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Monday, September 15, 2014

50 years of Meyer's Manx with the Hot Wheels version!

It's hard to believe that it's been 50 years since the first creation of a fiberglass tub onto a Volkswagen Beetle platform to create a vehicle that was popular not only on the beach but also in the sand dunes.  It's also hard to believe that it's been over ten years already with this fantastic version by Hot Wheels.

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The Dune Buggy is born

In 1964, Californian engineer, artist, boat builder, and surfer Bruce F. Meyers took a VW Beetle chassis, shortened the wheelbase, and fabricated a fiberglass body onto the frame to create the first Manx.  The name (and logo) are derived from the Manx cat from its stubby tail in relation to the car's stubby length and tail engine. The front has curved fenders with frog-eye-like headlights and lower bumper bar to protect the front-end.  The fenders also create the body-line splitting the lower tub from the doorless sides, with a Jeep-like upright window and rollcage.  The rear has Beetle-like taillights that ride above the air-cooled Flat-4 that produces about 90 hp. through a 4-speed manual transaxle.  The front suspension is borrowed from a Chevy truck of the same era.  The interior features two jump seats, shifter, e-brake handle, and dashboard and steering wheel from the VW Beetle.  Even with some advertisement, the Manx was expensive to make and only a handful was sold in the 1960's, but thanks to its off-road success and Hollywood appearances, the Manx was revived and the company today still specializes in making these one-off Dune Buggy's for customers who have certain preferences.

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Hot and Full of Metal!

The one interesting thing about this Hot Wheels casting is how the metal base and metal body still remain on this casting, jointed by a highly-detailed flat-4 in the back: you can see the details from the engine block to the whip-tail exhaust!.  Look underneath and you can even see the section line where the VW Beetle chassis was shortened.  The interior is nicely done, simple, and look like fun with the detailed seats, shifter, and steering wheel spokes.  The first version was in purple with black lower tub and Manx logo on the hood.  Now there was a bunch of variations, but i'll highlight a few of them:

The Black with red chrome interior and wheels was part of the Pirate 5-pack in 2007 that I though was the coolest pirate pack I've ever seen even with a boat that has a sail in black with the cross bones on them. The Manx fits right in with this crowd!  The next one was the Treasure Hunt of 2004.  I found both of these at a lazy Kmart Collector's Day (only me and another guy in attendance and plenty of cases to go through).  This allowed me to find two different variations of the Treasure Hunt: One in 2004 Blister design, the other in 2005 Blister design.  The rubber wheels with Meyers Manx white wall looks good, as does the blue paint with zebra graphics (or tiger?).

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But one of the most coolest variations is the 2006 version in gold with Meyers Manx logo on the hood.  Three different wheel variations, and all unique:  gold FTE wheels, 2-piece CoMold Mags, and 2-piece CoMold 6-spoke wheels.  The silver version was the Kmart special recolor.

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Wow, 50 years of the Meyers Manx and countless variations of the Hot Wheels version, just keep them coming!

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