A Bit of History

The history of the Beach Buggy dates all the way back to the early sixties, built primarily as light weight off-road vehicles following a simple concept, powerful engines, light weight chassis and big tires for good traction. Two of the earliest VW-based beach buggies produced were the EMPI Sportster and the Burro, manufactured by H.T. Thompson. Both were functional off-road machines that were frequently used in competitions.

The Beach Buggy as we know it today is the result of Californian designer Bruce Meyer’s work, he used the readily available and very inexpensive rolling chassis of the Volkswagen Type 1, more known as Beetle, to carry the light weight glass fiber body he had designed. The floor pan of the beetle had cleverly been shortened to improve ground clearance and maneuverability.
This buggy design (named Meyers Manx) was debuted in Fountain Valley, California in 1964 and took the world by storm, achieving world wide recognition when it won the Baja 1000 and its own class in the famous Pikes Peak hill climb race.

Approximately 5000 units of the original Meyers Manx Beach Buggy were produced but due to its simple construction and a lost patent case, it was soon copied and hundreds of look-a-likes have been produced and sold all over the world.

Robert Wren's beach buggy

Meyers Manx owned by Robert Wren, England

Literature

Below I have listed a few books that I have come across with interesting facts, stories and photographs that are usually not available on the Internet. Some of these can be bought from Veloce Publishing in the UK and others from sites like Amazon.
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Building a Dune Buggy – The Essential Manual
By Paul Shakespeare
ISBN: 9781904788737

Building a Dune Buggy by Paul Shakespeare
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Dune Buggy Handbook, The A-Z of VW-Based Buggies
By James Hale
ISBN: 1-904788-21-1

Dune Buggy Handbook by James Hale
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The Dune Buggy Files
By James Hale
ISBN: 9781904788089

The Dune Buggy Files by James Hale
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The Dune Buggy Phenomenon
By James Hale
ISBN: 1 903706 79 3

The Dune Buggy Phenomenon
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The Dune Buggy Phenomenon 2
By James Hale
ISBN: 9781904788669

The Dune Buggy Phenomenon 2 by James Hale