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Jim Chamberlain

Jim Chamberlain


Year Started: 1964

Jim Chamberlain built his first sand buggy in 1963. The next year he met Bruce Meyers and spent time with Bruce when he was designing and building Old Red, the very first fiberglass dune buggy. In 1966 he went to work for Bruce Meyers full time building Manx buggies and helping with the design of dune buggy and Meyers Manx parts. One such design was Jim and Bruce designed and built the very first Meyers Manx Sidewinder exhaust system.

Buggies Pismo

In 1966 Jim was one of six dune buggy owners along with Bruce Meyers to be invited to go on the world famous Rubicon Trail as part of the Jeepers Jamboree run.

In 1967 he left Bruce’s shop and started his OC Buggies dune buggy shop. That year he built the #10 Meyers Manx for Vic Wilson which won the 1967 NORRA Mexican 1000 off road race.

1968 was a busy year. Jim built fiat/VW fiberglass buggy and won 5 trophies at the first Bug-in. He also built four cars for the 1968 Mexican 1000. He then ran his (wife’s) stock 1965 VW bus in the Mexican 1000 as an entry and support for the other four cars following the race and providing support to the buggies he had built along with any other racers that needed help. He worked with Dick Dean building Shalako buggies and raced a Shalako buggy in the Stardust 711 at Las Vegas Raceway. Jim also helped build the Steve McQueen Corvair powered Meyers Manx for the Thomas Crown Affair movie.

In 1969 he worked with Jerry Eisert at Eisert Racing Enterprises where he built a VW convertible for actor Paul Newman, a 351 Ford Winsor mid-ship with Hewland tranny. They also built a Corvair powered Bugetta for Walt Trigstead for SCCA racing. Jim also built a VW powered Meyers Manx and started racing “Dune Buggies and Baja Bugs” at Ascot Park in Gardena with American Desert Racing Association (ADRA).

In 1970 he built a mid-engine buggy and a Funco for Ascot short course racing and also raced his Meyers Manx in the Mint 400 as well as Ascot and the Bug-in. The following year he built a Meyers Manx Tow’d and raced it in the Mint 400 as well as short course. 

In 1972 Jim founded Southern California Independent Drivers Association (SCIDA) which started short course racing at Corona Raceway. Later that year they took over the organization for Ascot Park race series.

In 1973 and 1974 raced his Manx in SCORE Riverside Grand Prix.

In 1977, 1978, 1979, 1991, 1993 he raced the Pikes Peak Hillclimb.

Between 1972 and 1980 he raced Ascot Park, Corona Raceway, Fremont Raceway, South Bay Speedway, San Jose Fairgrounds, Mesquite Raceway, and Saddleback Park.

Jim was on the Mickey Thompson Rough Driving Committee for the stadium series from 1985 to 1988.

Has served as chase crew for numerous Baja races (NORRA & SCORE). 

Jim has taken the late Bruce Meyers and film crews to several Baja race runs over the years to film footage for various off road racing documentaries. 

In 2022 Jim participated in the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally driving the #10 Replica Meyers Manx in the Safari class.

For the 2023 Mint 400 Jim brought the #10 Meyers Manx race buggy to display at the Off Road Motorsports Hall Of Fame display.

Jim has been a big supporter of ORHOF for many years. Bringing #10 Meyers Manx to display at various ORMHOF locations and also transporting that vehicle and others to various locations. 

At almost 80 years old and 60 plus years of participation, Jim still attends and participates in many NORRA race events, ORMHOF events and Meyers Manx Club events. He has been and continues to be an Ambassador for the Sport of Off Road!

Submitted by: Steve Heckert
Created: March 30, 2023