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Stored for 50 Years: 1957 Dune Buggy

I’m willing to admit it: I’m a big kid. When I first saw this Buggy I knew that I wanted to write about it, but not half as much as I wanted to drive it. I’m not sure about the relevance of the clown in this vehicle’s history, but it certainly grabs your attention in a creepy sort of way. You will find this Buggy listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Yucaipa, California, and is being offered for sale with a clear title. The owner has set a BIN price of $4,500, but the option is there to make an offer.

This Buggy has been described as being similar to the Meyers Manx Buggy, but there is no indication of the actual heritage of the vehicle. We do know that the chassis dates back to 1957 and that the vehicle has apparently been in storage for around 50 years. There are a few marks in the paintwork, but overall, the vehicle doesn’t look too bad. The other thing that the vehicle will need is windshield wipers. It looks like there are some fitted to the vehicle, but they obviously don’t work. Given the lineage of this vehicle, it would be a safe bet that a Volkswagen system would fit the purpose.

The seller provides this shot of the underside of the vehicle, and it looks like a bit of work has gone into tidying things up down there. It also looks solid under there, and there are no real signs of rust in the floors, which is a bonus.

This is as close as we get to a shot of the interior, and it’s as basic as you would expect from a vehicle like this. The interior is designed to withstand sand and salt spray, so plush cloth trim is never going to be the order of the day. It is essentially hard-wearing and waterproof. I have no doubt that it would be possible today to make the interior slightly more luxurious without compromising its designed purpose. Only thing is, I’m not sure that I’d really want to, as I think that the way that it is now is probably period correct. One thing that I would do is ditch the chauffeur.

The Buggy is powered by a 1600cc Volkswagen engine, which would be hooked to a VW manual transmission. The seller states that the car runs well, and I suspect that it probably sounds pretty reasonable thanks to that impressive looking exhaust. If I were to buy this, I would probably change the exhaust. It does sit close to the body in one spot, and that would cause a potential fire hazard. Also, it does obscure that view of the license plate, and there are places where that is illegal. The other issue that will need to be addressed is the brakes. They don’t work. Still, it’s all Volkswagen, so that should be pretty easy to fix. One thing that is worth noting is that these Buggy bodies are significantly lighter than the steel that they replace. As a result, they usually provide better acceleration and performance than was possible from the donor vehicle.

This Dune Buggy is a bit of fun. The mechanical components and chassis are pure Volkswagen, which means that sourcing spare parts is pretty easy, and performing any maintenance is also pretty straightforward. It wouldn’t take much work to get this Buggy back on the road, and it would be a fun little car that would raise a smile wherever it went. When life gets too serious, maybe we all need a smile every now and then.


  1. Dick Johnson

    Well said. It’s really fun to see the buggies travelling enmasse around here, along with the Jeepster crowd as well.

    Motorcycles have been getting a flip on the fun•cost ratios. Spyder riders and the Shot drivers might claim fun bias per dollar, but the shop dollar per riding dollar is taking a real beating to the owners. That’s IF you can get your toy back before the riding season ends.

    Trying to find a buggy around for sale is pretty rare. Most buggy owners only have to go as far as to look into the mirror to find a qualified mechanic. Same day service.

    Like 2
  2. Fred W

    Had a nearly identical (but metalflake green) buggy in the mid 70’s. It had a Corvair six and wide, slick rear tires that got me into trouble more than once. After hydroplaning and doing a 360 in the median of a four lane highway, I gave up dune buggies.

    Like 3
  3. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I think the clown is to illustrate what you’d look like while driving this thing.

    Like 12
    • Chinga-Trailer

      The writer suggests ditching the clown, no,just send him to Congress!

      Is there a glut of these on the market now that Texas is revoking titles on dune buggies??

      Like 3
  4. Jimmy

    Around the area I grew up in Northern Illinois we didn’t see these things only the VW Baja Bugs which being a avid off road guy I wanted one but never got one. If this was closer I would be having a quick PI.

    Like 3
  5. John Member

    This is the fun kind of collectable I love seeing in our hobby. Affordable to buy and maintain. Wonderful grin factor. Sometimes I think people focus too much on return on investment or potential for return. I’d like to see more people enjoying these toys rather than checking auction results. Just saying. By the way I’m not mad at investors. Nothing wrong with money but fun and making memories is priceless.

    Like 11
    • Dick Johnson


      Like 3
  6. Will Fox

    The VW underpinnings might date back to `57, but the fiberglas body screams 1968. Nice buggy; someone will want it.

    Like 3
  7. Tom Justice

    If you are in Texas, don’t even think about it as the state will not register it.

    Like 0
    • Eddie Nash

      WHat’s the story with Texas on this point please?

      Like 0
      • ron

        There are several states that will not register “kit cars” or self built cars.

        Like 0
      • Dick Johnson

        But…. all states allow homebuilt aircraft. Of course, if the states owned the airspace overlying it’s geographical territory…

        Soooooo, the answer is to have the FAA approve your self-built car. Or let’s just have the “gummint” issue a “roadworthiness” certificate for kit cars. Sure are a lot of Cobra replicas on the road in Texas. Of course, if Texas banned Shelby named cars, it just wouldn’t be ” ‘Murrican’.”

        Like 0
      • Dave Wright

        The States have no regulation of home built aircraft……or any aircraft for that matter, all Federally controlled. These cars are not difficult to register……/it is simply a modified VW. You have to be smarter than the state DMV (not that tough) it brings to mind my buddy that worked in GSA sales. He was involved with the govt trading a large number of HUMMVE’s for new Bailey bridges for the Army. They were supposed to be sold to a Central American country to fund the deal. The intended country reneged on the purchase……..the bridge builder sent them through the Mannheim auction without titles. Most were titled by buyers using Chev Pickup paperwork and manufactured Vin plates. This was before the DOT certified the military versions for civilian street use.

        Like 0
  8. RegularGuy55

    The clown is there to protect you from Zombies. Zombies will not eat clowns – because they taste ‘funny.’

    Like 1
  9. Comet

    Wow, it appears to look like a clone of those .049 Cox dune buggies we used to chase after (a long time ago) when we were kids. I can still smell the fuel. I love it.

    Like 3

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