The Meyers Manx — a legend born atop another legend. Few vehicles have achieved international fame in such a short period on Earth as the Manx, which counted speed records, international racing wins and movie stardom among its achievements in less than a decade of first life. Both Meyers Manx itself and Volkswagen have flirted with the idea of an all-electric Manx for the 21st century, but it took the recently revamped version of Meyers to make it a reality. With over 200 hp of rear-legged power, the all-new Manx 2.0 Electric sprints from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds, rides for up to 300 miles per charge, and promises nothing but pure, undiluted fun while looking good doing it.
SoCal engineer, boatbuilder and surfer Bruce Meyers launched into automotive immortality when he paired a brilliantly simple homemade body tub with VW Beetle guts to create the world’s first fiberglass dune buggy. Named after a short, agile cat, the Manx quickly became an off-road powerhouse, beating out motorcycles to capture a speed record that kickstarted the Mexican 1000 (now Baja 1000) in 1967, which it also won. It achieved Hollywood fame a year later and became the face of the free-spirited 1960s dune buggy craze, both a blessing and a curse, as a flood of copycats soon followed. The US government even thought so highly of the Manx as to select it as just the second member of the then-new National Historic Car Vehicle Register in 2014. All that, and the original Manx kit cars were only sold between 1964 and 1971.
Copycats and financial issues doomed the original Manx, but Bruce Meyers eventually gave it a second go, reviving the Meyers name and Manx kits in the early 2000s. The new company even beat Volkswagen to toying around with an electric Manx prototype, which carried Bruce himself around during his namesake’s 50th anniversary proceedings.
We never heard about the electric Manx V after that initial prototype debut, and Bruce and his wife Winnie sold the Meyers Manx brand to venture capitalist Phillip Sarofim and his firm Trousdale Ventures in 2020. Bruce passed away last year at the age of 94, but his namesake company and famous design live on through the newly reinvigorated brand.
Sarofim prides himself on being hands on with the companies in his portfolio, and he approached the purchase of Meyers Manx with a purpose, hiring highly seasoned automotive design expert Freeman Thomas to serve as CEO and design chief of the venture. A former VW, DaimlerChrysler and Ford design executive, Freeman’s resume dates back to the 1980s and includes work on legends and outlaws like the Porsche 959, Audi TT and outrageous Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle concept.
Remaking a beloved icon and cult classic is an incredibly difficult task, but from our desk chair, Thomas has nailed it. He’s effectively captured the beautiful simplicity of the original Meyers Manx within a slightly smoother, more modern body that visually hovers over the ruggedly shod baby moon center-capped wheels. Unlike the 2014 Manx V, the new Manx 2.0 Electric has standalone headlamps, a light front push bar and a roll bar hoop inspired by the very first Manx, remembered fondly as “Old Red.”
“I am so glad that Bruce trusted us to carry his legacy into the future,” said Thomas. “The new Manx 2.0 Electric is designed to exceed expectations. It’s simple and endearing and taps into the spirit of playfulness. The ageless design brings out your inner child. It’s about passion.”
That mesmerizingly gorgeous deep green doesn’t hurt, either.
The Manx 2.0 Electric has a wider, lower feel than the original owing to roughly 9 extra inches (23 cm) of width and 4 fewer inches (10 cm) of height versus Old Red. It also measures over 10 inches longer, extending out to 123.5 in (3,137 cm) total while riding on an 82-in (2,080-mm) wheelbase.
The extra size does bring a little extra weight, but the new e-Manx still keeps things plenty light and breezy, scaling in at an estimated 1,500 lb (680 kg) when carrying a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery or 1,650 lb (748 kg) with 40-kWh battery. The original Old Red weighed 1,420 lb (644 kg), according to documentation held by the Library of Congress.
The Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric houses a 202-hp dual-motor drive at the rear, staying true to the RWD spirit of the original Manx. When wired neatly to the larger 40-kWh battery, that e-drive powers the buggy from standstill to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in 4.5 seconds, allowing it to wander for up to 300 miles (483 km) per charge during more leisurely driving.
Regenerative rear braking helps keep the battery bars above baseline, and an independent rear suspension absorbs impact from the big airs any half-adventurous driver will be seduced into sending. An all-aluminum monocoque, front and rear disc brakes, and electric-assist steering are also part of the planned specs.
Meyers Manx held a private reveal for its electric buggy on Monday and will host a public world premiere on August 19 at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, three years after Volkswagen showed its Manx-inspired electric ID. Buggy concept to the same car-crazed Monterey Car Week crowds. Unlike the Manx kit cars of the past, plans call for formal production, starting in 2023 with a batch of 50 Manx 2.0 Electric pre-production cars slated for beta testers. Production car deliveries will follow in 2024.
Meyers Manx plans to team with a US-based manufacturing partner and is still finalizing pricing. Likewise, all specs are preliminary targets and subject to change. Preorders and beta tester applications will open up after the formal premiere on August 19.
Source: Meyers Manx