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Meyers Manx beach buggy returns with electric power for 2023

The cult-classic Meyers Manx – a Volkswagen Beetle-based beach buggy that dates back to the 1960s – has been reinvented as a retro-styled EV for 2023.

It has been revealed quietly in Malibu ahead of a debut at Monterey Car Week in California later this month. Until then, details are thin on the ground, but clearly the company is committed to the spirit of the original Manx and has sought to preserve it even while swapping its air-cooled flat four for batteries and electric motors.

The design of the Manx 2.0 – as it is called – holds true to the general design conceived in 1964 by the legendary Bruce Meyers, who sold the marque in late 2020 after 56 years at the helm, before passing away in March 2021 at the age of 94.

It is built around a familiar one-piece bodyshell – though now aluminium, rather than fibreglass – and apart from a lightly modernised rear end, deeper-dish steel wheels and an overhauled cabin, it is difficult to tell apart from its namesake. Though electrically assisted steering, an electronic handbrake and disc brakes all round (regenerative at the rear) help to bring the formula up to date. 

The creation is the work of Freeman Thomas, who became CEO of Meyers Manx LLC following its founder’s departure in 2020, working under new owner firm Trousdale Ventures. Thomas has worked as a designer for a raft of high-profile car marques, including Porsche, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and Volkswagen – where, notably, he found fame in 1994 with his design for the radical Concept 1, which evolved into the New Beetle later that decade.

He will give more details of the reinvented Manx next week, but previously spoke of his enthusiasm for the classic buggy’s design: “As a California native, I grew up on the beaches of southern California, surrounded by its unique and creative lifestyle culture.  

“As I became an automotive designer, the philosophy of Bruce Meyers became a huge inspiration, and I’m sure I’m not alone in thanking him for injecting a huge dose of disruptive creativity into the automotive scene.”

The Manx 2.0 will be sold with a choice of 20kWh and 40kWh lithium ion battery options, for a range of either 150 or 300 miles, which will send their reserves to a pair of motors at the rear, producing a combined 202bhp and 240lb ft, and capable of sending the open-sided EV from 0-60mph in a claimed 4.5sec. Depending on battery, the new Manx is claimed to weigh between 680kg and 750kg – which makes it one of the lightest road-legal EVs yet.

Fast charging at speeds of up to 60kW will be available as an optional extra. 

The underpinnings are supplied by an unnamed US-based partner firm, and final assembly will take place in the brand’s historical home state of California. 

Meyers will build 50 examples throughout 2023 to essentially be used as development cars, before ramping up to higher volumes and delivering to general customers in 2024. It has not revealed pricing yet, but the Manx 2.0 is expected to command a sizeable premium over its humble combustion-engined forebear. 

Revealing the new EV, Sarofim said: “The Meyers Manx has always been a symbol of joy, simplicity and purity.  It’s the solution to the complexity of life. Continuing the legacy of the Meyers Manx connects us with the optimism of the 1960s California culture, an optimism we all can share.”

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