You Can Build This Fun Car for $635!

From the April 1967 challenge of Vehicle and Driver.

The Meyers Manx is all points to all males. Our 1st glimpse of a single was from directly astern, and it seemed like some sort of insane scout automobile, a mixed-up command car or truck. Its maker senses in it a thing of the typical character of Mercer Race­abouts and Apperson Jackrabbits. No two of its 250-odd entrepreneurs see it exactly the exact same way.

The outside styles say it truly is excellent for pack excursions and looking expedi­tions. Incredibly hot-rodders hail it as the re­incarnation of the avenue roadster. Kooky ladies feel it’s kinky, or is it vice versa? Annoyed executives won’t be able to choose if it really is superior suited as a station car or truck or as an escape module. Surfers swear it really is the woody of the long term. Sober, pragmatic adult males rationalize their passion for it by tell­ing by themselves that it can be a practical, reduced-price tag, all-purpose utility run­about. Motorcyclists allow for as how it’s pretty much as great as getting two bikes. Sports activities-car lovers say it provides additional enjoyment for each pound than a Ferrari GTO. Pontiac GTO proprietors attempt to glance the other way . . . unsuccessfully. And dune buggy rac­ers say it is the finish. The only matter they all agree on is that it is really extra soul-releasing, leaping, bounding, uninhibited enjoyment than anything at all else they have at any time driven—on or off the street. We’ll buy that.

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The Meyers Manx is the perfect answer for the male who’d relatively roll his have. It truly is a package vehicle. It charges $635, plus whatsoever you have to shell out for the Volkswagen areas required to complete it, as well as labor—unless you do it you. It’s not tough to assemble any person with normal mechanical potential could do the work above a few of weekends. And for energy: Volkswagen, Cor­vair, Porsche—you name it.

That is a single of the fantastic issues about the Meyers Manx—its only limitation is your own creativity. You can purchase the basic kit (there’s an even extra essential, stripped kit for $498), spend $100 for a wrecked VW, throw it with each other and forget about it, or you can create it up with all new components and tender loving care. It really is your choice—all the way up to a 200-hp motor, metalflake paint job, luxurious interior, difficult top rated, facet curtains, magazine wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, fully adjustable suspension, and racing tires.

The Meyers Manx is the motor vehicle for the gentleman who’s fed up with sellers, wheelers, manufacturing facility-installed solutions he would not want, trade-ins, discount rates, large tension, tricky sell—the whole bag. About fifty percent the buyers of B. F. Meyers and Business are worn out businessmen who buy a Manx to put collectively in their spare time, a proj­ect they assume will take their thoughts off their do the job. They say they’ll give it to the little ones as a present when they are finished, but like electric trains at Christmastime, they can’t permit go. The kids you should not see considerably of the Manx that Daddy crafted, nor of Daddy, for that matter—he’s off blowing his head on some winding state highway.

That’s another wonderful point about the Meyers Manx. It can be a actual motor vehicle. You can license it, and insure it, and generate it anywhere, whenever. With the prime and aspect curtains in area, it is really as snug and watertight as any minimal imported roadster. You can hook up the heater and make it all heat and toasty in sub-zero temperature. With snow tires, it will go via blizzards that would quit a snowmobile in its tracks. With super­-balloons, it’s going to dust dunes with the ideal four-wheel-generate Jeeps and Bron­cos. And with racing tires, it will out­handle and outbrake any sporting activities car we have ever examined.

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Even though the Manx was originally developed as a dune buggy, it is really equal­ly at residence on pavement. 1 of the maker’s preferred tricks to demon­strate the mountain-goat agility of the Manx is to drive it on to a single of these 45-degree cobblestone slopes beneath a freeway bridge. The demonstrator steers the Manx straight up under the girders, racks the wheel more than, and leaves it racing all around in a little circle up there on the steep incline like it was gyro-stabilized, even though the passenger hangs on for expensive, sweet life. This act is generally adopted by a leap off a precipice onto and across a industry of basketball-­sized rocks, overland to the seashore, a quick tour at terrifying angles in excess of the sand dunes, then down to the water’s edge to velocity together, actively playing tag with the waves, and finally—­mercifully—home once more.

We managed to keep our equi­librium all through this stage of the test, but genuinely received unhinged when we slipped guiding the wheel for the panic prevent from 80 mph. It squeaked to a halt in an unbeliev­able 204 toes, or 1.05 g—the kind of functionality you only assume to discover in a Chaparral. Difficult! At the very least with stock Volkswagen brakes, we assumed, and experimented with yet again. Hmmm, 210 ft (1.02 g). Everything was checked. Yet again: 207 ft (1.03 g).

The Manx’s dealing with is tough to describe, but in a word, it truly is quick. It really is like donning a pair of pants—you change, it turns. It darts alternatively than steers, and it sticks like mad. Understeer it’s obtained, but soon after sending all our devices off scale at well in excess of 1.00 g, we gave up trying to make it break traction and slide.

1 Corvair-run Manx is the scourge of the gymkhana circuits, getting gained the Southern California autocross championship two yrs running—including taking 22 activities in a row—against all comers: Co­bras, Lotus Tremendous Sevens, and all. Yet another Manx won some kind of nutball race in excess of rock trails in the Colorado foothills. A stock Manx could likely win the Large Bear motorbike enduro outright, if it was suitable. In truth, a single four-wheel-generate club outlawed the Manx from its dune races due to the fact the Manx has only two-wheel generate, which the out­raged club users stated gave it an unfair gain. Sour dune grapes.

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But the Manx’s best victory­—the legend that will be passed from technology to generation—was at previous year’s Pikes Peak hillclimb. Ted Trevor, operator of the Crown Manu­facturing Firm, maker of kits to adapt Corvair engines to Manxes, Volkswagens, and Porsches, towed his racing Manx from California to Colorado with his street Manx. Don Wilcox, who experienced by no means found the hill prior to, skilled Trevor’s Corvair­-driven Manx over the brief training course in 6:03.4. Running in the less than-305-cubic-inch athletics-automobile course, the Manx was faster than all the sports autos, in­cluding Ak Miller’s undefeated 427 Cobra Kit Distinctive, and quicker than all but 7 of the highly special­ized Championship hillclimb automobiles. Through the race itself, Wilcox was handily ahead of Miller’s time, and virtually inside of sight of the finish, when a line fell off the gas pump. Wilcox hopped out, ran to a cellphone, and known as Trevor down at the get started line, urging him to race the street car—just for kicks. Trevor jumped into the heavier, fewer-effective avenue Manx and won the class by a 22-2nd margin. Shaken, USAC abol­ished the sports-automobile class for 1967.

Bruce F. Meyers, 40, sole propri­etor of Bruce F. Meyers and Com­pany, is the originator, designer, and builder of the Meyers Manx. Meyers is quite possibly the most gifted fiberglass artist at any time to operate in that tricky medium. He experienced designed a 42-foot fiberglass catamaran, the “Hinano,” with his bare fingers, and was hunting for new layouts to conquer. He experienced sold his previous, beat-up Volkswagen to invest in an old, defeat-up Porsche from a person in Texas, who experienced neglected to explain to him that the car had been rolled and its chassis was relatively out of alignment. Ok, mentioned Bruce F. Meyers, I will make my own damn car.

As a result, the Meyers Manx was born, and suitably adorned with a wonderful es­cutcheon: a rampant Manx cat hoisting aloft a boring, chipped sword. The to start with Manx was a whole fiberglass bathtub carrying Volkswagen run­ning equipment, and it was as strong as a redwood stump. Present-day dune buggies, mostly built from sheet metal and owning no compound curves, had been unsightly as sin. Bruce F. Meyers, being an artist with fiber­glass, designed the most effective-wanting dune buggy at any time. He and his fairly, zany wife Shirley (who was at the time an marketing assistant at R— & T—-, which is why we have not explained to this tale quicker), drove proudly around Newport Seaside, demonstrating off the Manx to all their friends. All their friends needed a copy, and talked him into setting up much more. So Bruce F. Meyers set up store in an previous garage, and started advertising Manx kits at $985 each individual.

Bruce F. Meyers may possibly be a terrific artist, but he is no good business­man, so it was some time in advance of he found out that he was losing income on every motor vehicle he marketed. At this stage, he got some incredibly significant provides from pro­spective producers, primarily com­petitors who had been selling infe­rior buggies until eventually the Manx stole their gross sales. Bruce F. Meyers may well be no great businessman, but he is a perfectionist. He wished to establish Manxes himself so that he could be absolutely sure that they were being being built suitable. It was some time just before he discov­ered just the correct resolution. The Mark II Manx is not a entire fiberglass bathtub, whilst it nonetheless appears like a person it is really a fiberglass overall body that bolts on to a Volkswagen bellypan. This resulted in a shorter, stiffer, much better riding, superior handling, lighter, more powerful, much less expensive Manx, and Meyers the perfectionist was happy.

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Pretty much. He would like to industry the Manx as a done car or truck (as perfectly as a kit), built to the customer’s specific specifications, but he can not be­cause Volkswagen will not likely promote him Beetles with no bodies. Assembling all the pieces from the VW elements bin would operate the labor prices up as well higher, and Bruce F. Meyers is not the form of man who would market you a car constructed from parts scrounged from wrecks (not except he checked ev­erything, suitable down to the final nut and bolt). Probably a wonderful business­man would market you a car or truck like that, but not Bruce F. Meyers.

So the Meyers Manx is only avail­able as a package car, and destined to re­main so right until Volkswagen relents­—if it ever does. (Volkswagen would not market sub-assemblies to any individual ex­cept a little corporation earning VW-­based mail vans for the German federal government.) In the meantime, it really is prob­ably just as very well the persons who have put Manx kits collectively have beloved just about every minute of it. It is a kind of occupational therapy you will find nothing like the delight you can get in one thing you built yourself.

The $498 Manx kit consists of a superbly concluded, laminated fiber­glass human body shell and front deck lid, and a vacuum-formed Cycolac dash­board. The $635 package consists of the above, moreover windshield and frame, headlight housings, cowl frame, rear deck protect, aluminum trim, rubber weatherstripping, fender welts, and all the essential components. The only get the job done on the body is composed of sanding the fender edges and drilling a couple holes. The coloration is impregnated into the fiberglass you can select from Tangerine Pink, Royal Blue, Yuma Yellow, Marine Eco-friendly, or Off White as typical shades.

Preparing the VW chassis to re­ceive the Manx human body is a very little extra concerned, for the reason that it have to be short­ened 14¼ inches. This can be done with a torch, chisel or even a hack­saw, but likelihood are you are going to want to have it completed by the very same individuals that will have to weld it again collectively for you, immediately after all the cables and this sort of inside the spine tunnel are short­ened the corresponding amount.

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From there on in, it is really a snap, be­cause all the VW stuff bolts right in, either to its initial mounts or to mounts presented in the Manx. Even the stock VW wiring harness is utilized. To day, Meyers has marketed 245 of these kits, moreover 12 of the old cars, building B. F. Meyers and Firm Amer­ica’s seventh-most significant auto maker (immediately after General Motors, Ford, Chrys­ler, American, Shelby, and Checker), and Manxes are getting cranked out at the charge of a few a day to meet closely backlogged orders.

The Manx we tested had been set with each other by Meyers himself and is something of a rolling showcase. There are fancier Manxes all-around, and loads of faster kinds. A very well-­known “millionaire-sportsman” is obtaining one particular created with a 210-horse­power Porsche Carrera 6 motor and a 5-speed gearbox. The gym­khana championship car or truck is pow­ered by a hopped-up, turbocharged Corvair motor and can flip about 100 mph in the quarter-mile. Bruce’s private Manx is a tiny over weight, currently being one particular of the early prototypes, and it’s powered by a fatigued previous push­rod Porsche engine Bruce picked up someplace for $650. Its working equipment and transmission are stock VW, with the exception of the wheels and tires (a Porsche gearbox could be utilized, but is not in this automobile).

Thanks to the Manx’s one of a kind styling, just about any combination of wheel and tire may possibly be utilised. Bruce’s Manx has outlandishly substantial Goodyear System A single tires snitched from the Honda workforce, and the broad-rim wheels offered as an option for the motor vehicle. The paint task, a stunning metal­flake gold, is also an alternative, as are the fiberglass hardtop, the side cur­tains, and the roll bar. Usually, VW seats and instruments are re­tained, but Bruce’s auto has Triumph Spitfire seats and Porsche instru­ments. There are also various off­-the-street choices, like dual rear handbrakes for directing the ability to the wheel that has traction in the sand, air-raise shocks at the back again for speedy variations in camber and ground clearance, and a machine for speedy adjustment of the entrance torsion bar angle. Bruce’s Manx also athletics a wooden shift knob and a wooden-rim steering wheel.

This Manx, in individual, was dif­ficult to get into or out of for the reason that the windshield has been lower down three inches for a much more rakish ap­pearance, and the steering column decreased an inch at the cowl for a sportier driving place. The Tri­umph seats are tilted a little aft, earning them 100 p.c additional comfort­able than as positioned in the Spit­fire, but their angle also complex entry and exit. It really is nonetheless easier than, say, clambering into an Excalibur SS or a Lotus Seven. In any case, not getting any doorways will make for an ex­tremely rattle-cost-free structure, which if not may possibly not be the scenario.

Auto and Driver

The interior is incredibly roomy, with additional than ample room for two people today and, on the carpeted shelf driving them, their luggage. There is a recess in the shelf for the spare tire, but none of the expert Manx homeowners carries 1. There is so small fat on the entrance stop that the auto can be driven to a provider station with out harming a flat front tire. If a rear tire blows, it’s merely swapped for one particular of the fronts. Due to the fact the VW floorpan is shortened driving the front seats, legroom is at minimum equivalent to the VW’s. With the Spitfire seats, it is measurably far better.

The Manx’s aerodynamics are bad, and high-gear acceleration earlier mentioned 70 mph is slow with the 88-hp Porsche engine. A lot of Manx entrepreneurs use the 1500-cc motor from VW transporters and ’67 Beetles and can outdig the Porsche-engined automobile up to 50 mph. The best compromise seems to be a VW engine with Corvair barrels and pistons, a 1700-cc setup that offers incredibly substantial torque in the lower velocity ranges, and enough at the top conclusion to cruise very easily at 80 mph. Even a Manx with an outdated 25-hp Beetle en­gine moves out pretty smartly be­cause the vehicle weighs a 3rd fewer than the Volkswagen sedan.

Bruce’s motor vehicle experienced a amazingly smooth and supple journey, contemplating the stiffness of the Goodyear racing tires. Almost any mix of journey and handling is attainable. In addition to the pretty much unlimited com­binations of wheels and tires, there is a wide range of unique-fee torsion bars from the VW parts catalog, dif­ferent anti-sway bars (or the For­mula V trick of uncoupling the up­per torsion bar peg so that it acts like an anti-sway bar), and a vast selection of shock absorbers and han­dling equipment from outside sup­pliers, like Ted Trevor—he of the Pikes Peak assault—and his Crown Production Corporation (651 W. 17 St., Costa Mesa, Calif.). Trevor, working in shut conjunction with Meyers, produced the twin rear handbrake and many unique sus­pension pieces, as very well as the Cor­vair conversion kits.

meyers manx

Auto and Driver

One merchandise sorely missed on Bruce’s car or truck was the rear bumper. It really is a fairly strong one, readily available as an solution and strongly encouraged, but was off the exam auto for chroming. The Manx’s only sensible disadvantage is the point that it really is so open up. The engine hanging less than the tail may be a temptation if you remaining it parked in a lousy community, but couple of vehicles have locking engine compartments any­way. You could mount a lock on the entrance decklid to hold your valuables harmless, but or else you will have to take them with you.

So that is Bruce F. Meyers and his Manx. You could replicate the a person revealed in this article for fewer than $2500. You could construct a considerably fewer in­teresting one particular for as tiny as $800, or an all-out product for as significantly as $4000. No matter how you slice the cheese, if at any time there was a greater mousetrap, this has got to be it. A very little scout car with the effectiveness of a sports automobile. A dune duster that is as functional as any road roadster ever developed. An off-the-street auto that handles on pavement like a racing car or truck. A pushrod Porsche­-run bug with the acceleration of a 911. A VW-based mostly kit with high quality and workmanship to match the Beetle by itself. A do-it-on your own proj­ect that you can get serviced any­where. Transportation which is each functional and exciting. If Rommel experienced experienced these issues in the North Afri­can marketing campaign, it may have been Monty who was pinned to the desert flooring at El Alamein.

Do yourself a favor. This spring, construct a Meyers and place a small Manx in your daily life.

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