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.

Leave it to Beaver TONY DOW Malibu CARSHOW! – FMV570

Photo Thumbnail: Scott Martin

Fireball’s WHEELS AND WAVES goes off at The Malibu Country Mart with Celebrity Guest TONY DOW from Leave it to Beaver. An amazing array of Art Center Designers show up including Freeman Thomas (Ford), Frank Saucedo (GM) and Derek Jenkins (LUCID).

About Tony Dow from WIKI… Tony Lee Dow (born April 13, 1945) is an American film producer, director, sculptor, and television actor.

Dow was born in Hollywood, California, to John Stevens Dow, Jr. (1908–1987), a designer and general contractor, and Muriel Virginia Dow (née Montrose) (May 27, 1906 – April 30, 2001), a stunt woman in early Westerns and Clara Bow’s movie double in Hollywood. In his youth, Dow was a Junior Olympics diving champion. He won the role of Wally Cleaver in a casting call with almost no previous acting experience.

Dow acted in the series until it ended in 1963. After that, he appeared in the television series My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, Mr. Novak (five episodes in three different roles), The Greatest Show on Earth, and Never Too Young. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he was a guest star in the television series Adam-12, Love American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys, and Emergency!.[3]

During the 1970s, Dow continued acting while working in the construction industry and studying journalism and filmmaking.[4]

In 1987, he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.[5]

Dow’s most recent screen appearance was in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.[3]

He has been married to his wife, Lauren, since 1980. They have one child and two grandchildren.

Dow is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) and the brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers).

VLOG 10 takes us Inside Mazda’s Top Secret Design Center!!


Had a fantastic day yesterday at Mazda, thanks to Chief Designer, Malibuite and friend DEREK JENKINS. You’ll get an awesome tour of things, then off for some of the most amazing pizza on the planet. BIG THANKS to Mazda for putting us up!

WATCH! CAR STORIES Ep14 with Mazda’s Derek Jenkins & a Baja Bug…


MOTOR PRESS GUILD design event goes off at the Petersen…

The other night, I attended an event for the MOTOR PRESS GUILD featuring awesome designers for various car companies. BMW Designworks, VW, Kia and my good friend Derek Jenkins, Chief Designer for MAZDA. (Derek has a Dune Buggy that’s insane, but more on that later…) The discussion involved the differences between Asian, European and American design philosophies, although the guys discussed cultural differences regarding cars, too. It was cool. They all have some great designs coming…

We chowed, checked out the new Aerodynamics Exhibit at the museum and talked with the press.