What’s it like to drive a full-custom 1970 MEYERS MANX STREET BUGGY?

What’s it like to drive a full-custom 1970 MEYERS MANX STREET BUGGY?

Living in Malibu, you get to know a wide diversity of people. All unique industries where folks are having fun and being intrinsically creative, and sometimes they live virtually right next to you.

Back in the day, I went to school at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, which has a car design school where many went on to car companies to create amazing machines that we all get to enjoy and drive. Today’s Ride of the Week features one of those guys who has gone on to success. His name’s Derek Jenkins, and he’s right down the street.

Derek is currently director of design for Lucid Motorcars. He’s responsible for some great cars coming out of that company including the all new Lucid Air. But there’s another side to Derek when he’s not being an automotive designer dude.

What’s in Derek’s garage is what he calls his buggy. It’s a fully custom 1970 Meyers Manx Street Buggy that’s beyond most versions. Where you may see them from time to time in Lime Rainbow Metal Flake paint, Derek’s version is what a pro car designer would do.

It’s got a 1800cc Air-Cooled VW motor with 130HP at only 1350 pounds. At that ratio, this lil’ beast can haul through the best of Malibu curves. But the coolest part is the extreme air conditioning system. As in, it’s like driving wind. ‘Bu Powered.

“The project is about 10 years old now,” said Derek. “But it’s been on the road for 5 years. I always loved air cooled VWs. My dad got me started and I have had several over the years. I wanted to create an eclectic mix of nostalgia and California custom perfectly suited for PCH.” 

That’s a severe understatement. 

The cool grey paint scheme with added spices of red makes this thing roll with attitude. It’s all business but doesn’t take itself seriously. In a way, that’s Derek. Under his quiet and poised demeanor is a guy that values the passions of Malibu. If you meet him on the street, he’s got a very humble nature, but look out when he’s behind the wheel of his fun machine.

And although he mainly uses the Buggy for trips to the market and hitting the canyon roads, so do others in their Ferraris and Lambos in this town. This lil’ beast exemplifies solid fun and driving adventure. There’s no hiding in this car. It’s a confidence builder and smile maker. 

“To me, it represents all that’s great about living in California,” Derek said. “It appeals to all types of people.” 

Seriously, who would it not appeal to?

And Derek’s favorite movie car? The Lotus Esprit from “The Spy Who Loved Me.” That clarifies a lot, as anyone in love with a submarine car is very clear on the potentials of driving adventure.

I find people fascinating. What drives them to be successful in many areas including their desire for freedom. But we’re all different in how we get there. The ones that say less and do more are certain of one thing. Passion for cars isn’t in what we talk about as much as what we do. Effects from thinking about things in a certain way. An inspiring notion to teach us all the meaning of true living.

A serious thought wrapped in a funny little car. Don’t be so serious. Life is meant to get a little buggy, and that’s why Derek Jenkins and his zoom machine are this week’s Vlogrocket.