*This is a translation done by a machine.
Dune Buggy is a ”baggy car on a beach”. The prototype was a leisure vehicle manufactured in 1963 by Bruce Mayer, a customized tuner from California, USA, that combined a VW Beetle Type 1 chassis with a body made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. In other words, at the time, the Dune Buggy was not made with VW, and the name of the VW Buggy was a familiar name because it was based on the Beetle.
The VW Buggy launched in 1964 as "Mayers Manx" was cheap and easy to assemble, and its simple and light design became very popular mainly among surfers, resulting in an unprecedented baggy boom together with the Beetle-based Baja Bug that was born around the same time. The scene of running through a sandy beach, which was used in many magazines and movies ("The Thomas Crown Affair" starring Steve McQueen) at that time, became a dream of young people at that time. Afterparts manufacturer EMPI then sold "imp" with similar customizations, further invigorating the VW buggy market. After that, many manufacturers entered this genre and a variety of body kits were born, but it is said that the 2 most popular (= many existing models) are Mayers Manx and EMPI imp.
The difference between the two VW buggies is that the former is "number 5" with a flat front fender and is simple to shape, while the latter is "number 3" with a rounded front fender design that covers the tire wheels. By the way, basically the engine and suspension were the same as VW Beetle including the model. However, it is possible to use a wide variety of air-cooled components for word products, and the FRP body is easy to process, so it is unique enough that you might not find one in the market.
Not only the appearance but also the running performance such as the light weight and low center of gravity and good traction of RR (Rear engine & Rear drive) is perfect. The feeling of running with a relentless wind is like a go-cart.
By the way, Mayers Manx and EMPI imp stopped making VW baggy in 1971, but Mayers Manx reopened in 2000 and still sells kits for modifying VW baggy. In other words, if the frame is OK, the body can be restored to new at any time.
|Shinichi Yamazaki's Highlights!|
This car is customized to EMPI imp based on 1965 VW Beetle Type 1 body. The current owner improved the chassis and engine of the decaying class B (Class C?) and restored the FRP body. In the end, it became a good figure in California in the 1970s when VW buggy was still in use. The base color is lime green which is the corporate color of "Kawasaki", and it is a two-tone design combining ivory as an accent. The wheels are coordinated in the same color to further emphasize the lightness and playfulness of the VW buggy. The rear tail lamp was changed from a genuine VW Beetle to a square brake lamp and a back lamp, and the front seat was changed to a bucket seat which the current owner used for the first Toyota Celica, so the original appearance was not lost and the customization was added.
"What I had in mind when I saw Fujiko Mine sprint on a VW buggy at the ending of the TV series Lupin III. Of the many variations on the market, this car was close to the scene. Originally, it was like a kit car, so I thought that I could ride it longer if I made it to my liking rather than sticking to the original, so I made it so that I could make my ideal closer to reality. The body of Beetle is sturdy, the engine is durable, and it is simple so there are few places to break." says the current owner.
It is difficult to ride it on a daily basis, and I think only owners with a good environment can own it in Japan where it rains a lot. But the VW Buggy, which can make you smile even if you let it run a little bit, and have an extraordinary experience like that of a supercar, can enrich your mind just by keeping it nearby. There is no doubt that it is such a car.
It depends on your idea whether you want to use it as a resort experience on a standard beach or as a support car on a circuit.
Originally written by Shinichi Yamazaki
Photo by Rei Hashimoto
Published on October 2019
|Year of Purchase||1965|
|Color||Lime green × Ivory|