to start with Manx, Previous Crimson, at his Newport Seaside shop in 1964

Meyers 1st drove his Manx, powered by the air-cooled VW boxer-4 motor, in Might 1964, and he was quickly besieged by these who needed dune buggies of their personal Meyers never known as Big Crimson a dune buggy, but it was a title that arrived into well known usage and it stuck.

Meyers also in no way established out to generate an icon, but that is how it turned out. The dune buggy fad went into large equipment as the Manx became recognized as the most enjoyment on four wheels, a sporting activities vehicle that could be driven on the beach front, and emblematic of the West Coast life-style.

Before long, Meyers launched his company of making and offering Manxes, taking orders for duplicates and inevitably developing them by the hundreds.

The dune buggy’s distinctive style set it apart | Historic Vehicle association

The dune buggy’s distinctive style established it apart | Historic Car or truck affiliation

Aspect of the attractiveness was the Manx’s placing physical appearance, the attractive 1-piece fiberglass bodies fitted with large wheels and flat, upright windshields. They have been extremely light-weight, fast and maneuverable, plus they have been road lawful so they could be pushed any where, from the freeway correct on to the beach front, sand dunes and forest streets.

Steve McQueen was proven driving a Manx with gusto on a beach front in the well known 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, which gave the model a increase. The future yr, a cover tale in Automobile and Driver magazine stirred up even additional enthusiasm.

However, that achievement turned the downfall of the Meyers Manx enterprise as dozens of copycat dune buggy competition commenced marketing their individual knockoffs. The dune buggies had been straightforward to make, and several useful hobbyists produced their individual utilizing affordable copycat kits. Lawful difficulties failed, and by 1971, the firm was really considerably out of company right after generating about 7,000 Manx buggies.

Meyers helped launch Volkswagen’s electric dune buggy concept in 2019

Meyers served launch Volkswagen’s electrical dune buggy strategy in 2019

Bruce and Winnie Meyers experienced actively managed the Meyers Manx business all these yrs, largely marketing their have kits, and there has been renewed desire in dune buggies in new many years. Meyers was again in the news in 2019 when he attended the unveiling of Volkswagen’s electric powered-driven dune-buggy concept styled soon after the Meyers Manx.

Bruce Meyers will go down in history as a one particular-off automotive excellent, akin to these kinds of individualistic legends as Carroll Shelby and Preston Tucker. Meyers produced some thing simple and one of a kind that took the globe by storm and became a correct icon for all time.

This short article, written by Bob Golfen, was at first printed on ClassicCars.com, an editorial associate of Motor Authority.