Bruce Meyers, who used his abilities as a ship builder to invent the primary fiberglass dune buggy, ignited the mania of the late ’60s for off-road using, and thrived till at which copycats flooded the market, he died Feb. 19 at his dwelling in Valley Middle Avia 94 years in the past.
The trigger was myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood most cancers, stated his spouse, Winnifred (Baxter) Meyers.
Mr. Meyers ’invention had a fantastic promotional increase after he and a good friend drove the Meyers Manx (referred to as for the cat with a tail stick) to a time document on practically 1000 miles of tough roads. the Baja California peninsula in 1967. The victory demonstrated the viability of the automobile and made an previous seaside marina the face of devotees off the street.
“Going again to the life-style I lived after I bought into this factor,” he stated in a 2017 interview with Motorward, a automobile web site. “It wasn’t about larger studying or schooling, it was nearly having enjoyable.”
Meyers was a surfer in Southern California with an schooling in positive arts who within the late Nineteen Fifties and early Nineteen Sixties watched four-wheeled Jeeps struggling for traction on the dunes. of sand.
However he noticed higher expressions of the liberty to drive off-road in modified Volkswagen Beetles, which have been extra environment friendly for navigating dunes as a result of his engine weight was on the backside. On the time, lovers have been making a modification of the beetles by chopping the physique to make them even lighter and including large tires.
A few of these automobiles reminded Mr. Meyers of his childhood.
“All these characters – Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse – have been all driving little dinky automobiles with large large tires,” he advised The Nationwide, a newspaper in Abu Dhabi, in 2012. “Possibly my instincts after I created the buggy dune have been guided by my reminiscences.”
For 18 months, he labored in his small storage in Newport Seaside to create the Meyers Manx. He eliminated the physique of a beetle, shortened its part from the ground, then wrapped it round a one-piece fiberglass shell (with fenders, sides, and a entrance hood space) that was moldable and light-weight however sturdy. .
He accomplished the Beetle-Turned-Manx in 1964, making it lighter and quicker, with a shorter turning radius and a better traction than the buggy dunes that preceded his. He referred to as his creation Outdated Crimson for his portray work.
He began promoting kits that might let others convert their beetles. However gross sales didn’t decide up till 1967, when he and a good friend, engineer Ted Mangels, drove the Meyers Manx from La Paz, Mexico, north to Tijuana in simply 34 hours and 45 minutes – beating the earlier document, which had been held by two motorcyclists, by about 5 hours.
A canopy article in Street & Observe, which chronicled Baja’s wild journey, launched orders for the kits. However demand has lastly surpassed the capability of Mr’s firm. Meyers produced the kits – he insisted he wasn’t a businessman – and his rivals have shaken up his design.
Mr. Meyers has made greater than 5,000 kits, however it has been estimated that a minimum of 20 occasions as many faux Meyers handles have been produced. He misplaced a authorized lawsuit towards a copycat producer for defending his patent on a “sand automobile.” In 1971, he closed BF Meyers & Firm.
“It took me 10 years to listen to the phrases ‘dune buggy’ and never be livid.” he advised Automotive and Driver in 2006.
And nearly three a long time earlier than he bought again into enterprise.
Bruce Franklin Meyers was born in Los Angeles on March 12, 1926. His father, John, helped arrange a automobile dealership for Henry Ford. Her mom, Peggy, was a track plugger.
Mr. Meyers left highschool to affix the Service provider Navy and volunteered for the Navy throughout World Conflict II. Served aboard the service Bunker Hill when it was attacked by two Japanese suicide bombers on Could 11, 1945, close to Okinawa. He remembered leaping into the water because the burning service started to sink; he gave a sailor his life jacket and helped a burnt pilot till they have been rescued by a destroyer hours later.
In a bloodbath, 346 sailors and aviators have been killed, 264 have been injured and 43 have been lacking.
“I spent nearly a month coming again with a skeletal crew, pulling the useless off the ship,” Mr. Meyers advised The Nationwide.
After the conflict he returned to the service provider navy, spending time in Tahiti. He then attended artwork faculties in San Francisco and Los Angeles for six years, specializing in pictures.
He labored for a number of years at Jensen Marine on fiberglass sailboats – an expertise that helped him construct his revolutionary dune buggy.
Within the practically 30 years since he closed his firm, Mr. Meyers has labored a number of jobs, amongst them working for a ship producer.
Then, within the late 90s, he returned everywhere in the world to a buggy world. With Winnie Meyers, his sixth spouse, he began the Manx Membership after which produced a restricted version Meyers Manx package similar to the unique. He additionally developed a number of different kits, such because the Manx 2 + 2 and the Manx SR.
The couple sells the corporate in November to Trousdale Ventures, an funding agency.
“I used to be 94,” Winnie Meyers stated by cellphone, “and I needed to cease.”
Along with his spouse, Mr. Meyers is survived by a daughter, Julie Meyers; 5 grandchildren; and a brother, Richard. One other daughter, Georgia Meyers, and a son, Tim, have died lately.
In 2014, the Meyers Manx was the second important automobile, motorbike or truck (after the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX2287) induced within the Nationwide Register of Historic Autos, an eight-year venture detailing the historic and cultural significance of American automobiles. The registry is a collaboration between the Historic Autos Affiliation, a bunch of householders, and the Division of the Inside.
In a nod to Mr. Meyers ’ingenuity and his enterprise troubles, the document stated the Meyers Manx it was “the inspiration for greater than 250,000 related automobiles manufactured by different corporations, and is thus essentially the most replicated automobile in historical past.”