Hold up vintage dune buggy fans! There’s an updated buggy in town in the form of the Meyers Manx 2.0. This little guy takes what we love about the classic Manx and swaps the air-cooled Volkswagen powertrain for a sleek battery-powered electric motor.
The new Manx will be available with a 20 kWh battery good for 150 miles of range with two electric motors powering the rear wheels. No power specs are available for that base model but the larger 40 kWh battery pack provides enough juice for 300 miles of fun and the electric motors throw out 202 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to scoot the 1650-pound car from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds.
Charging, however, looks to be on the slower side. The Manx 2.0 can only accept 60 kW of juice at a high speed charger while the onboard charger has a maximum capacity of 6 kW. For comparison the new Kia EV6 has an onboard charger of 11 kW. Good thing those batteries are tiny.
Designer Thomas Freeman, creator of the Audi TT, does a great job of paying homage to the original Manx while making a few tweaks here and there. It’s still a monocoque body, although it’s gone from fiberglass to aluminum. It’s still a convertible, but now we have a carbon fiber roof. The classic low-backed seats are here as is a simple dash and no doors.
My one quibble with the Manx 2.0 is the rear. The round taillights are cute and playful, but something about the lines scream “Mini Cooper” to me. It’s possible that I’ll grow to love it, much as I’ve grown to love the Rivian R1T’s front end, but for now it’s the one design element that I’d change if I could.
Finishing out the Manx is a tiny frunk that can hold a spare tire and not much else. Knobby General Tire Grabbers are wrapped around 15-inch wheels with vintage-inspired dome hubcaps. Round rally lights blaze the way forward flanked by a small chrome bash bar. Thankfully the old drum brakes have been replaced by modern disc brakes — regenerative no less — and an electric parking brake.
As a specialty manufacturer, Meyers Manx won’t have to worry about passing crash-tests and will still be street legal, as long as it sells fewer than 325 vehicles per year.
What remains to be seen is how the traditional Manx crowd will receive Bruce Meyer’s classic as an electric vehicle. After all, this is the car that won the very first Baja 1000, then called the Mexican 1000, by over five hours. After that win, the Manx became the vehicle to have for anything from easy beach runs to hard-core off-road racing. While there have been a few electric entries in races the past few years, Volkswagen campaigned an ID 4 in the NORRA Mexican 1000 and a privateer built his own EV for King of the Hammers, on the whole the industry is not too keen on alternative powertrains.
And the price for all this fun and whimsy? Your guess is as good as mine. However, if you’d like to help in the development of the fun-moble you can snag one of 50 next year and will have the opportunity to provide feedback for the production model due in 2024. Orders will begin on Aug. 19 on the Meyers Manx website.