Video: Jay Leno Reviews Meyers Manx Dune Buggy
The dune buggy is one of those iconic vehicular statements, one that declares a desire to have fun above all else. However, few people actually know the origin story behind this simple idea, even among dedicated gear heads.
One gear head that knows the story by heart is Jay Leno. In this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, special guest Bruce Meyers takes a ride with Jay in one of the original dune buggies. But before you hit play on this charming video, a brief history lesson…
Bruce Meyers is the Californian engineer, artist, and surfer who produced the original dune buggy kit car as we know it today. Using experience wrought from building boats, Meyers created his first buggy prototype in his garage using a fiberglass shell and the suspension from an old Chevrolet pickup. The design was simple: strap a Volkswagen Beetle engine and transmission onto a lightweight, minimalist body, minus the hood and roof, and hang on. It was dubbed the Manx, after the tailless cat breed, due to its stubby appearance and cornering prowess.
Despite plenty of fanfare, only 12 original Meyers Manx kits were ever created due to the high expense of production. However, with Meyers at the wheel, the Manx was able to demolish the record rally time between Ensenada and La Paz, and off-road racing was changed forever.
Even though it was a monster in the dirt, the Meyers Manx managed to delight gear heads from every province of Motordom. Hot Rod magazine even featured it in 1966, proving its likability knew no boundaries.
As its popularity grew, several copycats began to appear, and despite holding a patent, Meyers lost the court case to defend it, giving way to a nearly endless stream of imitations of the iconic California cruiser.
Hopefully, with videos like this, the Meyers Manx and its creator will get credit where credit is due.