Dual Delight - Meyers Manxster
Marty Fiolka's Manxter DualSport was built to cruise wherever he wants to go ... and he does it in
One thing’s for sure, you don’t often (make that never) see people drive their buggy all the way out to the sand dunes for a photo session! But that’s just what Marty Fiolka of San Clemente, California did — hop in his Meyers Manx DualSport, turn the key, and drive it all the way to the SoCal desert to blast through the dunes for an hour or so photo session, and then head to Long Beach for a meeting that afternoon. Did we mention that it was 104°! Fifty-year-old Fiolka is no stranger to Meyers Manx buggies, or the off-road scene, as he first drove his dad’s old Manx at the age of 9, and built his first Baja Bug at 15. That was followed by a Cal Look Bug, then starting his off-road racing career at 19, first racing with VORRA, followed by SCORE in 1990. Over the years he became entrenched in the off-road scene, competing in 15 Baja 1000s, three Mint 400s, and many other off-road events, including the 2011 NORRA Mexican 1000 where he won his class. But his involvement in off-road racing was deeper than just building and racing vehicles, as he penned the highly acclaimed off-road book “1,000 Miles To Glory: History of the Baja 1000,” was Associate Producer of the movie “Dust to Glory,” and is currently on the editorial staff of Dirt Sports magazine. With this in-depth background in off-roading, you might think Marty would make a few friends along the way … and you’d be right!
One of those friends is non other than Bruce Meyers himself, founder of the Meyers Manx fiberglass dune buggy. When Marty was looking to build a new play buggy for himself in 2001, he chose one of Bruce’s new Manxters for the base. But wanting to go with pre-runner-style mid-travel suspension, it was soon decided that the buggy needed considerable modification. What evolved would be the prototype for the Meyer’s new Manxter DualSport — and a long 8-year project! In order to obtain the necessary tire clearance he wanted, Marty began by adding a 2-inch lift kit to a standard Manxter body and having the car built at RPS Racing. Bruce himself then saw the car, and decided it would be better to simply add 3 inches to the fiberglass body and 3 inches to the Manxter roll cage to match. Marty then brought the new Manxter DualSport kit and chassis to Porter Race Cars (now ES Motorsports) in Riverside to modify the wheelbase by some six inches for better handling. These modifications allowed Porter Race Cars to build Marty a suspension with 11 inches of front and 14 inches of rear wheel travel.
Up front, they used a 5-inch wider chromoly beam from McKenzie’s that was modified with custom shock towers, and then bolted on Combo link-pin spindles and chromoly racing trailing arms from Fodrill, as well as chromoly tie-rods and FK heim ends. To better handle long hours of duning or rough pre-running, a Howe Diablo power rack and pinion steering system was utilized, along with CNC disc brakes. Fox 2.0 coil-over shocks with Eibach springs control front wheel movement. Out back we find McKenzie’s 3x3 trailing arms controlled by Fox 2.5 shocks with remote reservoirs, Sway-A-Way 300M spring plates, ProAm Racing 300M axles, Porsche 930 CV-joints, and Race Trim Micro Stub flanges. Race Trim rear discs were equipped with six piston Wilwood calipers for efficient stopping. Before assembling everything, many of the components were powdercoated or plated at Embee Plating in Santa Ana, California — not to mention the race-quality plumbing by J2 Precision using all Goodridge fittings and hose.
Once all the body mods were complete, Wally World in Oak Hills, California was called on to spray the Nissan Xterra Yellow paint. However, if you look closely you’ll notice that Wally added just a touch of sparkle, in the form of finely ground Metalflake. Not big glitter like the buggies of yesteryear, but just enough to make this buggy pop in the sunshine. Another area that Marty spent of lot of attention on was the engine compartment. There, Adam Wik of Wik’s Racing Engines in Las Vegas, Nevada built a super reliable 2017cc engine that produced 131 horsepower on the dyno. This engine was built around a tough aluminum case, and equipped with Redline/Weber fuel injection for flawless operation whether he’s cruising the highway at 70mph or bouncing through the desert at 5mph. Major engine details include a Scat forged 78.4mm crankshaft, Mahle 90.5mm pistons with Total Seal rings, Steve Tims ported and polished head with 40mm intakes and 35.5mm exhaust valves, a Web Cam #65 camshaft, and a Redline crank trigger ignition system that works in conjunction with the fuel injection. Cooling is handled by a carbon fiber housing with Porsche 911 fan and alternator, as well as Setrab oil cooled with dual fans. A Meyers Manx 1-5/8-inch Sidewinder exhaust system was ceramic coated by Embee, then topped with a Magnaflow muffler for efficient flow. Finishing the driveline is a bus gearbox, modified by Rancho Performance Transaxles (Fullerton, CA) for major off-road abuse.
Knowing that he would be getting some serious seat time, Marty equipped the interior to be functional, but very comfortable. The two thickly padded front buckets are RX3s from Beard, and feature heaters and headrest speakers. There is also a matching bench seat in the rear for passengers. One big area of modification was the dash, which is now a custom steel unit that was covered by Felipe in Santa Ana with black leather with yellow stitching. Inside this dash we find a set of Auto Meter Carbon Series gauges (tach, oil pressure and temp), Lowrance GPS, a variety of switches, and PCI intercom and race radio. For music there is a Sirius/XM radio that utilizes a 400-watt JL Audio amp to power Racer X headsets, as well as those speakers in the front headrest, speakers under the rear seat (MTX), and two BOSE Marine speakers behind the rear seat (which flip up to act as outside speakers!). Other interior appointments include a Momo suede steering wheel, Mastercraft 3-inch lap belts, Pro Am Racing shifter, and custom carpets and mats.
Removing the hood (a single bolt in the front) reveals dual fuel tanks — a modified VW main and a custom 3-gallon reserve. Since the main tank utilizes a high pressure fuel pump to operate the fuel injection, a separate low pressure pump is used to transfer fuel from the reserve to the main tank when needed. The trunk is also where you’ll see a good deal of the professional race-quality wiring job by Tiedemann Race Harnesses — and there’s a lot going on.
Marty would also like to thank a special list of people who helped him get through those eight long years of construction. “I could not have gotten this fun machine completed without the help of Jeff Quinn, Jeff Conrad, Nick Tiedemann, Bill Varnes, Tommy Morris, Jamie Campbell (Raceco USA), Roy Dehban, Todd Tenbroek, Lorenzo Pearson, Jake Batulis, Robbie Pierce, Doug Nagy, Justin “Bean” Smith, Bruce and Winnie Meyers – and especially my beautiful fiancé Susan Kennedy.” For our photo session, Marty ran his standard tire and wheel combination — 7.00x15-inch fronts and 33x10.50x15-inch rear General tires, all mounted on Robby Gordon beadlock aluminum wheels. But we think he had so much fun, next time he shows up in the sand he might just bolt on a set of paddles. And isn’t that what makes a Dual Delight such as this so much fun — you can have your cake, and get it sandy too!
ENGINE/TYPE 1 DISPLACEMENT/2017cc BUILDER/Adam Wik, Wik’s Racing Engines, Las Vegas, NV CASE/heavy-duty aluminum CRANK/Scat, 78.4mm, forged, counter-weighted RODS/Scat, forged H-beam PISTONS/Mahle, 90.5mm, Total Seal rings CAM/Web Cam, #165, .492-inch lift, 312° duration CAM GEAR/Scat LIFTERS/Scat PUSHRODS/Bugpack, chromoly, Bugpack tubes ROCKER ARMS/stock 1.1:1 ratio, Bugpack solid shafts HEADS/VW dual-ports, ported and polished by Steve Tims, 40x35.5mm stainless steel valves, chromoly retainers VALVE COVERS/Meyers Manx, aluminum OIL SYSTEM/full-flow with Gene Berg pump, Setrab cooler, dual fans, billet aluminum LAT filter, Valvoline 20W-50 oil INTAKE SYSTEM/Redline/Weber dual EFI throttle bodies, Redline EFI controller, polished EMPI manifolds IGNITION SYSTEM/Redline crank trigger ignition and coil, MSD wires, NGK plugs EXHAUST SYSTEM/Meyers Manx 1-5/8-inch Sidewinder header, ceramic coated at Embee Plating, Magnaflow muffler FLYWHEEL/200mm, 12 pounds, 8-dowels CLUTCH/1,800 pound Kennedy pressure plate HORSEPOWER/131 (dynoed) SPECIAL MODIFICATIONS/Carbon fiber fan housing with 911 fan/alternator, Howe power steering pum TRANSAXLE/1975 002 “PYRAMID” BUS BUILDER/Rancho Performance Transaxles, Fullerton, CA RING & PINION/4.86:1 GEAR RATIOS/3.44:1 1st, 2.225:1 2nd, 1.59:1 3rd, 1.22:1 4th SPECIAL MODIFICATIONS/Weddle gears, Super Diff, chromoly diff cover, chromoly pinion nut, sleeved pinion bore, gussetted case, 930 flanges