Written by Gerard Rissik
The 60s were going to be the golden years, they started with John F. Kennedy taking his place as president of the USA, anything and everything was and would be possible. Injustice and inequality would be swept away in a wave of reforms. Political reform was challenged by the ongoing Vietnam war and at home, people were rebelling against that too, so the 60s were also the time of hippies and free love. Of course, the 60s was also the time that Stonewall happened and the modern Gay Rights Movement was kickstarted, beginning massive reform.
In California, a young Bruce Meyers, who was a boat builder and was making a name for himself in dune racing, wanted a vehicle for himself and his friends to use to carry their surfboards across the Baja dunes to the beach so they could go surfing. Sometime in 1963 he grabbed some fibreglass, built a mould and started building himself a buggy, which he would then bolt Volkswagen Beetle engines and suspensions into. To his great surprise, the idea was a tremendous success, it perfectly captured the California spirit, sun, sand, sea and surfing, giving inexpensive freedom to thousands of drivers. Between 1966 and 1970 Meyers built 7000 of his buggies before he lost copyright protection.
The Meyers Manx was and is lightweight and that makes it fast and manoeuvrable and great fun and very easy to drive on the soft sands of beaches and dunes. In designing the Manx Bruce Meyers said that he was trying to give the buggy a sense of Gesture and Motion. After 12 years of building the Manx as an entire fibreglass tub, he changed the design and began building it on a shortened VW chassis. After a 30 year break, Bruce Meyers came back and designed the Manxter which was a 2 + 2 version of the Manx and used a normal full-sized chassis.
It is estimated that there are around 300 000 dune buggies in the world today and Bruce Meyers company is still in existence building Buggies. Sadly Bruce Meyers passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 94, but his memory will live on.