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Thread: Is This The Real Bug?

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia
    Ronald, I am a fan of both Matt's Recovery and Fab Rats videos.

    Anyone here seen the new full length VW television commercial that starts with video of a very old Beetle, probably a 1940's model split window?
    It's pretty interesting for anyone who is a VW fan.

    Another crazy VW Mod.

    Gene Simmons Beetle.jpg

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Upland CA
    Yup, Keith

    I had my first fiberglass buggy (Manx clone) with a 40 horse in 1968. A guy at work built it, and I bought it from him. Kept it about 8 years and used it as an almost daily driver. We have a little cabin in the rocky areas of the high (5000') desert and went out there a lot when the kids were little.

    Sold it because the three kids were getting bigger, and bought a brand new 1973 VW Thing. Put a complete roll cage on it, and kept it a couple years but it was almost useless compared to the buggy, so we sold it and bought a '71 International Scout II 4WD. It was almost useless, way too heavy and it got stuck in dry riverbed sand. One time we were trying to climb up a 34' berm out of the sand and it ran the fan into the radiator. Fixed it and got rid of it.

    That was briefly replaced by a Baja Bug (Bobbed and cut down bug) which was pretty useless off road too and we only kept it a week or so. Then, another guy I worked with sold me his home made buggy, which was a shortened platform, like the Manx type, with a superstructure of tubing with simple pop riveted aluminum panels. It was a four seater, dual port 1600 with a VW Bus transaxle. Super ugly, but it had 11" of ground clearance and the lower bus gearing worked out perfectly on the steep stuff. That would go almost anywhere climbing hills in second gear that the other ones couldn't make in first, and the ground clearance was perfect in the rocks. That buggy was fantastic.

    I would still have it, but it caught fire while I was towing it to the cabin. We loaded stuff into the buggy including food clothes and two fivers of gasoline. While towing it with our Buick station wagon our young son who always rode in the rear facing back/back seat yelled that the buggy was on fire. A good one too. The buggy had original front seats which had the original adjusters on them. I had never even noticed that, as they were always at the far back position. The two gas cans were on the back seat jammed in by sleeping bags, like we had done many times. Apparently, the jiggling cans somehow made the passenger seat slide forward, allowing the metal can to slip to the floor, which happened to be where the car battery was located. The metal can shorted across the terminals and welded a hole in the gas can, which started the fire.

    We were going 65 or so on the freeway and here I am with the whole family, including the dog, in the car towing a gasoline fire with a tow bar. I got it stopped on the side of the road, and I broke a record unhooking the buggy then getting back in and moving the car forward 20'. During all this, the second fiver of gas split a seam and lit off making quite a spectacle. No injuries except to my ego. I was a fireman for L. A. County at the time, and the Ontario FD which responded was my former employer, and there were a couple guys at the scene that I had worked with. I guess you could say I took a lot of 'heat' from them. It was total loss. I still miss it, because the only thing that could stop it was big rocks. It took us down (and UP) places like suicide hill in Anza Borrego, the slot, where it is so narrow your car is riding on the sidewalls of the tires, narrow riverbeds where the narrow walls are 30' high, to pictographs near our cabin, sand dunes in Oregon, etc., and I could still drive it to work 100 miles from the cabin while the family stayed a week at a time.

    A few years later my 15 year old son and I built our last buggy, another fiberglass Manx type, using one of the last bodies a local company made. It made a great father/son project, and we enjoyed it for several years. In later years we bought a 2006 Jeep Rubicon, to go along with the one the son had, and used it for 10 years before selling it to our daughter and her hubby. We used it heavily going to many places in SoCal, until my back could not handle the severe bumping on rocky trails.

    So, yes we have had some experience in the South West.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

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