In our fourth installment this week of December’s 2016’s Ride of the Month nominations, we feature the 1965 VW Manx presented by nominee Kevin Seagraves. Here is some general information about the ride.
Note: This is not information about the actual vehicle nominated for December’s Ride of the Month, just general information on the ride itself. Please check the link at the bottom of today’s article to view all the actual cars nominated for this month’s Ride of the Month.
The brightly colored, open-wheeled fiberglass shell of the 1965 VW Manx dune buggy may have grabbed much of the attention. However, underneath that shell was a shortened VW Beetle chassis and drivetrain. In fact, the Manx name was inspired by the breed of cat that invoked a sense of the “stubbiness” of the shortened chassis.
The VW Manx was the brainchild of Bruce F. Meyers, a California inventor also known for his surfing, engineering and boat building prowess. In many ways, the man behind the Manx is as legendary as the dune buggy itself. Bruce Meyers survived kamikaze attacks while aboard the USS Bunker Hill in 1944. 23 years later, he completed his first Baja 1,000-mile race in a VW Manx.
Early on, the Manx dominated various off-road racing competitions. A prototype Manx was entered in the Ensenada to La Paz race, with Meyers and another amateur racer breaking the existing 39-hour record by over four hours. The winning vehicle was lauded worldwide as it defeated all manner of entrants including motorcycles and trucks. After the Manx won the inaugural Mexico 1000, it graced the cover of Hot Rod Magazine in August 1966. The Manx attracted the attention of Hollywood filmmakers, who used it in films, like the 1968 production of “The Thomas Crown Affair” and a number of Elvis Presley movies.
1965 VW Manx Engine and Chassis
The open-wheeled fiberglass shell is affixed to a VW Beetle frame shortened by 14.25 inches. The Manx was powered by Volkswagen Beetle H4 flat-four engines displacing anywhere from 1.2L to 1.6L. A Manx cat has a short tail and long legs. Likewise, the shortened VW Manx rode high which allowed for a tight turning radius.
From 1964 to 1971, Meyers’ Fountain Valley, California, company produced approximately 6,000 dune buggies. Unfortunately, the success of the Manx had also attracted imitators. It is estimated that 250,000 copies were produced globally. The company ran into problems upholding its patent when the judge ruled that the general design was not patentable.
Decades later, however, Meyers began to manufacture updated vehicles inspired by the original VW Manx dune buggy. These new buggies have been produced since the year 2000. According to Car and Driver, the modern Manx is capable of a 5.2-second 0-60 time.
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