Bruce Myers, who became famous for the Meyers Manx dune buggy in 1967 and won the Baja 1000, died at the age of 94.
Born in Los Angeles in 1926, Myers grew up surfing and roaming on the beaches of Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. After graduating from high school, Myers joined a merchant ship and served in the Navy during World War II. He was assigned to the Bunker Hill aircraft carrier and was attacked by two Kamikaze crew members during the Battle of Okinawa in May 1945. The attack killed nearly 400 Myers fellow soldiers, forcing him to outboard. As an experienced swimmer, he volunteered to save one of the Kamikaze crew members from drowning and then help return the fatally injured ship to the harbor.
When he returned to the United States, Myers attended the Chouinard Museum, specializing in life painting. In the meantime, he pursued off-road racing and surfing and wanted to come up with a vehicle that could navigate the beach better than the 1932 Ford Hot Rod. He designed his wooden body bucks and brushed them with fiberglass to create the first tub of what he called Manx after the short-tailed cat of the same name.
Myers formed a team in 1967 to race one of the fiberglass body buggies, the Old Red, in what was then called the Mexican 1000 on the Baja Peninsula. They ran 832 miles on the dirt road from La Paz to Tijuana, completing a record speed of 34 hours and 45 minutes.
Twelve dune buggies with fiberglass bodies were created when Myers realized that they couldn’t use that process to sell Manx for profit. He switched to a shortened Volkswagen Beetle body and worked on completing it. According to the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, BF Meyers & Co. By 1970, had manufactured 5,280 Manx kits, hundreds of Manx 2, and about 1,000 MeyersTowds.
Unfortunately, Myers was unable to fill the influx of orders following his record execution fast enough, and about 70 counterfeit companies entered the market. Myers couldn’t defend the patent in court and for over 20 years left the scene to build boats and customize cars (such as Rolls Roy Limousines). In 1994, Myers and his wife Winnie founded the Manx Dune Buggy Club to test the market for their interest in new buggies. As a result, he created 100 limited edition signature series kits that sold out in a few weeks in 1999.
In 2020, Steve McQueen’s Myers Manx, driven by The Thomas Crown Affair, sold nearly $ 500,000 at auction through Bonhams.
During the last 20 years of his life, Meyer and Winnie worked at the Manx Club, visiting fans and inspiring the dreams of off-road dune buggies around the world. Meyer told Jay Leno in 2014, “Im, a child who has never grown up.”
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