Sand Machine Stash: Dune Buggy Collection

When it comes to dune buggies, you don’t have to look too far to find a roached-out carcass of a fiberglass kit sitting on the side of the road or in the local classifieds. Despite their fun-loving reputation and dirt-simple drivetrains, so many of these VW-powered kits end up neglected and forgotten, a scenario that isn’t helped by the fact that many of these buggy builds aren’t worth a whole lot of scratch unless you find an original Meyers Manx. This stash of barn buggies listed here on Facebook Marketplace features a collection of largely complete examples, which is better than we typically see.

Buggies like this practically scream beach life, with that beautiful mural a tasteful piece of period style. Images of the likes of Steve McQueen ripping around on the sand in his Corvair-powered Meyers Manx are the sort of thing that leads many people to decide at that moment they need a Manx replica in their garage, which is preferably located near the ocean. This Manx offers something we see rarely in these fiberglass troublemakers, which is that of a full-length hardtop. It looks good and turns the little buggy into a baby Land Rover Defender.

OK, maybe the Defender reference is a stretch. But this orange dune buggy is exactly what most of us think of when envisioning the perfect VW-based sand racer. Bright orange, American Racing wheels, a simple roll bar, and a stinger exhaust. While I still prefer the hardtop model above, this example is the kind that sells itself. The bodywork looks damage-free, and the black leather (or very nice vinyl) bucket seats are in great shape. The listing doesn’t go into specifics of the engine each buggy is associated with, but I’d love to see a hopped-up dual port in this one.

There’s another way to build one of these, and that’s with super fat wheels and tires, with the body sitting right atop the treads. This buggy looks downright aggressive with its staggered stance and deep dish on the rear wheels, but the period-correct paint job is what sells this one for me. No matter which one you choose, I’d have to take a page from the Steve McQueen book of great ideas and try that Corvair swap out for myself. Which one would you choose?


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  1. BlisterEm Member

    Hey Jeff, The link doesn’t get to the listing

    Like 4
  2. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    Not terribly surprising, there may be dodgier sites than FBM, but I don’t know of any.

    Like 4
  3. Steve R

    The ad is gone.

    Where were they located?

    What was the asking price?

    Steve R

    Like 11
    • Jack M.

      Readers want to know.

      Like 6
  4. Rick

    Yep, and gone already

    Like 1
  5. Curt Lemay

    These were cheap fun back in the day. Seems like everyone knew someone who had one. I wish this hobby was once again this simple and affordable.

    Like 10
    • Kurt

      Air cooled VW parts are coming in from Asia at affordable prices but they are not OEM quality.

      Like 4
  6. rancher

    He probably sold them all to 1 buyer as they are sought after.

    Like 6
  7. Robert Thomas

    Meyers Manxter 2+2 kits are still available Bruce lived over in Valley Center, not from me and I did see the new Manxter every so often.

    Like 3
  8. Gary Rhodes

    I wanted to see the listing but Markie Mark Suckaturd banished me for life.

    Like 6
    • Claudio

      Same here, suckerberg is very powerful , hope they expose all of his lies

      Like 3
  9. Carbuzzard Member

    All that looks like a Manx may not be a Manx, which any aficionado of the genre knows. But many Manx lookalikes were simply molds splashed off the original, even to the point of having the bump on its nose for the Manx badge.

    Others who followed the concept of the Manx but had original styling are still out there, many in good condition, with owners thinking they’re worth more than they are. Let them know you’re interested if the timing is right and they might call you when the price is right.

    Back to the Steve McQueen Manx. It recently sold for about $250k, largely because of its McQ, even though at one point it had the Corvair replaced by a hotted-up VW. I don’t know whether it was set back to original.

    Speaking of the Thomas Crowne Affair, the Manx scene was inserted solely for McQ to show off his toy. It had nothing to do with the plot. The movie did have the world’s sexiest ever chest, er, chess game ever. You young ‘uns need to watch that movie just for that scene where Faye Dunaway lit up Steve McQueen—and every male in the movie theate—with subtlety. Or at least as subtle as that scene could be of the theater screen.

    Like 5
  10. Charles Sawka

    The majority were VW powered due to cost and availability and ease of building. The writer keeps alluding to Corvair power. Those are rare. I have even seen Subaru power !

    Like 3
    • Mike Morgan

      Corvair powered buggies weren’t rare in So Cal–when I was in high school there were 4 or 5 within 5 miles of my home. One had the Porsche style 3bbl Weber carbs, and ran 11 second 1/4 miles, which was damn quick in the early 70’s.

      Like 1
  11. Howie Mueler

    Reminds me of my Cox 049.

    Like 2
  12. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Everybody knew someone who had one. Mine was my oldest sister and her husband Al who bought a Meyers Manx kit and an old V.W. they painted it brighter yellow, put a Porsche engine on it with mag wheels and drove it all around Honolulu back in the late 60’s early 70’s.
    Both long gone now, but they were a fun loving couple.
    God bless America

    Like 8

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