My Favorite Vehicle

Meyer's Manx photo

Actual Meyers Manx, as built by me and my dad, with help from Paul Muns and Paul Sutton, plus decorating by Margie.

CGI rendering by Paul Muns.

Meyer's Manx photo

Meyers Manx model assembled and detailed by Don Sickler.

This view shows my ham license plate (WA6MIP) and the blue Officer's Permit for Naval Station San Diego. My BMW 1600 is in the background.

Manx parked in front of my San Diego house

Manx parked in front of my San Diego house, circa 1970

My dad, Milton E. Gray, circa 1964. He enthusiastically embraced the Manx project.

TEG Tales: My Manx story

Terry Gray

21 Feb 1999 (Revised Sep 2014, Aug 2021)

It was early 1967 when I decided to build a Meyer's Manx --a dune buggy based on a VW chassis. This became my principal activity (a.k.a. obsession) during much of my senior year in college, to the point where the Dean of Engineering at Northrop Institute of Technology (Kenneth L. Strite) once saw me and remarked "Terry, I see you've taken time out from building your Manx to come visit us!"

Instrumental in helping me with this project were my dad plus good friends Paul Sutton and Paul Muns, with great encouragement from my oldest friend and college roommate, Bob Hunt. However, my artist friend Margie Driskell (soon to be Muns) --aided and abetted by Paul Sutton-- had decided that the Manx project was not yet complete. Inspired by a piece of fabric with a nice flower-print design, Margie decided the Manx needed a similar look. Thus, while attending Naval Office Candidate School in lovely Newport RI (during the dead of winter in late '67), I received a photograph of my prized possession, as modified by those friends. Most notably, the Manx now sported a "flower power" hand-painted top, in contrast to the original black top with tangerine body motif.

Now picture this: newly-minted Ensign Gray drives his "hippified" Manx onto Naval Station San Diego every morning, where the Marines at the guard shack dutifully salute the officer's vehicle. Now, more than thirty years later, I remember that image as yesterday.

In due course the Manx was sold after I "retired" from the Navy and went to work for Bell Labs in New Jersey in 1970. I didn't think a dune buggy would work out too well in Jersey winters. Selling the Manx was the practical decision, but a heart-wrenching one (and who knows... quite possibly the wrong one.)

The Manx may have been gone, but it was not forgotten. Years later, I received a gift from my favorite high school teacher and mentor Don Sickler. It was a scale model Manx, complete with a careful replication of the flower print paint job on the roof! Then just a few years ago, I received a very interesting email from Muns Design Works, the artistic enterprise of Paul and Margie Muns. Attached to the email was the CGI image you see above, a computer-synthesized rendition based on one photo Paul had of the car.

Update: Going through some old papers, I found the following drawing done by Paul Sutton in October 1969:

I don't have a photo of Paul Sutton, but here are favorite conspirators Paul and Margie Muns, c. 2006.

And now you know the story of the Manx with the flower-print roof. For more information about the Meyers Manx, click here. Of particular note: their Manx History page.

Update: my videographer nephew David Brumbley told me that you can find 3D models of just about anything on the web these days, and proved it by finding a link to this Manx CAD model by Dan Vinson.

Revised in Aug and Sep 2014 to clarify and correct some details in the text, plus add new photos, the 3D CAD model link, and Paul Sutton's drawing above. Added more pictures in Aug 2021.