The Dune Buggy’s First Appearance

The dune buggy is an adventurous recreational vehicle equipped with wide, huge tires and a light body used to tear through sand dunes or beaches. This sand master is small, but has quite the history. It is hard to discuss the history of the dune buggy without mentioning the name Bruce Meyers, however he wasn’t the first inventor of the dune buggy.

According to JM4 Motorsports, in the late 1950’s a Volkswagen dealership, EMPI, released the first ever dune buggy kit that was called the Sportster. It was priced for $500, designed from a Beetle floor plan and made from sheet metal. Meyers was aware of the Sportster, but wasn’t impressed with its style or materials so he ventured on his own to come up with a better model. 

He had prior experience with fiberglass and therefore was drawn to using that material for his model. It took him approximately 18 months to finish his first Manx dune buggy with its very own structural skin. Once the Manx was on the market, word spread fast and he had orders for 12 kits in the first month. He was selling each kit for double the cost of the Sportster.

Meyers was driven by his goal of inventing something that could “take you wherever you wanted to go.” The history of the dune buggy begins with the Manx from Meyers. Many different dune buggies have been produced since then, but most of them have been inspired by the original Meyers Manx.