Of all the positives that one can lay at the tires of the Volkswagen Type 1, there is one massive negative for most people: it looks like a Beetle. Some people dig the shape of VW’s iconic little car, but to many it was too frumpy, too old looking, too…dour might be the word we’re looking for. The VW was meant to be frugal and basic, and it certainly was both. That was fine for post-WW2 Germany and the world, but it didn’t fare so well when the Sixties lit off like a rocket. In 1964 Bruce Meyers figured out how to make the VW a bit more sporty: he shortened the VW pan, converted the rear suspension to a GM truck-like trailing arm setup, and built a worked-over fiberglass shell to replace the Beetle body. The Manx (and all of it’s copycat variations) became a 1960s icon…usually colorful, certainly sporty and fun, and even race-proven, the basic concept behind the original street-legal dune buggy proved to be solid.
A two-seater Manx-style ride in a bright color like this green one we found on eBay makes us picture summer fun all day long. What sadness could come from tooling around in something like this? It’s a go-kart for adults with a license plate, it’s a UTV without the overly aggressive bro-culture image (and again, with license plates) and it’s now nostalgia that can be worked on easily and relatively cheaply. We might hunt down a wider set of rear slot mags for the hot-rod look, but that’s a want. We’d rock this thing as it is, on the roads and on trails…though we’d really like to take it to a nice, sandy beach and enjoy some excellent weather and surf.