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Grace
Hagerty Employee

5 spunky alternatives to the Meyers Manx dune buggy

Anyone who has ever thought about buying a 1960s- or '70s-era dune buggy eventually learns the well-traveled history of Bruce Meyers and the Meyers Manx. It is, unquestionably, the gold standard of dune buggies and the uniquely American original over which collectors obsess. Countless pages are devoted to its history, its development, and its eventual downfall thanks to Meyers' losing a patent case against one of the larger companies that pilfered his design.

 

If you’re a collector of means and your focus is on originality, the Manx is the dune buggy to have. But what about the rest of us? The ordinary Joes and Janes who love the idea of a dune buggy, have less than ten grand to spend, and want to experience a bit of the dune buggy fever that infected the nation for a few short years into the 1970s?

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/5-spunky-alternatives-to-the-meyers-manx-dune-buggy/

25 REPLIES 25
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

I'd be terrified to drive a cherry condition Manx.  Would love to have one though.  Baja-Bug, random brand fiberglass dune buggy, slammed to the ground beetle- love 'em all!

BMC
New Driver

In the summer of 1980, when I was 14, a friend of my uncle offered me his dune buggy, for free. But my Mom said no. I had just gotten over that, and now you've brought it all back again. Dammit!

spoom
Technician

I really liked the pickup truck concept of the Sandpiper version, until I saw one in person. The nose just looked all wrong. The Manx was just so, "right" truly the first and best. Losing the suit was such a shame, because if he'd won it was still something he could have licensed to others and we still would have had choices. I'm just thinking of the funding/royalties/whatever he could have received going toward actual Manx pickups and Corvair versions in addition to a second Gen "original Manx" with a few minor refinements like perhaps a removable hardtop. Lots of places have more rain and cold than SoCal, and they would have sold well. Though the inevitable safety regs would have doomed street use eventually, cutting the Manx pie into a hundred slices didn't help anyone, IMHO. 

Bettyemae
Intermediate Driver

Anyone else ever have a ‘Mini-T’? It was a bit more sophisticated with it’s convertible top. Around 1970. Very high quality.

vanderjw
Passenger

They failed to mention you can still buy new bodies and chassis etc, from ACME Car Co. I have a new body that I have been putting together for a bit that is a direct copy of a Manx. Its a Berrien Nostalgia from ACME.

richmazz
Passenger

Meyers Manx now sells a Classic body. Why not buy one from the man who created the fiberglass dune buggy?

PeteS
Passenger

I have an early 70's Meyers Manx. There is nothing like the original. Fun to drive, easy to work on (except electrical under the dash). They need to be driven off-road to truly appreciate it's nimbleness.

motorsledge
Intermediate Driver

One thing is for sure; those were the good old days!

Brechless
Passenger

Surprised no mention of the Kyoto by Dean Jeffries. Good looking dune buggy.

Gary20
Passenger

Just one to add to the list.... I bought a Sand Puppy body from Sottile's  in Monroe, MI in 1974 and used it for my Corvair based dune buggy.  Added a fiberglass hardtop which I made removable and a heater and defroster so I could drive it in winter.  Also got a rear frame section that I thought would save me time so I could use the '62 subframe but the mount locations were way off so I had to make do.  Being Corvair based, I never learned so much about a car since just about everything had to be made to work with the VW style floorpan of these buggies.  Lot's of work but pretty cool.

DonKeefe
Passenger

The Dean Jeffries-designed Kyote should have been included. After all, one was featured in the ZZ Top video for "Legs." What more do you need 😉

Bugout
Passenger

I built a Sears buggy back in '72.  The hardest part of the build was cutting 14" out of the frame, and getting the gas filler to fit right.  Loads of fun.  Even more fun getting it through NJ inspection.

964c4
Intermediate Driver

Very nice article about these niche vehicles. Love the industrial history of this era.

DucatiST2rdr
Passenger

The acronym EMPI was for Engineered Motor Products Inc. Just like it says at the bottom of the ad YOU showed in YOUR article. I enjoy the Hagerty stories and information they contain but damn, don't you guys proofread the article before you send it? Sorry to be so critical but it was on the ad. Happy Halloween.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you for this correction, I have revised the article.
vespafitz
New Driver

The acronym EMPI was "European Motor Parts, Inc." when EMPI launched in 1954.
vespafitz
New Driver
OLDERbastard1
Detailer

In high school in the early '70's, a friend of mine had 1 of these type of vehicles. Sorry, I have (and never did) no idea what kind it was. All I remember was it was a butchered monster that was difficult to keep running. But when he did have it right, the rear-mounted 394 Ultra high compression Olds big block SHREDDED the tires!

OLDERbastard1
Detailer

In high school in the early '70's, a friend of mine had 1 of these type of vehicles. Sorry, I have no idea what kind it was (and never did). All I remember was it was a butchered monster that was difficult to keep running. But when he did have it right, the rear-mounted 394 Ultra high compression Oldsmobile big block W/4speed automatic, SHREDDED the tires!

acegan
Pit Crew

Unfortunately if you don’t have the deep pockets or dumb luck to have found or held an original Myers Hagerty doesn’t want you as a client. 

AutoFanGuy
Passenger

I have the understanding that the Meyer's SR was designed by Stewart Reed, not Bruce.  Stewart's car was on display for about a year, say two or three years ago at the Petersen.

Stewrt is head of Automotive design at the Art Center.  He also has Chip Foose's first Camaro mod.

calvin767
Passenger

Deserters are my thing. We have a small group of owners that are trying to keep the history alive. There are some great stories form the early days of Deserter production. The Deserters were used in local autocross events as well as a few that ran in road race events. Alex Dearborn even ran his car in some half mile dirt ovals, won a season championship in ice racing, and of course had some success at Pikes Peak. Great racing history as well as really fun and unique dune buggies. 

chrlsful
Instructor

just completed one for a guy wanted ck over, tune up, repairs, etc.  I swear they all look alike to me (unless radically different). Had the hump over the rear wheels, deep bath tub sides, typical nose, unattached bug eye hdlghts, etc... I swear I saw no markings to indicate what it wuz - anywhere...just don't know where to look, he didn't know.  Makes a difference! Wouldn't want one - specalty vehicle. No application for it here, esp w/o top (in NE usa).

Jimmyscats
Passenger

A good friend my wife and I built my Dad a Sears buggy between 1973 and 76. It appeared much like the one in your picture. Blue metal flake body chrome front and rear bumper,chrome roll bar and chrome exhaust. He also ordered black carpet and front and rear apolstry. We put 14 inch chrome rims on it with wide Mickey Thompson tires. Its still around a bit worse for wear as he let it sit for years. Wonder who made that body.

ACE_Sonoma
Detailer

I might have missed it, but what of the Berry Mini T, and it's Evil Sibling, the C Cab?

Both were great variations on the listed Autodynamics, Kellison, and EMPI offerings, and married the Hot Rod T, A, and Deuce crowd to the Hot Rod V-Dubs...

 

And since you mentioned Kellison et al, how about the Sterling?  Not the Rover/Honda mash-up, which I thought was a great combo, but the VW-based Kit Car produced in West Oakland CA.  My involvement was as a Car Crazy Teenage Parts Delivery Driver for a Buick Dealer, who convinced the builders I could get them the 100 Opel GT front marker lights they craved for their aesthetic value; 'No Problem'!

 

As it turned out, it was a 'bit' of a problem, but was eventually overcome, so that every Sterling built had the swoopy front Park/Side Marker lamps of the German mini-'vette...

 

There was a Manx showroom in Berkeley on University Avenue at California, just across the street from The Ski Hut; one of the earliest 'Go To' places for durable, high quality outdoor adventure gear.  I would go to the 'Hut and buy my hiking socks, lightweight canteen, aluminum cooking gear, Down-filled Sleeping Bag, and then traipse over to drool around, but not ON, the Manx...