The Future of Meyers Manx Is in Good Hands | The Iconic Dune Buggy Company Has New, Enthusiastic Owners

Meyers Manx, Inc., maker of the original dune buggy, has been sold by Bruce and Winnie Meyers to Trousdale Ventures, an investment house led by Phillip Sarofim. Automotive designer Freeman Thomas led the acquisition and was chosen as CEO and CCO to lead Meyers Manx and the future of the iconic brand.

The name Freeman Thomas might ring a bell, as he is a well-known automotive designer. Even if you don’t know the name, you will know his work, which includes the Audi TT, the original VW New Beetle, the Chrysler 300 and the Tomahawk motorcycle. Recently, he designed the new Ruf CTR and SCR.

Thomas also co-created the original Irvine Cars and Coffee along with John Clinard, longtime West Coast Ford PR guru, kicking off the global C&C movement.

Thomas, who started his design career at Porsche, had barely retired, but loved the Bruce Meyers legacy and the Manx so much that he decided to lead the purchase of the company. Phillip Sarofim becomes chairman, while Dave Lin will handle the financial side of things as CFO.

Photo courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum

When asked what plans he has for the company, Thomas comments that right now, it's too early to share. However, he tells us, the plan involves sharing his passion for building the classic Manx kits and related Manx products essentially as they have always been, especially during the ’60s and in support of the Manx Club

A 7500-square-foot R&D and operational facility, including a design studio which will be staffed by an international creative team, has been secured in Oceanside, California. This is very near to Valley Center, where the Manx has been built for years.

Thomas notes that he will also be developing a variety of simpler-to-assemble Manx kits that will still appeal to hardcore Manx fans. More to come on this, he adds. 

While some accessories and parts needed to build the Manx are currently available on the Meyers Manx website, Thomas says that his goal is to source and remanufacture rare, out-of-production parts for legacy Meyers Manxes. Affordable, undrilled bodies in your color of choice will also remain available for those that want to customize themselves, he continues. 

The complete kits will come with easy-to-understand instructions—think IKEA/Apple—including all the correct hardware and making the Manx a fun, easy-to-build, do-it-yourself family project,” he explains. Thomas wants home builders to be the hero in their family. 

That would mean streamlining the process even further. As a point of context, this author has built a Meyers Manx, and it is perhaps the easiest and most rewarding project he's ever attempted.

Photo courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum

We next asked Thomas about merchandising potential with such an iconic brand. “That will also be a priority led by exquisite design and execution,” he says.

We surmise that Freeman, as a noted automobile designer, is ultimately in this to be the guy who designed an all-new Manx for the next generation of enthusiasts.

While he plans to also protect Bruce’s legacy of simplicity and intuitiveness in his original creations, Thomas readily admits that a new design will be developed. The storied brand has powerful name recognition and meaning.  

Something else he shares with us: The company will be inviting and sponsoring design competitions around the world at places like the legendary Art Center College of Design, Royal College of Art, Pforzheim School of Design and CCS. This will create a global, youthful energy of fresh thinking that will be inspired by Bruce Meyers's lifelong creative brilliance. Meyers Manx will also invite a who's-who roster of visiting designers to design future ideas and create collections. Freeman also hints at a possible EV Meyers Manx.       

Photo courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum

As for Bruce and Winnie Meyers, they aren't going anywhere. Even at 94 years old, Manx founder Bruce Meyers still has a childish gleam in his eye and loves being part of the Meyers Manx story.

Basic Meyers Manx kits start at just $2400 and can be found on the Meyers Manx website.

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stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
12/4/20 9:52 p.m.

Cool.  I didn't know new bodies were still available, and for only $2400 why try to restore a beat up original.

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