When he was a youngster, Doug James begrudgingly helped his dad advance the ancestors vehicle.
“You’re a kid,” the Calgarian recalls of his adventures greasing the anatomy of the 1959 Mercedes Benz in the driveway. “You don’t absolutely appetite to be accomplishing things like that, but you get roped into it.”
Those chores, though, led him to acknowledge the actuality that all automated accessories crave maintenance. It additionally led him to appreciate, and collect, some rather absorbing rides – such as this Meyers Manx carbon dune buggy based on a adapted 1962 Volkswagen platform.
“I anamnesis account a car magazine, apparently about 1965, that had a Meyers Manx dune buggy on the cover,” James says, and adds, “That absolutely absorbed me.”
Californian Bruce Meyers, in his aboriginal years, was a surfer and a annoyance racer. He abounding art schools in the late-Forties, then, in the Fifties acclimated his architecture abilities to actualize cream boards and catamarans. While spending affluence of time at the beach, Meyers became absorbed by adapted cartage that were benumbed the dunes. One of these was a VW Beetle, after a body, and he came aloft the abstraction of amalgam a able ‘dune buggy’.
Originally, the Meyers Manx buggy – so alleged for its beneath appearance, like a tailless Manx cat – was a monocoque fibreglass car application aloof the active accessory of a Beetle and adapted suspension. After architecture 12 examples, this accepted too costly, so Meyers adapted his architecture to become a fibreglass anatomy that artlessly anchored to a beneath VW chassis. Meyers’ aggregation congenital several thousand kits afore he larboard the abutting in 1970. While his kits were successful, added companies began artful his design. Meyers fought these clone-builders in court, but eventually absent his case. Several manufacturers accept congenital Manx-style kits, and it’s not accepted who congenital the one James apparent in the aboriginal Nineties aback he answered a Bargain Finder ad for a activity buggy.
“It was the average of the winter, I went to see it in the dark, it was covered in snow, and I anticipation it looked like a acceptable abstraction at the time,” James explains. “I bought it from the buck who’d congenital it, and he’d brash that it ‘just bare a little bit of work’.”
Doug James in the disciplinarian bench with son Dan as commuter as they adapt to leave in 2017 on their additional cruise to California in their Meyers Manx dune buggy clone.
Although Doug James collection this buggy for years, in 2017, he assassin two out-of-work motorcycle mechanics to abode some anatomy adjustment and added problems from the aboriginal build. With the anatomy off, it was beatific for fibreglass aliment and afresh corrective a Dodge colour alleged Mango Tango.
Doug James’ 1962-based Meyers Manx dune buggy carbon is now powered by a Brazilian-made air-cooled 1,600cc Volkswagen engine.
Doug James and his dog Rolo with the ancestors dune buggy that is apprenticed regularly.
Wheels on Doug James’ Meyers Manx carbon are 15-inch by 7-inch Chevy bolt arrangement rims, and these in accurate are backward 1970s GM aftermarket Western Caster ‘turbine’ style. He’s active 18 psi in the advanced and 22 psi in the rear.
Occupants sit in Recaro seats and are captivated in abode with four-point assurance belts. Guyon Racing of Calgary bogus a bifold bandage cycle cage.
One of the joys of owning a agent as altered as this Meyers Manx dune buggy clone, says buyer Doug James, are all of the waves, smiles and thumbs up it encourages.
Twice Doug James and his son Dan accept apprenticed their 1962-based buggy to California, aboriginal in 2014 and afresh in 2017. This decal from the Manx Club is affidavit of their adventure.
That wasn’t absolutely the case. Aback the VW pan had been shortened, the aboriginal architect artlessly cut through all of the curve and tubes that run in the tunnel. Brake lines, clamp cable tube, gas line, all cut and not appropriately put aback together.
“The aboriginal time we put gas in it, it all ran out,” James says.
However, James and his son Dan did get the VW buggy running, somewhat reliably, application it every year in its aboriginal ‘Kermit Green’ acrylic job. They’ve apprenticed the car, twice, to California. On the aboriginal trip, the clamp cable bankrupt and James didn’t accept a spare. Application a busy car, he collection to Sacramento, best up a cable, collection aback to the buggy and got it installed in the car.
“That was absolutely dark luck, because of the butchered tube the cable had to go through,” James says, and adds, “We spent abounding hours a few years after replacing the tube as it was absurd to get addition cable through.”
The buggy has been, essentially, a assignment in advance best of the time James has endemic it. For example, although it originally was powered by a 1200cc engine, afresh a 1300cc, the car is currently motivated by a late-model, Brazilian-made 1600cc air-cooled VW engine. This gives the buggy a 12-volt electrical arrangement with an alternator.
The VW pan was able on the basal application three-inch by three-inch animate bend anchored in abode and a bifold bandage assurance cycle cage complete by Guyon Racing. Occupants are beggared into Recaro brazier seats with four-point assurance belts and a 13-inch council caster is on the collapsible council column.
You brighten someone’s day aback they see this.
In 2016, James assassin two of out-of-work motorcycle mechanics to accommodate some anatomy adjustment and actual added problems with the aboriginal build. With the anatomy carapace off, it was taken to Power Chief Auto Anatomy in Calgary area a cardinal of flaws in the old fibreglass were addressed afore it was corrective a Dodge colour alleged Mango Tango. To advice bottle the anatomy and paint, the anatomy was captivated in a bright 3M film.
Having endemic and apprenticed the Manx carbon for abutting to 30 years, James says he enjoys all of the smiles, after-effects and thumbs up the car elicits.
“Different cars address to adapted bodies and age groups,” he says. “Driving our Austin-Healey 3000 gets responses from an earlier age group; the dune buggy gets cries of ‘nice car’ from acceptance at the adjacent inferior high, and they’ll absolutely ask about it. We accept a Bugeye Sprite, too, and baby accouchement and their parents beam and point aback they see it.
“You brighten someone’s day aback they see this, there’s a lot of absolute acknowledgment aback you’re active article old and unique.”
Greg Williams is a affiliate of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Accept a cavalcade tip? Contact him at 403-287-1067 or [email protected]