Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show: Thanx to Manx

Chino Hills CA, June 7 2014 - History makers aren’t always aware of the greatness of their moments while living in them. Bruce Meyers is one of these people. The father of theretofore unknown automotive recreation industries, some of his offspring grew up to be cultural phenomena. Bruce built the very first “dune buggy” a surprising 50 years ago. In a nod to the anniversary, Manx was an honored guest at the 2014 Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show.

Flickr Slideshow (click <21>)

Meyers Manx #1 was just that – the first and original 1964 creation by Bruce, lovingly named "Old Red". At the time he had no idea that he would be making many more of the unusual motor craft. A friend suggested he might make maybe 200 Manx, which seemed high to Bruce at the start. With an inventor’s passion and mission he went on to make thousands.

Unfortunately, a lot of other folks copied the concept closely and cashed in on the idea. Dune buggies quickly grew into a huge business under many different brands, but there can only be one first. Meyers Manx #1 it is. Bruce has restored #1 to probably better than original standards – she looks rock solid and refined compared to the flimsy knockoff conversions known to later generations. 

The first dune buggy also heralded another human activity: off-road racing. Bruce entered his now famous car in a motorcycle race in the early days of the Baja 1000 on the west peninsula of Mexico. Over terrain thought barely navigable by two wheels, the Manx made a huge impact by winning the race by 5 hours. Sales soared, which Bruce focused on rather than the business side of off-road racing.

The annual Friends of Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show
features movie themes made famous by the namesake. The 2014 event centers around The Thomas Crown Affair – the original from 1968. Movie cars included a Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder NART (driven by Faye Dunaway) and a 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Movie dune buggies included a Manx – Steve owned one, and to heighten the car drama (as he could) he contracted with Con-Ferr Manufacturing in Burbank California to beef it up.

Meyers Manx Replica of the THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR

Meyers Manx Replica of the THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR

Bruce was asked by the show organizers if he could help with providing a Manx to represent the movie car. As he does, Bruce came through with a replica based on pictures from the movie set - as best he could do. Naturally his crew worked until 11 pm the night before to get the car ready.

Mr. Meyers finds satisfaction in making a difference in the world. When people see a Manx they burst with happiness – a result you can’t buy with all the money in the universe. For that, we give thanks to the Manx.

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Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS presented by The Petersen

by Randy Berg

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