A beautiful California resort town and the Dune Buggy come together in celebration of the great outdoors. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/MANX_Rally_News.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - July 12, 2014 The Meyers Manx gathering this morning with the many Manx kit shells and other VW kit dune buggy’s on display. Big Bear Lake, Calif. -- According to Dune Buggy Archives, some of the first dune buggies from the late 50s and early 60s were simply standard cars with their bodies removed and larger tires added. It was these first sand vehicles that provided the impetus for the Meyers Manx and many additional kits that followed. Bruce Meyer is recognized as the creator/designer of the modern day Dune Buggy. While there have been hundreds of copies since his initial kit sold back in 1964, it was his fiberglass body fitted to a shortened VW Bug floorpan that was the beginning of what we know as the Dune Buggy today. The Meyers Manx kits numbered more than 5,280. Due to its popularity, other manufacturers copied and produced over 200,000 copies. According to one member I spoke with last night, Bruce protected his design with the Sand Vehicle patent. Patent infringement cases followed which Bruce eventually lost. This is unfortunate as the Dune Buggy would not exist as we know it without his simple lightweight design idea. The Meyers Manx 50th Anniversary To celebrate the 50th year of the Manx, Manx Club members and dune buggy enthusiasts the continent over gathered at the Big Bear Bash 2014, at the Northwood’s Resort in Big Bear Lake, California. And guess where I happened to be staying? The Dune buggy owners and enthusiasts began arriving and settling into the Big Bear area on Wednesday even though official activities were not scheduled until the following morning with an official kickoff held this morning, Saturday May 12, 2014. To begin, Friday saw groups heading out for 2 days of off-roading in the Big Bear Lake area. The official kickoff occurred this morning with a parade circling Big Bear Lake. After that run, the “Show and Shine” competition was held with votes being tallied for the various categories of Dune Buggy’s in the parking lot This evening, the 50th anniversary celebration included a number of presentations with Bruce Meyer on hand to provide some history and authenticity. Unfortunately I was long gone by the time that event kicked off. Tom Hanson, an EV Golf Cart seller/servicer hailing from Orange, Calif., with his own Manx provided much of the history. Tom spent more than half an hour talking with me about the Meyers Manx dune buggy body shell and the Manx Club. This annual gathering had over 250 vehicles on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary. The dune buggy passion and brain trust in Big Bear Lake was overwhelming. Some of the owners went retro with their 1835 air cooled VW engines; drum brakes, and stock suspensions, using Manx body kits. Some of the used ones were fetched for as little as $1,500 with some personal work to get them roadworthy. Some went mild with hopped up bug engines, upgraded brakes, cages and the Manx body kits with personalization from vinyl all-weather coverings to original or aftermarket headlamps, taillamps, and gauges. And some went wild. Wild meaning upwards of $60 to $80k for custom chassis and off-road long travel double wishbones front and rear, racing discs all around, and either Subaru boxer or GM EcoTech engines outback. Tom Hanson, thank you so much for all of the detail! I unfortunately did not run into Bruce Meyers, the father of the VW dune buggy and maker of the Meyers Manx shells at the rally. I wanted to meet him in person and pass along a hello from a friend, Paul Brian of Drive Chicago fame. All in, there was a lot of energy and excitement for the dune buggy's in Bear Lake, Calif. to celebrate the 50th. A favorite. A VW Dune Buggy and the 2014 Audi A6 TDI. The Kublewagon replica of a WWII German Desert Staff car built on a full length Bug floorpan. One individual told me this is the one and only. The gathering in just one completely full hotel parking lot with tens to hundreds of dune buggy’s spread out all over town. Big Bear Lake, Calif. Big Bear Lake -- host to this year’s Big Bear Bash 2014 -- is a small town of just over 5,000 located in the San Bernardino Mountains. Being a popular year-round resort destination, the actual number of people visiting the area regularly exceeds 100,000 during many weekends of the year. It was the Grizzly Bear gave the town its name although only Black bears are found in the area today. For an idea as to what this town has to offer, here are some of the vista’s looking back over the mountains and over the lake proper that Manx Club members are experiencing at this very moment. And it looks far better in person. View to the back of Snow Summit. Looking out over the lake from Snow Summit. Big Bear Lake is a truly beautiful locale.