Bruce Meyers, creator of the Meyers Manx dune buggy passes away at 94
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Famous for turning VW Beetles into iconic sand-bashing buggies, Bruce Meyers lived a very colourful life that saw him go from the army to being an artist, before winning the Baja 1000 with one of his own buggies.
Unfortunately, the American pioneer passed away late last week, but Meyers leaves behind a legacy that's certainly worth celebrating.
Meyers' story starts in 1926 when he was born in Los Angeles. After high school, he enlisted with the Merchant Marines and served in the Navy throughout WWII. The aircraft carrier that he was assigned on was hit by Kamikaze pilots, leaving Meyers to bail over the side before saving a pilot from drowning.
After the war, Meyers returned to the US, and started life drawing. At the same time, he was surfing and off-road racing, but wanted to find a vehicle that could handle the beach better than his Ford hot rod.
Soon after, Meyers' first buggy was cast from fibreglass, and named the Manx after the short-tailed cat. This buggy was exactly what Meyers needed on the sand, and inspired him to make his own racing team.
In 1967, Meyers and his team packed up "Old Red", and shipped it down the country to compete in the Baja 1000. Old Red managed to complete the 1440km trek in 34 hours and five minutes, beating the last record (set by a motorcycle) by more than five hours.
To try and kickstart his business, Meyers build twelve of these buggies, but soon released that it was impossible to sell the Manx for a profit using this business plan, so he looked into other processes.
After working out that chassis of the Volkswagen Beetle would fit with some shortening, Manx set about building his kits, and managed to sell almost 7000 units by 1970.
While the orders kept pouring in, Meyers wasn't able to keep up with demand, and around 70 knockoff companies jumped in on the market. Unfortunately, Meyers was unable to defend his patent in court, and decided to pack it in.
For the last twenty years of his life, Meyers and his wife were very active in Manx clubs across the world, visiting different areas and keeping the dream alive.