50th Anniversary of the Meyers Manx Dune Buggy in Big Bear Lake, California

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] A beautiful California resort town and the Dune Buggy come together in celebration of the great outdoors.

    Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - July 12, 2014


    The Meyers Manx gathering with the many Manx kit shells and other VW kit dune buggy’s on display honored the off-road nature of Meyers design from over 50-years ago.

    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.​
  2. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Will be there soon!
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Ksstathead:

    Look up Groupon for some local deals.

    While I ate breakfast at the hotel with $20 vouchers, some FB friends said get breakfast at Grizzly Manor Cafe.
    Rick Johnson added: +1 on Grizzly Manor.

  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Adding to the story is a new story out of VW celebrating the 50th year of Off-Road Baja Desert Racing.

    This November, the 50th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE Baja 1000 will feature its traditional classes for VW-powered vehicles. The Beetle has more wins in the Baja 1000 than any other model of vehicle by anybody!


    The race will feature “Baja Bugs”as well as Spartan racers using Beetle running gear that have been a part of desert racing for five decades in both Mexico and the U.S.

    Born from the dune buggy and off-roading culture of southern California in the ‘60s, the SCORE Baja 1000 has become renowned in motorsports for the off-road challenge, both in terms of distance and terrain. In 2017, the race course will be approximately 1200 miles long, starting in Ensenada and finishing in La Paz, and is the last round of the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship. This will be the 43rd time the iconic race has started in Ensenada and the 21st time it will finish in La Paz. Throughout, drivers and navigators encounter rocks, steep gullies, washboard roads, blinding dust and sand pits—all of which only becomes more dangerous when racing at night.

    The first race, the Mexican 1000, was held on Oct. 31, 1967, running between Tijuana and La Paz. Of the 68 vehicles that started the first race, only 31 completed the 950-mile trek, with the winning drivers finishing in 27 hours and 38 minutes. There was no certified course—just five checkpoints that teams had to stop at; how they navigated between checkpoints on the dirt roads and trails was up to them. While motorcycles led much of the race, the victory went to Vic Wilson and Ted Mangels, driving a Meyers Manx dune buggy built by Bruce Meyers off a VW Beetle chassis.

    The Meyers Manx was the first four-wheeler to attempt the run, and Meyers sparked the rise of the Baja Bug, a Beetle modified for the harsh environment of desert racing. The modern SCORE Baja 1000 still runs several VW-themed classes, including one for stock-engined, air-cooled Beetle vehicles. Other organizations, such as the Mojave Off-Road Racing Enthusiasts in California, also run these Volkswagen racers. One such Class 11 car, built by Desert Dingo Racing, was acquired by Volkswagen of America as part of its Heritage Collection of historically important VW models.


    Volkswagen thanks all the enthusiasts from Bruce Meyers on who made Baja racing a daring test of skill and endurance for 50+ years and counting.
    BillLin likes this.
  5. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I did a little off-roading in a bone stock Beetle in the mountains of Utah when I was a boy. Except for the limited ground clearance , it was pretty capable.

    And that low low 1st gear was unstoppable.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  6. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    When I was up at the AACA Museum outside of Harrisburg Sept 2016 they had one of the Herbie 53 Love Bug Movie Beetles on display.
    xcel likes this.

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