Sand Cars Features

Golden Anniversary of the Meyers Manx

Bruce Meyers and friends celebrate 50 years of the iconic fiberglass dune buggy
By Michael Sommer | May 16, 2014

Photos by Michael Sommer


Fifty years ago, when Bruce Meyers finished the process of applying the gel coat to the very first fiberglass Meyers Manx body, he created much more than a dune buggy. Meyers created a legacy that has been embraced by people from all walks of life, a dune buggy that has been used for everything from conquering the Baja 1000 to recreational sand duning, and quartermile drag racing to cruising city streets on a sunny afternoon with the family on board.
Meyers, who considers himself an artist that later began making cars, gave birth to a fiberglass art form that is still very much alive today — not unlike an oil painting brushed by a master such as Picasso or Rembrandt. The art continues to live with a spirit of its own. Even though there will always be imitators looking to make a buck by selling copycats of the original work, true art continues to vibrate with the spirit given to it by the Creator. This is the experience that many people are seeking.
The Meyers Manx name is what everyone recognizes when you tell them you have a dune buggy and they ask “what kind?”. It's the golden ticket to wind-in-the-face freedom whether you’re blazing an off-road trail or blasting down the highway. The car’s logo, depicting a manx cat gripping a battle sword is the badge of honor when it comes to identifying a fiberglass buggy as authentic. Should you have an authentic version and are lucky enough to meet Bruce Meyers in person, he will gladly put a Sharpie to the gel coat and elevate your car’s prestige with a signature from the Creator. This is the equivalent of people who have crossed paths with Carrol Shelby and were lucky enough to have him sign their Cobra. More about the Meyers and Shelby connection in a moment — yes there is an historic relationship.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Meyers Manx birth, there was a festive celebration on May 8, 2014. It was held at the Cannery Restaurant in Newport Beach, California, only a block or so away from where Meyers had his first shop. The event was organized in large part by Meyers’ close friend, Marty Fiolka, who is also an author, off-road racer and Executive Producer of the Baja Social Club film. Fiolka secured the venue, sent out announcements to the media and close friends of Meyers, as well as past employees of B.F. Meyers and Company.
Cameron Steele emceed the event and did an awesome job keeping people entertained while hitting the bulls eye with accurate historical information about Meyers and the off-road industry which Meyers helped spawn through the birth of the Manx kit which anyone could purchase and assemble themselves.
There were several vintage Meyers Manx race cars on display, including this original Meyers Tow'd racer that's unrestored. This very car competed in the 1968 NORRA Stardust 7-11 and was then garaged for decades. Also on display was a Meyers Tow'd street buggy. The Tow'd was first sold in 1968 by B.F. Meyers & Co. and designed to be a towable off-road vehicle, hence where it got the name "Tow'd."
Appearances were also made by dignitaries such as Rush Hill II, Mayor of Newport Beach, Chris Palmer, Congressman John Campbell’s Deputy District Director, Stewart Reed (pictured above) who is Head of Transportation at the Pasadena Art Center of Design and the designer of the Manx SR, Fred Williams, President of Rev-TEC, Scott Drolet, Manx Club President and Dianne Parker who is a representative of the Historic Vehicle Association. In this photo, Stuart Reed poses in front of his personal SR, which he is credited with designing during his twenties while working at B.F. Meyers & Co.
Bruce Meyers gave a wonderful talk during the luncheon, describing the formation of B.F. Meyers & Co. and sharing a few entertaining stories about the early days of the Meyers Manx. Bruce is now 88 years-young.
There were all types of vehicles on display, including this new stunning Manxter RX. This car can be purchased in kit form and assembled to your liking whether it be a street buggy or a dual-sport off-road car.
Stewart Reed paused for a moment to illustrate his concept for the SR in the sketch book of an attendee at the event. He talked about how he followed the basic lines of the Manx but added a roof and more of a roadster design.
Marty Fiolka was the motivation behind organizing this event. He also helped put together a team of people that fulfilled Bruce Meyers' dream of completing the 2014 NORRA 1000 off-road race. We will provide more details about this incredible achievement in the July issue of Sand Sports. In this photo, Fiolka describes how the original Meyers shop was right up the street, less than two blocks from the Cannery Restaurant.
Bruce Meyers gives an interview to Dave Kunz, the automotive correspondent for Channel 7 news. They chose to do the interview in this car since Old Red was recently inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register, which is a 360,000 member national organization focused on preserving and celebrating America's automotive heritage. In January 2014, the HVA announced the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe as the first automobile to be recorded into the National Historic Vehicle Register. Bruce Meyers' 1964 Old Red was the 2nd vehicle to be inducted into this association. What an honor for Bruce and the Meyers Manx. This is the honorable connection that Bruce Meyers shares with Carrol Shelby.
Posing next to this famous black and white photo that shows Bruce Meyers and Ted Mangles, back in the 1960s, is Bruce Meyers and Vic Wilson. Vic Wilson and Ted Mangles were the first overall winners of the 1967 NORRA Mexican 1000 off-road race, and it was Wilson who created the infamous Bug-In VW events that were held at OCIR as well as the Saddleback Park racing facility in Orange County, California.
During the 50th Anniversary event, Rev-TEC debuted an electric version of the Meyers Manxter. We will have a detailed story on this high-tech electric vehicle in the July/August 2014 issue of Sand Sports magazine. But we can tell you that it will reach a top speed of over 60 mph and run for about 4 hours on a full battery charge. Beats a Prius, that's for sure!

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