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Fancy buying the beach buggy that Steve McQueen famously drove in The Thomas Crown Affair? You’ll get the chance at Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction next year.
The customised Meyers Manx stars in a memorable scene in which McQueen throws it around the dunes, much to the delight/terror of his passenger Faye Dunaway.
Not only did McQueen perform the scene himself, with no stunt double, but the Hollywood icon even helped design the buggy too.
All of which is likely to drive intense interest in the vehicle when it is offered for sale next spring.
The Meyers Manx was the first true dune buggy and was developed by Californian visionary Bruce Meyers.
Based on a modified Volkswagen Beetle floorpan and flat-four engine but with a Meyers-designed glassfibre body bolted on, it proved a massive hit, embodying that mid-’60s Beach Boys surfer-dude vibe and creating a whole new motoring category in the process.
Speaking to C&SC in 2015, Meyers recalled his priorities when creating the Manx: “The top of the front fenders had to be flat to hold a couple of beers, and the sides had to be high enough to keep the sand and mud out of your eyes!”
McQueen decided early on that the title character in The Thomas Crown Affair should drive one – then worked with Pete Condos of Con-Ferr fame to build a customised vehicle.
“Crown lives at the beach and he has a dune buggy,” McQueen said in a period documentary about the movie. “I helped them design it, so I’m kinda proud of that.
“It’s set on a Volkswagen chassis with big ol’ wide weenies – big wide tires on mag wheels, Corvair engine stuffed in the back… It’s very light, you know [because of the glassfibre body]. It’s pulling about 230 horses and weighs about a thousand pounds.”
The Manx will be on view during Monterey Car Week, with visitors to Bonhams’ auction tent at Quail Lodge in Carmel able to check it out for themselves from today until Friday (14-16 August).
And it’s not the only McQueen machine in Monterey: Bonhams will also be offering the actor’s personal 1949 Chevy 3100 Pickup Truck at the sale. In fact it features in our list of the 42 best lots at the Monterey 2019 auctions.
Movie images courtesy ©MGM Studios. Contemporary image courtesy of Bonhams / Pawel Litwinski