Meyers Manx Memories

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Yesterday, I saw a Meyers Manx – a kind of car that used to be common that has become so uncommon that when you see one like it, you remember instantly what cars used to be like before government made them so forgettable.

The Manx is better-known to those who remember them as the Beetle Dune Buggy. It was the conception of Bruce Meyers, an engineer who lived in California when it was the epicenter of car culture, as opposed to what it has become (that being the epicenter of government contempt for cars and those who like them). Meyers though it would be fun to use Beetle running gear to make something very fun.

The steel body – which was often rusty anyhow – was removed and a fiberglass body with wide and tall fenders to allow for lots of clearance for suspension travel was draped over the Beetle’s simple but rugged and cheap mechanicals.  Add a rollbar and skip the air bags (those were still decades away from making new cars complicated, expensive and homogenous).

The result was extremely “unsafe” – by the standards of government-mandated new cars. Precisely why seeing one brought back so many happy memories about the way cars used to be, when it was still possible to make such cars and to drive them, too.

It was a time when even the “safe” cars were interesting in their own way because “safe” cars were once unlike most other cars. Volvos were very different cars than everyone else’s cars because they were boxy and tank-like, which was an interesting counterpoint to a freewheeling minimalist car like the Manx – which didn’t even have doors.

There were horses for course – and plenty of choices.

And that was the beauty of those times. No one was forced to buy a car like the Manx – or the Volvo. Or any other kind of car. You bought the kind of car that you wanted. As opposed to our fast-forward times, in which everyone has no choice other than to buy what a few people want us to drive – and have the power to force the car companies to build, by dint of using their power to force them to not build anything that might be interesting to us.

Those people being what we commonly refer to as “the government.”

A Frau…

It is a deceptively dangerous term because it causes us to not give too much thought to what it is.

“The government” is not an entity possessed of Great Wisdom that herds us benevolently toward The Good. It is nothing more than the relative handful of people who have acquired the legal power to do to us what would be regarded as criminal if we were to do it to anyone else.

These people – “the government” – can legally threaten to harm us in order to make us do as they say. And make us pay for what they want. They have the power to have us killed (ultimately) if we refuse to obey.

This is why there are no longer cars like the Meyers Manx – but every new car might as well actually be a Volvo. There being little, if any, meaningful difference between them other than the badging.

We are still allowed that.

As well as our choice of color.

In time, even that will fade into a dreary oneness. It will be said that more-than-one color is “wasteful” or “harms the environment” and besides, what do you need a car for, anyway?

This is what “the government” does to everything it touches. It is why government buildings all look the dreary same – ugly, that is. It is why people in countries with too much government come to look more and more the same (also ugly). The latter is not intended to insult. It is meant to remind. And to warn. Have a look at what people looked like in East Germany, in the old Soviet Union. In China. Everywhere – anywhere – “the government” has stifled the vivacity out of life. What you will see is all the same – because that is what government is all about.

It does not want things to look – much less be – different and the very last thing it wants is people being free to choose to be different. Or to drive something different. “The government” wants conformity – which is why there is always uniformity wherever “the government” holds sway. It is why there were cars like the Meyers Manx, once upon a freer time, when people like Bruce Meyers were free to build them just-because and people were free to drive them, just because.

It was time when it did not matter whether you’re next-door-neighbor or any other person didn’t like what you chose to drive because in those times, most people who didn’t like what you chose to drive would leave it at that. They were free to buy – and drive – what they wanted. They also lacked the power to force you to not buy – or prevent you from driving – what they didn’t like.

For the latter reason, there was a lot less societal friction and more smiles. In California especially. It was the place to go if you wanted to be free to do your own thing and be cool with other people doing theirs, whatever it was.

It was a happy time – and cars were a big part of it.

Now it is a very different time.

No more Meyers Manxes. No more anything like them. It is all gone now. All because of a handful of people – “the government” – who’ve somehow gotten many of us to accept the bleak-and-depressing sameness of uniformity that attends complying with the endless demands of these people, who will never leave us be to make our own choices until we refuse to tolerate being denied them anymore by such people.

When that day arrives – if it ever does – we might have interesting cars (and fun) again.

. . .

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  1. My cousin’s 1st husband had a metalflake green one he drove everywhere, licensed or not. I rode in it once or twice, it was fun for a 6-7 year old me. He was a reckless bastard who eventually blew his brains out with a handgun. His dune-buggy was certainly worth more, lol!

  2. Eric,

    I REMEMBER these! There used to be a green one in my neighborhood; it was like a metallic, British Racing Green or a bit darker. When I was out and about as kid, I remember seeing these at the beaches along the Jersey Shore. Even when I was serving the US Navy in San Diego, you’d see these back in the 1980s.

    There was also another popular VW mod in Southern Cal back in the early ’80s: the Baja Bug. It was a VW bug that was jacked up, had bigger tires, and had an upturned exhaust pipe. It could go both on and off road. I haven’t seen one of those in ages, either…

  3. Generally speaking I agree with this:

    “It is why government buildings all look the dreary same – ugly, that is.”

    Because that has been my experience for most of my life. Until… not sure how long now. Have you noticed that they have been sparing no expense (of taxpayer’s money) to build very impressive buildings for law enforcement?

    Not everywhere but I’ve seen some buildings that I could hardly believe was constructed for the interior violence division of government. Remember back in the Dragnet and Adam 12 days how spartan, run down, plain and ugly most police stations were? Many still are.

    Used to be the same with their cars. They used to drive absolute garbage cars that happened to be very high performance, otherwise, ugly as shit. I remember when SDPD motorcycle cops all got a fleet of brand new BMWs!

    Now, anywhere you go, they’re driving current year SUVs… every year. Even in backwood places like where I live in St. Mary’s county. It wasn’t that long ago they had those old fashioned garbage sedans.

    That’s the front end of law enforcement these days. Bonfire of taxpayer dollars and I see their salaries are competitive with technical jobs where you have to know something beyond how to be the world’s biggest violent asshole.

    The backend of law enforcement, that’s where you see the true face of government and how it considers its population, i.e., the processing, detainment, jails and prisons.

  4. Last night saw a side by side downtown in our smallish city here in central WA, no plate on the back. It’s a start! Legal here on the rural county roads now we citizens going “emanate domain” on the rest of “our “ roads. Remember that gas tax you pay?

    It’s a rolling collection of scofflaws here already including rollin’ coal diesel pickups, limo tint windows including the windshield, open exhaust on the rice burning little sh**ers, expired tags (me included here), even the State Patrol dude neighbor with the oversized tires extended past the truck wheel wells (better brush up on your RCW coppa!)

    For some odd reason the Soviet of Washington has no inspection program. They even dumped the emissions testing a few years ago. Guess even the Marxists short circuit occasionally.

    • I’ve been saying for a while, when our automotive landscape becomes like that of Cuba (because the options of affordable, functional, repairable new vehicles keeps shrinking), expect to see more side-by-sides and similar to be used as daily drivers. One can already get away with that where I live, outside of interstates (I live in WV)

  5. I grew up in the Bay Area and came of age in the 70’s. You could build cars like dune buggies and or fix older cars into hot rods relatively easily and cheaply. Then came the first of the Marxist dictates which was annual emissions testing. The first thing we all did was pull the air pumps and vacuum advance retarders off the cars we bought. However, you had to pass visual and a hydrocarbon test. You had to know someone who would look the other way and de-tune your hot rod to pass, then re-tune back to where it needed to be. This was my first taste of Marxist government, and I hated it and all whom were participants in it. DMV and snarky COPs were next on my list of people I disliked at “we’re from the government and we’re here to help.”.

  6. Drinking beer is fun. Always will be.

    Hey, what the hell are we fighting for?

    Nobody speaks to the captain no more.

    God bless Jimmy Buffett.

  7. Reminds me of the airport thing. People couldn’t go 45 days without flying to grandma’s but bitch every day about the government perverts they have to now deal with.

    Most cars I see are 7 or less years old. They could go another 3 or 4 or 10 if need be but like the airport thing they just ‘gots’ to have that brand new Mexican F150,,, japanese Honda,,, Korean Hyundai,,, or soon to be a Chinese Dodge (already sold in Mexico) with all those safety bells and whistles.

    If you don’t buy them,,, they will either change or go out of business. Believe it or not,,, the customer can take the reigns… but no,,, they want that gov-phone on wheels. It’s soooo cool!

  8. These days, I’m really seeing the ugliness of people that you mention as a by product of authoritarian regimes. Strange looking, misshapen, strange skin coloration, etc. I was thinking it must be the shots but maybe it’s a combination.

    • Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. Out-of-shape, odd looking people (no matter their age) all over America, from expensive metropolitan areas to inexpensive small towns. At least it’s not everybody though. I wonder if the same is true in Europe

      • Austraya is full of those odd shaped people now. And when I see their grocery carts, I see lots of ultraprocessed high priced junk food. And man do these people smell. And look really old now since the test stabbings.

  9. Yeah, I read Steve Smith’s article in the April 1967 Car & Driver in real time: it blew my teenaged mind how a utilitarian VW Bug (they were omnipresent) could be transformed from an ugly duckling to a sexy swan. And the long-legged, bikini-clad surfer girl in the C&D photo shoot seemed like an ideal aspirational accessory. 🙂

    Since Body Control Modules didn’t exist then, switching out the steel body to a fiberglass tub was just a matter of reconnecting a few wiring harnesses. You didn’t need no PhD in Computer Science to pull it off … naw.

    Today’s equivalent to a Meyers Manx might be a side-by-side UTV. These don’t impress me much compared to a Meyers Manx, which drove like a car on a car chassis.

    A neighbor owns a vintage Manx, yellow-colored. Just drove by and it’s not there. Hope he didn’t sell it to someone else. Backing into the driveway, I watched an old Parrothead cruise by on a e-bike, belting out Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude.

    Unfortunately there’s no latitude in the US-fuckin-A where you can go anymore to escape the cold dead hand of the US fedgov. Maybe in Mexico one could still pull off building Volkswagen kit cars (plenty of chassis available), then smuggle them across the border like fentanyl or migrants. It’s just a matter of “knowing someone” in the cartel, and in the ‘Biden’ criminal regime.

    You’re one of those guys who likes to shine his machine
    You make me take off my shoes before you let me get in
    Okay, so you’ve got an EeeVee!
    That don’t impress me much

    — Shania Twain, That Don’t Impress Me Much

  10. If they really cared about safety we’d be riding around in carbon fiber tubs with five point harnesses instead of seat belts. In a line instead of side by side.

    Modern cars are not only bland and boring, but also nothing but comprise. There used to be a saying “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” But of course that’s not true at all. Camels are uniquely designed …er, evolved… to fit into the harsh dry desert enviroment. Horses cannot possibly survive without man’s support.

    Governments can dictate only at the consent of the governed. An edict will often lead to losing an election (or beheading). In the case of lawmakers (plural) everyone has their constituency that needs to add their two cents. So let’s say someone comes up with a wonderful new gadget that has some “obvious” beneft. Well, no gadget is perfect and right away the critics will come out of the woodwork to… criticize. And soon someone else will come along and offer up their solution as an alternative. In the free market that’s call consumer choice.

    But in government that’s not really an option. Too many choices means too many decisions, chaos and anarchy. Governement demands a nice, orderly marketplace where everything is predictable and known. Static. Three choices is plenty enough for anyone (think the old Sears catalogue good/better/best). Four isn’t sustainable. Five, well, that’s too much work for the regulator, so someone has to go.

    Even when it doesn’t really affect anyone, the problem must be corrected. Let’s say a problem is discovered, often by a bored grad student trying to earn her PHD. The press, needing to fill time without actually reporting any news, shrieks from their megawatt soapbox, “Shocking numbers of people are affected by this problem!” The crowd (well, the vocal minority of the crowd that’s affected) exclaims “We need to solve this problem!” “There’s one ideal way!” says the leader. “And we will work out what that way might be!” says the committee. So off they go, into their meetings, to gather data, test assumptions and listen to experts. Maybe even get on a symposium at the industry’s convention to discuss the problem they believe needs solving. “Rules” are written, then added to The Code of Federal Regulations, the modern equivalent of the Bible. And like the Bible no one person wrote it. In the case of the Biblical text it was produced by God, working through the hands of dozens (hundreds?) of storytellers. In the case of the CFR, it was clearly written by men who would act as gods, ready to destroy the future by locking down innovation and evolution.

  11. Another reason that is often stated for why gas vehicles need to be banned is the “cliiiiiiiiimate crisis”. However, as was stated elsewhere, the BIGGEST polluter in the world is NOT people who drive cars or eat meat, it’s the U.S. government and the military through the endless wars over the past 22 years. However, that gets very little mention if any. One can only imagine how much environmental damage has been caused by 20+ years of endless wars, not to mention the blowing up of Nordstream 2 pipeline by the Biden regime (I have little reason to doubt Seymour Hersch’s reporting on Nordstream last year). But nooooooooooooo, to the Pete Buttigiegs & John Kerrys of the world, ordinary people who drive cars, eat meat, use a gas furnace or woodstove in winter to keep warm, use gas stoves, run a farm, etc., are the problem.

    • It was said that the Germans sank so many Liberty ships that left a thin coating of bunker fuel floating on top of the Atlantic for decades after VE day. The Gulf War left depleted uranium shrapnel littered across Iraq. And the turbine engine option in the M1 Abrams gets a whopping 0.6 MPG on JET-A.

      Meanwhile, if you drive on the highways around the Denver metro you might pass a gadget that claims to measure your tailpipe emissions accurately enough to send you a ticket if it somehow fails. Ant f***ing doesn’t begin to describe it.

      • Matter of fact, Ready, there’s a place in France that is so littered with unexploded ordnance from WW1 that it’s off limits to people.

        And where was Al Gore when that train carrying all those toxic chemicals derailed in Ohio? And why isn’t Greta Thunberg shouting “How dare you!” at Putin for blowing up the Kakhovka Dam?

        Well, we all know why…

        • Hi Bryce,

          The Biden Thing & the EPA did little more than LIE about that train derailment in Ohio, even going so far as to claim that the water & air was Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe for humans despite citizen journalists finding evidence to the contrary, such as contaminated water ways and dead fish. I’m surprised they didn’t try to blame THAT on “Cliiiiiiiiimate change” like they tried to do with the Maui fires of a few weeks ago.

        • And yet, the Biden Thing sent cluster bombs to Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeev not too long ago despite them being BANNED in most countries around the world. Where are the Self-proclaimed “Anti-war” types on that?

      • In California, near the Anza Borrego “state park” (aka huge desert), there is a nearby area known as the Corrizo Impact Area (aka a former artillery and bombing range). At least one person, the “don’t be this guy” story told in perpetuity, was riding his dirt bike out there, ran out of gas, and walked his bike over unexploded ordnance. He didn’t make it back in one piece or alive.

        If anyone were taking bets, I’d put some money on the “there’s worse things out there than unexploded ordnance” left behind in areas formerly used by the external violence division of our wonderful government.

    • >BIGGEST polluter in the world is NOT people who drive cars or eat meat, it’s the U.S. government and the military

      Not just the wars, but the military installations themselves.
      USMC once had a major helicopter base in Tustin, CA, which has since closed, and the helicopters moved to Twentynine Palms.

      Environmental cleanup of MCAS Tustin has been a major project, due to decades of onsite dumping. The old WWII blimp hangars are pretty cool. Two were built here, and another two at Moffett Field in Northern California. They are among the largest wood frame structures in the world, and were built of Douglas fir in order to save steel for the war effort.

      • Hi Adi,

        Crazy isn’t it how the U.S. government, despite being the biggest polluter in the world, is DEMANDING that middle and lower class Americans lower their standard of living under guise of “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaving the planet” while giving THEM MORE MONEY & POWER. Even the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, is advocating government accelerating the use of eminent domain to seize private property to “Stop climate change”.

        • > “Stop climate change”.
          Climate is *always* changing. Might as well command the tide to roll back.
          Stupid banker should stick to what he knows, and keep his long nose out of what he does not.

          • I’ve read on Martin Armstrong’s website, Armstrong Economics, that Jamie Dimon is ALL IN with the WEF’s “Great Reset” agenda.

        • > *EVEN*… the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon…

          Part of how we got to the undeniable fascist state in which we live was built upon what I’ll call “the enduring suspension of disbelief” that corporations are not just people out there trying to make some money and *maybe* short sighted as to the consequences of their greed.

          Nope. NFW. Maybe it took a while for it to develop to the strength that it is today, but the fucken people that occupy those positions of state inventions (aka corporations) have work tirelessly to literally write laws (aka lobbying) that continually gave them more money and power, while simultaneously inoculating them from any responsibility and more importantly continually stole prosperity and freedom from common people.

          Jamie Dimon is a fascist oligarch. As the days go by and veil is no longer necessary those kinds of people are more and more bold about what they truly are.

          I think we’re getting past an inversion where, not only are they showing their true colors, but they have to now make a point of their overt fascism to stay in the cool club.

          • Hi XM,

            I agree. Many libertarians defend corporations as private property; I do not see how this makes sense as corporations are legal constructs that have special “rights” under the law, including limited liability.

            This is – to me – obviously unjust as well as dangerous.

            A very rich individual or family can also be dangerous, of course. The negative possibilities engendered by the accumulation of vast wealth is a tough one to square in terms of absolute respect for property rights in that the latter can be rendered meaningless when confronted by the means of someone who can literally buy the government.

  12. Kind of hard to enjoy the dune buggy experience in a 9,500 pound EV Hummer whilst wearing seat belts, no visibility and it sinks into the sand. But I bet it would be funny to watch while going by in your Myers Manx.

    If my memory is correct wasn’t there one in the Steve McQueen movie “The Thomas Crown Affair”?

  13. It may be impolitic to say so, but most of the safety-Nazi culture is the result of the feminization of our society. Men innovate things be taking risks and doing things independently. Bruce Meyers built his dune buggy because he was a dude. A woman is not going to wake up one day and say to herself “Hey, maybe I should put a fiberglass body on a VW Beetle chassis” and start tearing the car apart.

    • NAILED IT! And it all started with the 19th Amendment, giving women the vote. Women are inherently socialist and security oriented. On an individual level, i.e. within the family, this makes sense. However, on a collective, societal level, it spells disaster.

      No disrespect to the few unicorns, like RG, out there. However, a RG is the exception (the very RARE exception!) to the rule that women are inherently collectivist.

  14. “we might have interesting cars (and fun) again”
    A left over from Puritanism, which did not allow any fun. Which transitioned into Yankees which didn’t allow any fun either, which transitioned into progressives which literally hate you having any fun, unless you are LGBTQXYZ or of color.

    • It’s sad that most people equate Boston with the uprising that became the revolution. Yes, on many levels it was the open hostility of the yankees that triggered reaction from the Crown, but there was a reason why Philadelphia and Virgina were the birthplace of the concept of self-government. Most of New England would have been happy with a new monarchy, one under their thumb. The Quakers, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Virginia plantation owners were already skeptical of government and were able to sustain their communities without need of a lord and manor (or as in the case of the platnations, they were lords themselves). The enviroment and soil of New England wasn’t good for agriculture so the land and harvest needed to be managed properly. In the mid-Atlantic pretty much anything grew in the rich topsoil and milder climate, making it far easier to be loosly afiliated with your neighbor and have minimal division of labor.

      • Yes, Plymouth/Massachusetts Bay Colony and its later iterations has been plagued by Puritanism ever since Myles Standish set foot in 1620 (it also gave us the first American psy-op known as the Salem witch trials). They were ok with an all-imposing government, and probably would have been fine with an American monarchy. That Yankee/Puritan spirit has been instrumental in transforming the US away from from the intended limited government of enumerated powers.

        Got to give ’em credit though for the revolutionary catalysts like the great Samuel Adams, the Boston Tea Party (Sons of Liberty), the Boston Massacre, the Minute Men of the battle of Concord and Lexington, etc.

  15. “As well as our choice of color” Hell, even that hasn’t been much of a choice for the last twenty years or so. Although we are seeing a few interesting colors lately, it still seems that 95% of the vehicles on the road are silver, gray, black or white. Whoever wrote that book Fifty Shades of Gray must have been inspired by a trip to their local Honda dealer.

    • FL Man,

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I prefer silver metallic cars. Why? One, it’s a GREAT dirt color! It can be filthy, yet it won’t be apparent as a speck of dirt on a black car would be. Two, it doesn’t attract attention of law enforcement; since encounters with LE can be and are often fatal, avoiding them at all costs is a must. Hence, I drive a silver metallic car.

      For a time, I had two cars. I had my late mother’s Nissan Altima that was like a copper mettalic color, and I had a MINI Cooper with a stick for fun. The MINI was bright yellow with a black roof; my buddy called “Bumblebee”. That thing was a COP MAGNET! Never again will I own a car that attracts attention of LE-especially since it’s comprised of Nazi wannabes these days.

  16. Good news, Eric! You can still do this sort of thing. The problem is you will probably have to do it yourself. Here is a video introduction to building your own Miata Kart:

    As the video points out, various state laws will impact what you can and can’t do based on various GovCo inspection levels. In places like Florida almost anything goes, other states are more restrictive. In NC for example, any vehicle over 30 years old doesn’t get ANY safety or emissions inspection. So, if you start with a 93 Miata you go on your merry way.

    The mindset of people like Buttgigger has been around a long time. Over 40 years ago I met the woman who headed up new road construction in Florida. She stated that she didn’t want to approve of any new roads until people started riding the bus. It was all I could do not to slap her right then and there.


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