The Meyers Manx launched the dune buggy legacy, and now it’s back as an electric vehicle with a similar goal.
The world’s most iconic dune buggy is back. The Meyers Manx has returned, but this time instead of an air-cooled Volkswagen motor, the buggy has gone electric.
Bruce Meyers didn’t make the first Volkswagen to off-roader conversion, but he did make the conversion accessible. Drawing on his experience building sailboats, Meyers designed and built a fiberglass shell that combined the fenders and body into something that could be attached to a modified Volkswagen frame with the Beetle’s air-cooled flat-four engine.
The oddballs were street legal but ready to head into the desert. Even winning the first-ever Mexican 1000 — the predecessor to the Baja 1000 — and beating motorcycles, trucks, and cars.
Around 6,000 were built, on top of countless copies stealing the design. The company stopped building the cars in 1971, but the California icon lives on.
The Meyers brand was bought from Bruce Meyers in 2020, not long before he passed in 2021.
Manx Returns With New Beetle Designer
Under the new ownership, automotive designer Freeman Thomas was brought in to design the Manx 2.0. He’s also CEO and COO.
Thomas isn’t a household auto design name, but he probably should be. His credits include the Volkswagen New Beetle, Audi TT, V10 Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle concept, Panoz Roadster, and the 2005 versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
Manx 2.0 will be revealed at The Quail, part of Monterey Car Week. It’s an event that is big on low-volume, boutique, and high-end vehicles, so even if Meyers doesn’t have a price for us yet, that should give you an idea of the target for the car.
Thomas might have taken a break designing this one. If you told us that this was an original Manx with new taillights, we’d believe you. On the other hand, if a classic isn’t broken, you don’t always need to fix it.
The frog-eye headlights, wheel arches to hold tall off-road tires, and the roll bars that look more for decor than function are all there. The bars look a little beefier this time, though, as Meyers is showing a kayak affixed to them for transport.
Just one photo shows the inside, but the Manx 2.0 Electric looks to have lots of cabin space in the small footprint, along with a very cool LED-lit retro center gauge pod.
Two Electric Powertrains Offered
Two battery packs will be offered, one with 20 kWH, and the other with 40. The smaller pack tips the scales at an estimated 1,500 pounds, impressively light for an EV. Fit the big pack and you’re still looking at just 1,650 pounds. Credit the aluminum monocoque design instead of fiberglass attached to an existing chassis.
The smaller battery should deliver an estimated 150-mile range. That doubles to 300 with the larger pack. Meyers says the larger pack will get a 202-horsepower, 240-pound-feet of torque electric motor, eclipsing all but the most heavily modified originals. Horsepower for the 20 kWH version is not yet available.
One motor will power each rear wheel, with the motor, inverter, and even the brakes housed in a single unit. Meyers expects the car to be able to hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
DC fast charging at up to 60 kW will be an option. A 6kW onboard charger allows Level 2 power. Tech features for the Manx 2.0 will include an RFID wristband to start the vehicle, with phone app access coming down the road.
It’s the first new Meyers vehicle since 1970. Meyers expects to start building the Manx 2.0 Electric next year, delivering the first 50 in 2023. The company plans to use feedback from customers of those first 50 to refine the production version going forward.