Minty-Green Meyers Manx Dune Buggy Is Our Bring a Trailer Auction Pick of the Day
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 through May 30.
Car and Driver
If there were an official car of the Endless Summer, it would be the Meyers Manx dune buggy. Not just any dune buggy, but a Meyers Manx, the very vehicle king-of-cool bookends Steve McQueen and Elvis chose for on-screen and personal duty. 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.
Though the current BaT headline eschews a specific model year, this Manx was labeled a 1968 model in a previous auction held elsewhere in March of 2021. Its omission here is largely irrelevant, as the Manx, much like the California Dream it embodies, is timeless. It exists in a different realm entirely, one where it’s always 72 degrees and sunny, and the occupants are perpetually young. It is, however, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Bruce Meyers validating the serial number—the serial plate appears to be original—and its registry ID number, granting it an unassailable pedigree. That said, the seller indicates 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 spiderweb cracks and damage. Although these cars are often subjected to dubious customizations, this Manx takes the high road with a classic chrome rollbar, the politely titled “nudge” bar, a chromed windshield support, and chrome headlamp buckets. Turn indicators ride discretely atop the front suspension mounting points below the front fenders. The chrome Cragar S/S wheels were arguably the most popular aftermarket wheel in the late ’60s and look right at home here, though we wouldn’t argue with a set of deep-dish steelies with purpose-built tires for serious beach duty. Likewise, we might ditch the black “Manx” lettering on the side panels.
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Interior upholstery is basic black vinyl, so we’d recommend keeping a few light-colored beach towels on hand lest you torch your buns, back, and thighs after leaving this dune buggy parked in the sun. The black floormats and interior tub finish add to the solar gain. The Wolfsburg-branded lap belts and front disc brakes add a welcome measure of safety.
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Power is supplied by a 1.6-liter flat-four Volkswagen air-cooled engine with the appropriate mods, including dual Solex H40/44EIS carburetors and a Scintilla magneto. (Though the original carbs are no longer manufactured by the former French Solex company, a large, international aftermarket, licensing, and enthusiast support network ensures their viability for decades.) A Hurst “trigger” shifter selects from four gears, and a roller accelerator pedal provides for smooth throttle inputs. A degree pulley makes for improved visibility when dialing tuning. (Don’t forget to adjust your valves regularly, and keep an eye on that pesky #3 exhaust valve.) Chrome engine tins and pulleys add to the shine, as does a ceramic-coated Tri-Mil dual exhaust system.
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Though the metal-bodied EMPI Sportster buggy was incubating around the same time, and several other long-forgotten pioneers were on the same track, 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 its title as the modern dune buggy of record with his “Old Red” prototype that he and Ted Mangels piloted to a record-setting run in the 1967 Baja 1000.
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The “production” Manx—Meyer sold them primarily in kit form for a number of reasons—like the one in this auction, benefitted from a certain level of, um, “refinement,” without diluting the core vision. That type of single-minded purpose is a rarity, more so when an idea comes to fruition in an actual physical product that reflects the mood of a generation. And that guarantees it a spot in the annals of pop culture for eternity.
The car is listed by a private owner, is located in Danville, California, and is accompanied by a copy of Manx Mania magazine in which we assume it appears, and a clean California title in the seller’s name, listing it as a 1955 Volkswagen.
Andrew Wendler brings decades of wrenching, writing, and editorial experience with numerous outlets to Car and Driver. A rust-belt native and tireless promoter of the region, he once won a $5 bet by walking the entire length of the elevated People Mover track that encircles downtown Detroit.