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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This VW-Based Beach Buggy is Vintage Americana, Made in Germany


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

Few vehicles distill the essence of 1960’s California living quite like the iconic Meyers Manx beach buggy. The recipe, masterminded by multi-talented engineer Bruce Meyers, was simple. Take a Volkswagen Beetle, shorten its chassis, add a lightweight fiberglass body, and hit the dunes. 
Not only did the Meyers Manx epitomize American beach culture through and through, but it also proved to be an excellent off-road racer, and its pop culture impact would soon spread far beyond America’s sunbaked West Coast.

The plucky buggies quickly caught on in Europe—thanks in part to a glut of Volkswagen Beetle donor vehicles—and this is one of the Manx’s European contemporaries, a 1969 HAZ Buggy. The roofless off-roader recently surfaced at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Monaco sale, and will cross the block on May 14th.


Though many Meyers Manx replicas were built over the years and all over the globe, the HAZ buggies (named “HAZ” for “Hazard”) are said to be generally of higher quality than most.

 Built by German firm Autohaus G. Kühn, the vehicles were designed to pass muster with Germany’s strict TÜV (Technical Inspection Association) and as a result they became the country’s first road-legal beach buggies.

Meyers Manx production kicked off in 1964. Autohaus G. Kühn followed suit with its HAZ Buggy in 1968, and would continue to do so until the early 1990s.

 The company also went on to produce a restyled “Deserter” variant, as well as Bugatti Type 30 replicas, but none were as popular as the HAZ Buggy.


Despite its 47 years of age, the auction house confirms that this HAZ Buggy (an early and quite original example) has been a one-owner vehicle since new. As such, it wears its period correct wooden steering wheel, black vinyl seats, and magnesium wheels.

While Manx-style buggies have housed Volkswagen four-cylinders of all sizes, this ’69 HAZ Buggy boasts a 1.5-liter VW flat-four, good for 53 horsepower, which is mated to a Beetle four-speed manual transmission. And yes, the Porsche badges are just for show.