Category Archives: automobiles

Manx on the Banx

About 1964 Bruce Meyers popularized dune buggies with his innovation of a fiberglass body that fit over a shortened Volkswagen chassis. The Meyers Manx was sold as a kit and could be assembled by most anyone with a knack for mechanics. Other companies were later spawned from the same concept. In 1969, I built a buggy from a spinoff produced by Empi. It was so much fun and honed my interest in cars, especially VW’s. That was more than 50 years ago. 

Earlier this month an Outer Banks tradition that began over a decade ago, returned with 84 registered participants. Manx on the Banx is a gathering of folks with a common interest. That interest is dune buggies. In the past, I’ve enjoyed watching and listening to them buzz through town. This year we were invited on the Hatteras Island drive in a loaner buggy, courtesy of our friends and neighbors at Island Cruisers.


On the first day in Nags Head, an introduction was held for registrants and their guests.

Raffle tickets were sold for a quilt made from t-shirts belonging to Bruce Meyers. It was particularly poignant in that Meyers had passed away in February at the age of 94.

Buggies of all descriptions were assembled, each one individually custom built.

They are powered by a variety of motors, but mostly modified Volkswagen engines.

They came from all around the country. Many were personally autographed by Meyers.

This one is powered by Honda.

A Manx from Ohio was built using a Corvair chassis and motor.

I was intrigued by the different exhaust systems.

Another entry from Ohio sports a VW power plant with a metallic red finish.

I don’t know what was behind this, but it looked exotic.

From the front, Meyers Manx buggies have a classic look.

By the afternoon we were gathered at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

One paint job really caught my eye.

Driven to the Outer Banks from California, this beauty has competed in the Baja 1000 several times and one year took top honors in its class. Known as a Dual Sport Baja Edition, it uses a water-cooled Subaru motor.

Like many others, it pays homage to Bruce Meyers.

This buggy reminded me of my bright yellow Empi Imp.

One Hummer-style buggy was there from New York. The body was manufactured in Washington state.

Eric and Damon Stump are two thirds of the Island Cruisers crew. At their invitation our day was well spent.





The older one gets, the more nostalgic they become. I look back with a more appreciable perspective. My photographs shot years ago have a deeper meaning than when I first took them. Maybe that’s because the moments are gone and can never happen again. They become a window into the past.

Lately I’ve studied old photographs more than I’ve shot new ones. Some are technically flawed, but that doesn’t diminish the value much. I was young and learning the ropes of photography. Images and equipment improved over time, and subjects evolved.

When I moved here 45 years ago, I was the only photographer in town. That had results that I didn’t anticipate. Consequently, I shot nearly two hundred weddings, portrait sessions and other events. Yearning to be out in nature, it was work that I was never truly comfortable with.

In 1975 I was asked to take a picture of local women who worked at the restaurant at the Rodanthe Pier. It was the beginning of the tourist season and they were outfitted in their very best homemade dresses. As I recall, they are from left to right: Laura Scarborough, Thelma Midgett, Mellie Edwards, Wilma O’Neal and Elizabeth Gray. They all wanted to have me make prints for them.

Midgett Day was a local event begun in 1972 to celebrate the heroism and lifesaving of the Midgett family, so renown in the annals of Coast Guard history. It was culminated with a memorial wreath thrown into the sea from Rodanthe Pier. The man in the blue jacket is Don Edwards, and the woman in white Maggie Smith, both members of the Midgett family. This was taken July 1978, and I think it was the final celebration of Midgett Day.

Don Edwards incidentally, was the one arranging most of my wedding and social jobs. The striking aspect of this photograph is the lack of oceanfront development south of the pier.

The vehicle that brought me here was a 1964 VW Microbus. I paid $900 for it in 1968, and it took me on a number of trips, including several to the Outer Banks. I outfitted it to modestly accommodate one or two people on overnight sojourns. It was in constant need of maintenance and tune-ups. Whenever it broke down, I knew how to fix it, including rebuilding the engine 3 times. It originally had a 1500 cc engine and ended up with a peppier 1600 “pancake engine”. With the tires deflated to 15 pounds, I could go anywhere on the beach. I drove it 15 years until the corrosive salt air took its toll. Mac Midgett hauled it away to his junk yard and I replaced it with a Datsun pick-up truck that also rusted away to the same junk yard.


One Big Job

Last month I saw, for the first time, a finished job that I had worked on last Fall. It involved making photos much larger than I ever imagined.

Collaborating with the owners, we came up with a complete photographic wrap for a 45 foot motor coach.

It’s always nice to view published work, but this was done to another dimension.






Bringing up the rear is the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse as shot in 1996 when Hurricane Edouard passed offshore.

drive byStarting out on a road trip, the coach drove by my studio one evening, honking one big hello.


A weekend trip to Raleigh a few weeks ago was a nice change of pace from the riggers of mid-winter on Cape Hatteras. While there we happened upon a new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Porsche By Design, Seducing Speed is a collection 22 automobiles manufactured by the renown German auto maker. The popular show runs until February 2.

Copy and paste for the museum’s web site:

Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed

Porsche has long been one of my favorite cars, and I thoroughly appreciated the chance to see them as art forms.

1938 In 1938 Porsche built the Type 64 Berlin-Rom Racer. The aerodynamic design was way ahead of it’s time.

1949 The 1949 356 Coupe was one of my favorites. It has a 40 hp 1100 cc 4-cylinder engine.

McQueen Then there was Steve McQueen’s gorgeous 1958 Speedster.

speedster McQueen’s Speedster has a 1600 Super  88 hp 4-cylinder engine


Carrera The 1964 356 C Carrera Coupe also caught my eye.

356 C The Carrera was built with a 1966 cc air-cooled 128 hp 4-cylinder engine that could rev up to 6000 rpm’s. It’s top speed was 125 mph.


901 This 1963 prototype 901 was the precursor to the 911. It has a 2 liter 128 hp 6-cylinder, single overhead cam engine with a top speed of 125 mph.

911  This 911 Carrera was built in 1974 and  set up for some serious racing. It has a 3 liter air-cooled 6 cylinder producing 316 hp at 8,000 rpm’s. Top speed is 155.

917 K The 1971 Porsche 917 K had a  600hp 4907 cc 12 cylinder engine with a top speed of 223 mph.

908 K Porsche’s 1968 model 908K prototype was a 2990 cc 8 cylinder air-cooled engine developing 350 hp with a top speed of 200 mph.

926 C The 1990 Porsche 926 C has a 3200 cc 6- cylinder engine boasting 750 hp and a top speed of 215 mph.

Hybrid Porsche’s 2010 model 911 GT3R Hybrid is a prototype equipped with a water-cooled 410 hp 4 liter 6-cylinder engine. It also has 2 electric motors (202 hp) and is an all-wheel drive vehicle. It’s top speed is 175 mph.

Panamericana In 1989 Porsche made the Panamericana, a one of a kind concept car with a top speed of 162 mph. It has a 3162 cc 6-cylinder  275 hp engine. 

Joplin Janis Joplin’s 1965 Porsche 356 C Cabriolet was getting a lot of attention.


It brought back memories of driving my very own 356 A, a 1959 Convertible D. As the successor to the Speedster, only 1332 of them were built at Porsche’s Drauz plant.

Years ago I was a motor-head. In high school I loved fast cars, and drag racing.

My dad bought 2 used 1958 Volkswagen beetles and I rebuilt a 1600 Porsche engine for one and had some fun. In those days, it was called a Poor Man’s Porsche. Dad was mechanically inclined and it rubbed off on me. It was the best of times. We tore them down and rebuilt them at home in the laundry room.

Right after high school I found an old Porsche, abandoned in a parking lot. The motor had been stolen and the owner was going to junk it. I bought it for $50 and in the course of a few years began restoring it.

jacked up In 1968 when I was 19 years old, I was right in the middle of fixing up the Convertible D. Here I was rebuilding a 1600 N engine that I’d bought in pieces.

As a day student at George Mason, it became my mode of transportation to class everyday. During a period when I was doing body work, it was a sight to see, speckled with gray and black primer. That same time, I was employed at a Mercedes Benz dealership, and got some expert advice from knowledgable German mechanics.

I loved the deep sound of the air-cooled engine resonating as I drove into tunnels and underpasses around DC and Virginia. Drifting through the s-curves on Carlyn Springs Road was another joy. All the Porsche owners flashed their headlights at one another. For a while I was one of them.

Convertible D All I have left are the memories and a few old Polaroids.

1959 As time passed, I became more interested in hanging out at the beach and surfing. The Porsche was involved in a bad traffic accident and we sold it in parts.