Meyers Manx’s groovy dune buggies go electric

by HANNAH ELLIOTT

MEYERS Manx, the groovy little dune buggy that became famous when Steve McQueen drove one in 1968’s “The Thomas Crown Affair”, is going electric.

The Meyers Manx 2.0 Electric will run on lithium-ion batteries and two electric motors, one positioned over each rear wheel. Top speed has yet to be determined, but it will have a zero-to-60 mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds, according to the California-based company. 

It will get up to 202hp with as many as 300 miles (482.8km) of range, depending on the variant ordered. As with other electric vehicles (EVs), off-road driving in sand or dirt will deplete the battery faster than when the buggy is on pavement.

Meyers Manx isn’t the first company to make an electric buggy-like vehicle; Moke sells open-air EV cruisers seen often in island locales like St Barts, though performance-wise they’re more like golf carts.

This will be the first entirely new vehicle from Manx since 1964, when founder Bruce Meyers created the iconic fibreglass dune buggy. In 1967 the half-tonne buggy gained notoriety in Southern California when Meyers drove it to win the first 1,000-mile desert race known as the Baja 1000.

Unlike their predecessors, which arrived to buyers unassembled in kit form, the Manx 2.0 Electric will arrive completely built. No assembly required

By 1971, he had shut down the company after losing legal copyright battles with dozens of imitators, only to revive it in the early 2000s with refreshed models he called Manxsters. Meyers died in 2021, the year after LA-based investor Phillip Sarofim and his firm Trousdale Ventures LLC acquired the business for an undisclosed sum.

While customer deliveries of the Manx 2.0 Electric buggy won’t start until 2024, 50 early buggies in a “Meyers Manx Beta” programme will be delivered to select customers in 2023. 

Unlike their predecessors, which arrived to buyers unassembled in kit form, they will arrive completely built. No assembly required.

Pricing on the Betas and the 2.0s has yet to be announced. Previous Manxes started around US$2,400; the electric version is expected to cost considerably more. — Bloomberg