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Web site by - Bob Elliott - (Last Update, 11/12/15)
Copyright 2005-2016- Deserter Owners Group - All rights reserved No part of this website may be reproduced
OK, certainly Autodynamic's or Dearborn Automotive were not the only one to do
this, but they did it anyway. Everyone could not be a Manx dealer, and when Alex D
was told that he could not be a dealer because it was already sold to others in the
area, they jumped on the bandwagon and came up with a new or modified version of
How to ID a Deserter Series 1 or what made it different from a traditional
Meyer's Manx and other clone dune buggy of the day:
- The most obvious, a Deserter uses a 84 inch wheelbase VW pan for improved ride
and handling. Note this is the same as the Autodynamic's Huster, a Lotus Elan kit
car of the same time and the second generation Deserter, the GT.
- A Deserter also had more rear wheel coverage and a longer rear apron for
improved engine coverage for the MA DMV or the Registry as it's called here.
- A Deserter has a larger raised box surrounding the carburetor area for more
room and weather coverage.
- A Deserter had a solid fiberglass, tuck under fiberglass dash bonded to the hood
that provided a solid mount for a steering column and gauges.
- A Deserter also had a raised lip on the hood at the bottom of the windshield, this
raises the windshield an inch or two over other cars and provided more rigidity to
- A Deserter should have a round recess in the very front of the hood for the
Deserter emblem. It should be noted that this was often filled in during a
restoration if the emblem had been lost, so it's not the best indicator.
- And the 2nd most obvious clue, a Deserter will never have that fake spare tire
well behind the driver found in the Manx and clones. Instead all Deserters will
have two box shaped compartments, one for a battery and the other for storage.
This will most likely still be there, so this is by far the easiest visual way to tell if
you really have a Deserter.
Altogether, nothing radically different, but small changes and improvements over
the original design that might have kept the copyright police away at the time? And
satisfy the northeast motor vehicle laws.
Autodynamic's and Dearborn had good capacity, a good product and offered a very
complete line of accessories. Overall, a pretty nice package that differentiated
this all-weather buggy from those without complete coverage.
Production ran from 1967 to 1969 and this body was also used for the basis of the
new exciting mid-engined GS chassis kit from Autodynamic's. To date, while
plenty of rear engine Series 1 cars exist, only 5 mid-engined GS cars have been
located with the Series 1 body.
Total production of Autodynamic's Series 1 bodies has been estimated at 802*
pieces, the majority home built. I believe there are more S-1's to be identified
out there, but to many, it's just simply a dune buggy.
* Production numbers as quoted in "the dynamics of autodynamics" article by
David Kaplan in Dec72 SCCA Sports Car magazine.
The Deserter Owners Group
Deserter Series 1
(the Dune Buggy for the North East)