Two terrific international events were recently held in France onthe the beautiful beaches near Bordeaux. On two successive weekeknds Super VW Magazine (under the direction of Jack Morel) sponsored the 1st Annual Beach Buggy Nationals and the the 11th Annual Super VW Nationals. Bruce and Winnie Meyers were able to attend both events as guests of Jacky Morel.
The event was held near the scenic beach town of Le Verdon where the Gironde river empties into the Atlantic. Super VW Magazine spent many months negotiating with the French government to get the approval to drive on the wide sandy beach.
During the day the buggies were either on display or out playing on the wide beach. The fun was limited to the tidal area to prevent any disturbance to the fragile ecological environment of the surrounding dunes. To compensate, the sponsors built their own sand dunes on the beach with the aid of a huge tractor. The fun on the man-made dunes was followed by time trials on the beach that included a short dash around a distant pylon.
The beach activities were accompanied by excellent French food and a live band that played in the evening by a huge (and much needed) bonfire.
The buggies in attendance included many varieties unknown in the states as well a Manx's and Tow'ds. A lot of attention was given to the new Meyers Manx buggies. These buggies are now being manufactured in France by Eric Reynier of Les Ateliers Composites and certified as new Meyers Manx buggies by Bruce and Winnie Meyers.
A fine example of the new French Manx was a beautiful red car owned by Bruno Bossut. The car was constructed perfectly in the style of the original Manx.
Another buggy that caused much admiration was a newly restored Tow'd by Philippe Bouleau. This buggy was built to be a replica of the Tow'd that Bruce Meyers raced (and crashed) in the Baja 1000. The car was painted in the identical green color with distinctive markings and the original #66 Baja race number. The Tow'd included a powerful water cooled engine (2 liter Vanagon) as the original car was a water cooled Ford.
Jacky Morel (Super VW Magazine sponsor) discusses the fine point of the Tow'd with Philippe Bouleau.
The buggies present included LM's, APAL's, Buffalo's, a Bounty Hunter, and several others. Most of the buggies were set up for street use as there is not much off-road space available in France.
The LM's were most abundant as they were produced for a span of 25 years in France. Many were sold as complete cars with new VW chassis imported from Mexico.
The Bounty Hunter and APAL's are both appealing cars. Superb examples of both were represented by cars built by Philippe Bouleau.
The Buffalo is an interesting car that is built with parts from a Renault Douphine. A square tube steel frame supports the body and Renault parts (including water cooled engine). The Buffalo's at the event were built low to the ground and were very quick. Jean-Jacques Wehrung and the other members of the Buffalo club came all the way from Strasbourg near Germany to attend the event.
Some of our Manx Dune Buggy Club members in France drove all the way from Paris (600 km.) to attend this event and then repeated the feat the following weekend for the VW Nationals. They were Jean Michel Simon, Jean Yvan Madec, and Michel Guirado. Jean Yvan and Michel did both their trips in their buggies !
The two day event was concluded with a toaste to the Mayor and hosting city of Le Verdon followed by an awards ceremony back on the beach. The winners were presented trolphys by Bruce Meyers.