Buyers Guide: Meyers Manx

Don’t discount the Meyers Manx as a silly novelty. These sand slingers have shown at the Petersen, crossed the RM Sotheby’s auction block, and posted big wins at Baja and Pikes Peak. And while that RM Sotheby’s example sold for nearly $65,000, Bring a Trailer has lately been trading Manxes in the teens.

And the Manx isn’t just any dune buggy. It’s the original. Bruce Meyers, a SoCal native, saw his friends’ beach buggies for what they were: crude machines that drove poorly and looked worse. So Meyers set out to build a better mousetrap.

After two years of R&D, his first Manxes hit the sand in 1966. Power came from air-cooled VW engines, while their monocoque bodies used Beetle front and rear suspensions. As requests for more cars came in, though, Meyers realized that he’d need to simplify construction. After building his first 12 buggies, he adapted his design to fit on a shortened VW floor pan.

The Manx was an immediate hit, but rocky roads lay ahead. Inexpensive copies quickly flooded the market, and Meyers’s partners forced him from the company in 1971. The firm went bankrupt later that year after building about 5280 Manxestotal.

But wait, that wasn’t the last of Bruce Meyers. Now doing business as MeyersManx Inc., he’s back offering chassis, parts and bodies, including new copies of his Manx II, the slightly less expensive version introduced in 1968. Also quite important: His firm offers a registry and will verify if a Manx is legit or not.

HOW TO SPOT A FAKE MEYERS MANX

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OUR EXPERT

TIM SUDDARD

Classic Motorsports publisher, Meyers Manx owner

Most of the later Meyers Manxes have serial numbers, but those produced in 1966 and 1967 do not. At that point in the game, Bruce Meyers did not yet realize that he was in the car-building business, so he didn’t give much thought to serial numbers.

Meyers Manx Inc. will help authenticate a Manx, but some simple design elements and structural cues can differentiate a real one from a knockoff. Although some copied the design exactly, most of the clone kits made subtle styling changes to the front and/or rear to avoid charges of patent infringement.

  1. The dashboard of the first-floor-pan Manx is made of ABS plastic surrounded by a steel frame inside the fiberglass hood.
  2. The hood has a small bump on its nose measuring 2 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall. This bump received a silver-and-black sticker through early 1967-say the first 150 or so kits. After that, a larger black-and-silver plastic emblem was introduced that covers the bump. Meyers Manx hoods never had any other bumps, air scoops, ridges or furrows.
  3. At the rear, the authentic license plate area is quite distinctive.
  4. Two tubular steel struts may be found at either side of the license plate, installed to stiffen the lower edge of the body. These struts were used until the end of 1971.
  5. The first-floor-pan model also has stiffening tubes glassed under the fenders, from the pedal bulkhead to the engine bulkhead. These were first made of cardboard, although later the company switched to 2-inch vacuum cleaner hoses. Finally, a fiberglass shape was tooled that forms a tube-like structure under both fenders. None of the clones have these.
  6. The second-floor-pan model was called the Manx II. Manx II kits produced before Meyers left the company have serial numbers starting with the letter A. Some of these kits have the stiffening tubes under the fenders.
  7. The Manx IIs produced after Meyers’s departure carry four-digit serial numbers and lack the reinforcing tubes under the fenders.
  8. All Manx IIs are identified by a larger bump on the hood as well as the omission of the battery box sump and the spare tire well in the rear seat area. Instead, these models are flat across the seat area. Additionally, the hood and dash are molded as one piece.

 

RESOURCES

Meyers Manx Inc. 
(760) 749-6321
meyersmanx.com

Manx Club 
manxclub.com

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Comments
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GLK
GLK New Reader
5/3/19 6:37 p.m.

There is no better Dune Buggy out there than an original Meyers Manx. There used to be an actual Manx dealer in Cleveland, OH (of all places)! near where I grew up. I was a teenager back then and scored a ride in a blue metalflake Manx powered by a Corvair Monza engine. Unforgettable. They also had a Meyers SR on a display stand out front. I still think the SR is sharp. Both the Manx, SR and Tow’d were kit cars with totally original stying that broke new ground. Bruce Meyers is a truly talented artist. All the copycats that followed were dumbed-down, awkward looking Manx wannabes with the possible runner-up being Dean Jeffries, Kyote that had a rather boat-like front-end. The Manx is timeless and the SR had scissor doors and upswept rear wheel arches like a Countach years before the Countach flowed from Marcello Gandini’s pen.

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