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Junkyard Preservation: Kellison Sandpiper

As a frequent visitor to junkyards, I’m no stranger to the sight of potentially salvageable classic vehicles parked on top of loading containers or buses. What is less typical is to actually see those vehicles removed from their perch and offered for sale, such as in the case of this Kellison Sandpiper dune buggy, offered here on craigslist. The seller mentions it comes with the rare hardtop, too, with an asking price of $1,300.

The world of VW-based dune buggies is a strange one, as there’s myriad versions of the same idea, and people who follow these kits know which ones maintain an edge over what otherwise looks like a twin. Jim Kellison was a former Air Force pilot who churned out some very pretty designs, including multiple Cobra replicas, but his Sandpiper kit was a different type of novelty complete with a miniature pickup bed out back.

Like so many VW-based kits, the engine is long gone. The old-school California blue plates tell you it’s been off the road for some time, and likely has been in California for much of its life (an assumption based upon the need for a favorable climate to justify owning one of these.) Based on photos in the listing, the pickup-type body is filled in, so either Kellison offered this variation or a previous owner decided the storage bed looked goofy.

Check out the old-school flames on the fenders – this was someone’s groovy machine back in the day. The interior will also need some work, as it looks like just the seat-back is included and the buckets or bench is missing. Carpets are gone, too, if it ever had any, along with the glass in the windscreen frame. While I think the price is a bit strong for somewhat of a novelty, this is still a cool find that hopefully won’t languish on top of a container any longer.


  1. Fred W

    I think it’s a Super T rather than Sandpiper. Looks like this restored.

    Like 15
  2. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    Gotta love those period plates, and those period wheels! I would check for stress cracks if this fiberglass bodied car was lifted onto the storage container for the photos. I think it is humorous that the dashboard is practically horizontal…what a wonderful design to trap rainwater and dirt on the faces of the gauges. I’m sure glare was a problem too if you wanted to read the speedo, comfortably.

    Like 3
    • c180bill

      Flat dash was only way a small person could get feet on the pedals. A large person had no chance.

      Like 0
  3. Maestro1

    I always thought Kellison was an interesting guy along with his creations, and this is not one of them.

    Like 3
  4. Ian C

    Worth the price of admission. I would love to have it!

    Like 2
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    There seems to be no end to these dune buggy creations. Have to admit the restored one is cute. It looks like you’d see Goofy of cartoon world driving this thing.
    God bless America

    Like 0

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