The Meyers Manx dune buggy returns, and it’s all-electric. With lightweight, great range, and 200 horsepower, can the new Manx win over EV skeptics?
The Meyers Manx, classic 1960s dune buggy, is coming back, this time with an electric powertrain. Invented by Bruce Meyers, the Manx was basically a stripped-down VW Beetle with a fiberglass tub for a body. Lightweight and open topped, the Manx was all about frolicking fun. Meyers himself proved his creation had legit off-road capabilities when he and a co-driver set a new record for what would become the Baja 1000.
The original Manx was produced from 1964 to 1971, with many replicas and copycats to follow. Meyers restarted the company back in 2000, building an updated version of the basic dune buggy, along with a 2+2 and a dedicated off-road version as well. In 2020, Meyers sold out Trousdale Motors, the company behind the new Manx EV.
Judging from the images and footage we’ve seen thus far we can say the designers nailed it with the new Meyers Manx 2.0. It strikes a perfect balance between staying true to the original, big curvy fenders and bug-eye headlamps, while making subtle modernizations (looking at the current crop of EV designs, it’s easy to imagine how they could have gone wrong overdoing it with “the future is here”-type elements). Most notable is the enclosed rear end. Gone is the gnarly exposed flat-four and trumpet exhaust thanks to the brand-new electric powertrain.
The new Manx EV retains similar dimensions to the original, an 82-inch wheelbase, but now sports a pair of electric motors driving the rear wheels. There will be two different battery packs, a 20 kWh and a larger 40 kWh, with the former weighing in at just 1,500-lbs and the latter at 1,650-lbs. Output numbers are TBA for the smaller pack, but the 40-kWh version will offer 202 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque good for a pavement run from zero to sixty mph in 4.5 seconds. Range for the larger battery pack is an estimated 300 miles, which would make the super-light Manx the most efficient EV out there (battery size to range).
The modernizations aren’t limited to the powertrain either. Upgrades over the original include independent rear suspension, disc brakes and regenerative braking, an aluminum chassis, and electrically assisted steering.
If you’re thinking, boy, I could get up to a whole lot of mischief in the new Manx, you’d be right. Trousdale Motors is planning to begin production on the first 50 “beta” cars in 2023 and has opened reservations for “exclusive Beta partners” to help test this initial batch of cars. Full production is targeted for 2024.
In this age of retro-updates, nameplate resurrections, and electrification, it’s understandable that some are put off by the “Mustang” Mach-E or the idea of Dodge replacing roaring V8s with the whining buzz of electrons, but the proper mix of nostalgia and modern technology that is the new the Meyers Manx 2.0 assures us the future can be as fun as the past.