If you’ve been keeping pace with my posts recently, you’ll know that I’ve been helping a friend sort through the huge collection of diecast cars left behind by a relative. In the many many many boxes of Hot Wheels we sorted through, there was one model that we found repeatedly, in many colours and variants including a Treasure Hunt. And it was a car that I grew increasingly fond of the more we found. The Hot Wheels Meyers Manx.
The Meyers Manx was the brainchild of Californian engineer, boat builder and surfer Bruce Meyers. Drawing on his experience of boat building, he created his first fiberglass bodied dune buggy in 1964, mounting it to a shortened VW Beetle chassis. The Manx was born, and after an initial slow selling run of 12 prototypes, over 6000 were sold between 1965 and 1971. Despite lacking 4 wheel drive, the light weight and short wheelbase of the Manx gave it great off road performance and it fast established itself as a dominant force in off road and dune racing, winning the 1967 Mexican 1000. Being Beetle based, power came from various Volkswagen H4 engines from 1.2 to 1.6 litre capacity.
The “Manx” name (and indeed the logo) comes from a breed of tailless domestic cat native to the Isle of Man, both the cat and the buggy posessing rather stubby rears!
The Hot Wheels version was designed by Phil Riehlman and lasted 11 years in the line up from 2003 to 2014. During that time some gorgeous versions appeared including the stunning Auto Affinity and Real Riders cars, but my version comes from the 2008 Web Trading Cars series.
I think the metallic purple with flames looks spot on for this model, a perfect 1970s custom look.
The little air cooled VW unit with custom exhaust has been pretty well replicated on the metal base and the staggered 5 spokes look great. It’s rather sparsely detailed on the whole, but there’s not much to the real thing either! It’s just a really simple yet really effective casting and will appeal as much to lovers of 70s custom vehicles as much as fans of all things Volkswagen.
As I said earlier I really did develop a real love for the casting while helping my friend. It makes me a little sad that the Manx is no longer a part of the Hot Wheels range but now thanks to my research writing this article, a Real Riders or Auto Affinity car is on my wish-list so if any of you out there have a loose one going spare……
(Find the Hot Wheels Meyers Manx on Ebay)