The one traditional automobile James Could owns is a VW seaside buggy, which he by no means takes on the seaside
James May’s newest car is one you might recognize after watching his other show, The Grand Tour. Rescued from his journey through Namibia, the beach buggy is the only old-timer May owns.
“To be honest, I don’t like vintage cars, but they really aren’t,” says May. “It’s more of a deeply personal affect that blossomed unexpectedly and beautifully in the garbage can.”
In his opinion, the beach buggy is better than other classics in two ways. First, it means taking a Beetle that might otherwise have been turned into one of the worst vehicles ever made off the road. Second, it’s a beach buggy!
Also read: The Unloved Beetles: Remembering the Beetle Successors That Never Was
This is a replica of the original Meyers Manx, which according to May has 100 PS (101 PS / 74 kW). Although modified, he admits that some of the car’s changes actually add to the Beetle’s weaknesses. Shortened and even more tail-heavy, it can also be tricky in normal corners.
What makes the beach buggy good, however, is the joy it gives everyone. Everyone who sees it will be happy about it and even James May looks cool in it.
“It’s impossible to feel unhappy with a beach buggy,” he explains. “It is a testimony to the triumph that good will ultimately attain over evil. A wonderful coda, really, to the most incredible auto story in history […] What other car has achieved this transformation, from the icon of oppression to an eternal party on wheels? “
Just don’t ask him to take it to a beach party.
“I never take it with me on the beach,” he says. “I mean, did you see all the shiny pieces that would be eaten away by the salt? Can you imagine what salt would do to those exposed throttle linkages in the back? I mean come on! Will you take my beach buggy to the beach? Are you mad?”