Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Volkswagen Concept: MadManx

I always wanted a dune buggy. Ever since the 1st issue of Dune Buggies and Hot VW, the Fun Car Journal came out, I imagined building one. Sure seems like a ton of fun, for not a lot of money.

Designed by the legendary Bruce Meyers, the iconic Meyers Manx dune buggy set a worldwide whirlwind for small, inexpensive, fun cars. An engineer by profession, Bruce was also an artist and surfer and he used his experience in boat building, fueled by his passion for the Californian lifestyle to produce the Manx and other Volkswagen-based fiberglass cars between 1964 and 1971.

A small car, the Manx leveraged on the use of the Volkswagen Beetle frame and engine. The car featured a fiberglass bodyshell coupled with a shortened (14 1/4 inches or 36.2 cm) wheelbase for lightness and better maneuverability. Even a stock VW-engined Manx is capable of very quick acceleration and good off-road performance.

This particular buggy, the Volkswagen Concept: MadManx, was found near an old warehouse along an old railroad. The faded and cracked orange fiberglass gel-coat has seen better times but the buggy was fairly complete. Unused since the mid 70s because of a leaky oil pump, the discovery that this dune buggy was indeed an original Meyers Manx set off plans for a serious slalom race buggy project.

With a solid, proven platform, MadManx adds big tires and an even bigger engine to challenge slalom racers.

18 inch Porsche Twists with 235/40X18 front and 255/45×18 rear Yokohama Advan AO48, single block with a race-ready compound provide enormous grip. coupled with Bilstein shocks and a 1 3/4 ” front rollbar, the front end features a CB Performance dropped spindle. The rear torsion bar was adjusted 2 notches to bring the ride height down to race-ready levels.

A close ratio Volkswagen Type 1 Pro Street IRS transmission, features a Super Diff, Aluminum side covers, Welded 3-4 hubs, and hardened keys.

A 200HP monster Type 1 Volkswagen engine built by Pat Downs of CB Performance pushes this lightweight cat to the maximum. It has full-flow oiling with a Maxi30 pump. 94mm Mahle pistons with A Race Pro 84mm crankshaft with Chevy journals and forged 1.4:1 rockers bump the stocker to 2332cc.
Other goodies include a lightened flywheel, wedge-port heads with 44×37 valves, Dual 48mm Weber IDA carbs and a 1 3/4″ merged ceramic coated exhaust.

To complete the transformation, aerodynamic side pods and gullwing-style doors were designed, reminiscent of the Manx SR. The body was sprayed with Porsche L-Y7Y Zermatt Silver and the lightweight Speedster bucket seats and door panels were covered in red Alcantara fabric. A ghost-style Manx-logo grace the gullwing doors.

MadManx is dead serious.

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