We Talk To The Designer Of The New EV Meyers Manx And Confirm It Has At Least One Ancient VW Part

Evmanx3

The original Meyers Manx, the iconic Volkswagen-based fiberglass dune buggy, has been re-born as an electric car, and that’s something that delights me. I’ve written about the new EV Manx before, noting that it appears to contain at least one obvious and significant old air-cooled VW component: The front axle assembly. When I was at The Quail fancy-ass car show this past week, I was able to see and scrutinize the new Manx in person, and, even better, talk to its designer, the legendary Freeman Thomas. And, if you’ll allow me another even better, we got it all on video!

[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this post had a top photo with the term “deep dive.” This is not really a deep-dive; deep-dives are extremely in-depth research pieces, often into engineering topics. You can expect those from us regularly. This is more of a quick-look. -DT]

And here is that very video:

As far as that old VW part I was talking about, the front axle assembly, while we don’t show it in the video, I can confirm that it is, in fact, a normal VW torsion beam front axle, the same basic kind that has been in use, in various forms, since 1938:

 

Vwfrontaxle

Oh, the wipers are old-school VW parts, too.

Back to the design of the Manx 2.0: Just so you understand how excited I was to talk to the Manx’ designer, let me remind you a bit about who Freeman Thomas is: he’s the man behind the Audi TT, the Chrysler Pacifica and (with Ralph Gilles) the 300C, and, significantly for this, the Volkswagen New Beetle, which may make him the only designer to design a modernized version of a kit car and the car the kit car was originally designed to use a chassis from.

Tt Newbeetle

In the video, we get to talk, in great detail, about the new Manx and how Freeman adapted that now-iconic design, the taillight design, adapting an old fiberglass design into a modern design vocabulary and with modern materials, and so much more. He also shows us some fun new practical storage capabilities the original Manx lacked.

Bruce1

Freeman is an incredible designer, and I think he approached the EV Manx design in the appropriate way, with the right combination of respect for the original, practicality, and fun.

Meyers Manx 2 0 Electric Dune Buggy 113

We also get a bit of a look at the tech of the new Manx, with our own David Tracy helping to assess things, including the dual-motor drivetrain layout and single-speed gearbox. Oh, and inboard rear brakes that don’t even really brake the wheels, but the motor!

Will this new EV Meyers Manx 2.0  end up being far too expensive for me? Almost definitely. Will it change the motoring landscape for decades to come? I wouldn’t hold my breath. Is it delightful and desirable and am I thrilled it exists? Absolutely.

 

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16 Responses

  1. Honestly this makes me actually want to get one. Torsion Beam Suspension is awesome!

    Though after watching more of the video the liquid cooling and the aluminum body are kinda sad to see. It’s pretty easy to actively air cool batteries and there are no emissions to worry about. Plastic bodies rarely dent and they don’t corrode.

    I wish VW would have actually mass produced their ID Buggy concept, even though it had liquid cooling and such at least it had a plastic body.

  2. Small point of order – the New Beetle was a collaboration between Thomas and J Mays. This only stood out to me because I’ve had the pleasure to see Mays give a talk at the SF MOMA about his design career.

    Pretty damn cool that Thomas is the man behind this. Mays is at Whirlpool now, so I don’t think he’s being called upon to do as many throwback designs anymore!

  3. Love the videos. Love the podcast.

    I have one tip, because I adore this site: it’s a conversation, not a race. Let each other — and especially your guests — talk. You can edit for brevity but you can’t edit out how much you interrupt.

    “When the guest is responding to a question, especially one that you ask . . . wait until there’s silence because silence follows a completion of the [ ] answer”

    Listen to 10:45-11:10 — https://www.listennotes.com/podcast-clips/will-ferrell-isn2jp7SUQr/

    1. To be fair, it came across more as 4 car nerds chatting, rather than a structured interview, so the back and forth, including interjections, didn’t seem that bothersome.
      But fair point for more formal interviews.

  4. I am really liking the video hits with these articles. The articles are full of great details. What excites me about the Manx 2.0 is it shows that EVs do not have to all be the same thing. Companies can take chances.

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