VW Announce A New Dune Buggy But It’s No Match For The Original Meyers Manx
The dune buggy returns! Volkswagen will reveal its new fully-electric interpretation of the iconic design at the Geneva Motor Show in March. True to the original it’s got no fixed roof or doors, and it sits on large wheels with off-road tires, though that is about where the similarities end. VW’s inspiration was the original 1964 Meyers Manx creation, designed by Californian artist and engineer Bruce Meyers (not to be confused with LA car collector Bruce Meyer). It was based on the floorpan and running gear of an aircooled Type 1 Beetle. Meyers, now in his 90s but as lively and mischievous as ever, says he based the design on the curves of a beautiful woman.
Volkswagen’s new version is described by head designer Klaus Bischoff in more politically-correct terms… “A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels. These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create.” The interesting point is that Volkswagen’s new electric platform can be used for low-volume creations as well as mass-market vehicles. The original Beetle floorpan was used in the same way, with around 250,000 individual vehicles built as one-offs or at low volumes right through to the 1980s. Many of these were Dune Buggies, and though there had been VW-based buggies before, it was the Meyers Manx that defined the genre. The first Meyers Manx, “Old Red” (shown here with Bruce Meyers in 2014) has even been inducted into the USA’s National Historic Vehicle Register. Around 7000 were sold, and they won races (including the first Mexico 1000) and, unfortunately for Meyers, inspired thousands of replicas.
It’s not the first time Volkswagen has tried a modern-day Dune Buggy. In 2004 it showed the Concept T at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and a Dune concept of the current Beetle was shown in 2014 with raised ground clearance, all-terrain tires and, confusingly, a pair of skis on the roof…