1972 Rupp Ruppster Baja 230 Mini-DuneBuggy

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“Fun Machines For Fun People” was one of Rupp’s mottos in the early-1970s and they sure made a wide variety of fun machines. I’m partial to two-wheelers and their mini-bikes were and still are great, but something like this 1972 Rupp Ruppster Baja 230 Mini-DuneBuggy (a long name, no?) would be fun to own. It’s posted here on eBay in Jacksonville, Oregon, the seller has an opening bid price set at $2,500, and there are no takers yet.

Micky Rupp started Rupp Manufacturing from his basement in 1959, putting together go-karts. By 1971, the name was Rupp Industries and they had 40 employees making a wide variety of recreational vehicles, from the legendary Rupp snowmobiles to their line of mini-bikes that are still sought after today, along with three-wheelers and at least two four-wheeled vehicles. That’s how period brochures spelled this model, both with Baja 230 and Mini-DuneBuggy with DuneBuggy spelled that way. That’s unusual for sure, but this machine is unusual. This model came out in 1971 and was around $1,000 ($7,600 today).

We saw one of their very unusual four-wheel vehicles a few years ago, a 1973 Rupp Go-Joe seen here on Barn Finds, and two or three fiberglass-vehicle-body go-karts (two Vegas and a Gremlin), but none of these models that I could find. The seller thinks this one may be original, or mostly original, but clearly the engine either isn’t original, or it’s been modified. They wouldn’t have had the top of the fiberglass (literature says ABS) cover cut out for an air cleaner like that. That’s super unfortunate as original is king with vintage vehicles like this.

There are a couple of tears on the sides of the seat, but that original Rupp logo embossed on the back of the seat is pretty valuable by itself. Whether this is a $2,500+ machine is unknown, I think that’s stretching it a bit since it isn’t running and it needs a lot of work, mainly due to the modified engine cover. They say that some of the fiberglass/ABS needs work, the steering column looks a little crooked, and overall it needs some work. Half the fun of these little machines is fixing them up, and the seller has added two new tires and repainted the wheels to get things started. They have $3,000 into it, according to the description.

The 230 part of the long name stands for what would have been a 230-cc JLO two-stroke single, reportedly with 12 horsepower. I’d sure like to know what’s going on under that air cleaner. A lot of these have replacement engines, maybe that’s the case here, but we don’t know any details. This one runs and drives but the brakes need to be adjusted. Have any of you seen a Ruppster Mini-DuneBuggy?

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  1. Howie

    12 HP sounds like a lot for this, i will guess the tires are the only suspension.

    Like 4
    • Herbert

      2 cycle? Smelly noisey things. By 1973 you could just as easily get a nice 16 HP 4 cycle Briggs or Tec. Why not use something like that?

      Like 2
      • Rw

        Because there cool

        Like 12
      • Terrry

        a much bigger and heavier Briggs 16 hp motor you mean.

        Like 0
    • Jerry Barkley

      Yes, you would be correct.

      Like 0
  2. HoA HoAMember

    You know( oh, here it comes) one of the downsides of being my age, is it’s entirely possible for someone today, they never heard of probably one of the most influential people that made fun things for us to hurt ourselves on. Rupp was one of those. Mickey Rupp, who just died recently, was to many, a hero. His list of fun vehicles tops them all. I don’t think he was related to Maynard Rupp, the drag racer, but at 87, he proved you can have fun off road, and not get killed. Changes in society pretty much put the kabosh on his creations, and now are considered annoying, but back then, noise was a good thing. It’s when things got quiet, was cause for alarm. Today, kids have to be “bubble wrapped” so as not to get hurt, and something like this would be the harbinger of lawsuits,,,crybabies. Cool find, if you dare, that is.

    Like 30
    • Herbert

      A lot of truth there.

      Like 6
    • Timothy Vose

      Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to fit!

      Like 2
    • Smokey Wentz

      You’re completely right there. I was around when you could have cool “noisy” &”dangerous” things
      To play with. I was religious with COX models, smelly noisy extremely fun toys that are considered dangerous by today’s coddling protecting poor excuses for parents. We loved those nitro powered toys, and never mind if you got chopped by an occasional propeller, or God forbid got slightly burned from the hot REAL motors you could operate. Those powered models were the BEST!! I still have some of them in operational condition, and when my grandkids come over, it’s instantly “can we fly the cox helicopters grandpa??” PLEASE?!?! And when I get one of those wonderful old cars, or airplanes or helicopters out, EVERY kid within blocks come running to enjoy this rare “noisy, smelly” treat they would ALL be buying them if they could today, but the crybabies and pampering parents afraid of ANY chance of their pampered privileged darlings getting hurt. That kind of whimpering parent put COX right out of business, long gone today inthis sterile, safe boring world these kind of parents have created. GOD I’m so glad to have grown up then, and had parents that thrilled at seeing their kids learn to run and maintain these old exciting “noisy smelly” toys. I live for the smell of 2 cycle smoke, thank God I had some around growing up with dirt bikes, snowmobiles ( omg! dangerous!!!) Go carts etc. I’d be bored beyond words if I was a kid nowadays, I tell ya!!! Keep your pathetic video game world ! You can have it!!

      Like 0
  3. Anthony H. Tellier

    Run it up I-17 to Sunset Point ….

    Like 1
  4. Christopher Thomas

    I love it. But go ahead and buy the wheelchair before you use it.

    Like 0
  5. leadslinger

    Well said HoA !

    Like 0
  6. jim

    Get it put a 4 stroke engine on and have some fun again

    Like 1
  7. Ron

    My Brothers and I had a Ruppster dune buggy growing up.. I can’t remember where our Father purchased it from, but I do know we had a lot of fun with it in the early 70’s..

    Like 0
  8. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Auction update: this one ended with no bids.

    Like 1
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Auction update II: this Rupp was relisted with a $2,500 price and it’s now no longer available, did one of you make the seller an offer?

      Like 0
  9. Terrry

    Rupp was so close to starting the mini quad revolution, but that honor went to Honda first, with their 3-wheel ATV then the quads.

    Like 0

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