Dune Buggy Rebirth? Meyers Manx Sold, Designer Freeman Thomas Takes The Helm As CEO

The iconic dune buggy enters a new, Bruce Meyers-free era

Freeman Thomas, who penned vehicles like the Audi TT and New Beetle now gets to run the dune buggy company.

Back in 1964, Bruce Meyers designed the Volkswagen Beetle-based Meyers Manx dune buggy – and it was a massive hit. Basically, he used the pan and running gear from a Beetle, shortened the platform and added a light fiberglass body. After some suspension tweaks, he built a remarkably capable off-road vehicle. It won an early version of the Baja 1000. That was back when it was still known in 1967 as the “Mexican 1000 Rally.”

Unfortunately for Meyers Manx LLC, dozens of coachmakers copied his design and sold their own version of the dune buggy. Still, a majority of purists feel the Meyers Manx is the one to collect.

Recently, Trousdale Ventures bought Meyers Manx Inc. Chairman Phillip Sarofim, immediately announced that automotive designer Freeman Thomas is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer. Now known as Meyers Manx LLC., the new company put out a statement:

“We are putting together an international dream team of passionate and creative souls to carry on the Meyers Manx legacy of fun, freedom and expression that Bruce and Winnie created,” Sarofim said. “The time is right for us all to get back to basics and simplify our lives! That is what Meyers Manx is all about! It celebrates authenticity, diversity and being a little different. It’s the beginning of an exciting journey in bringing new life to a legendary California icon. The timeless design and DNA of the Meyers Manx is the greatest smile machine I’ve ever experienced.”

Phillip Sarofim – Chairman Meyers Manx LLC
Volkswagen ID Buggy concept. (Image: Volkswagen AG)

The dune buggy’s future?

There is a ton of speculation about what this new automaker will produce. Nothing official has been announced yet.

Freeman Thomas designed vehicles for VW and Chrysler, among others. VW is the same company that built the wildly popular Volkswagen ID Buggy concept – which almost saw production. While Thomas didn’t pen the design, it is an interesting thought. That vehicle was heavily based on the Manx’s exterior design, and was pretty zippy in the dirt, despite being a fairly heavy EV.

Time will tell, but we are pretty excited to see what happens next.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.