Bruce Meyers, the quintessential west coast artist whose invention of the Meyers Manx dune buggy in the early 1960s shaped both automotive and motorsport culture, passed away this morning at the age of 94 in his home in Valley Center, California. Widely known for his creation that still provides countless enthusiasts around the world “smiles for miles, Meyers was also a surfer, sailor, guitar/ukulele player, artist, engineer, and founding father of the entire off-road lifestyle and industry. Born on March 12, 1926, he was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame (ORMHOF) in 1978.
Built in 1964 in his old garage in Newport Beach, California, Meyers originally created a flowing fiberglass body to fit on an old Volkswagen floor pan. Using much of the stock VW drivetrain, suspension and other parts, that first car was eventually called a Meyers Manx. Nicknamed “Old Red,” in mid-1967 Meyers and buddy Ted Mangels drove the car from La Paz to Tijuana in time five full hours faster than previous trans-Baja runs done on motorcycles. The feat not only garnered attention around the world, but also resulted in the formation of the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA), an entity that created and promoted the very first Mexican 1000 later that year.
Considered the first true professional desert race, the inaugural NORRA Mexican 1000 was won by Mangels and Vic Wilson in a factory-supported Meyers Manx.