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Kit Car Pickup: 1971 Kellison Sandpiper

In the 1970s, there was a flurry of activity in the kit car business, many of which were intended to be VW-based dune buggies. Along with Bruce Meyers, Jim Kellison was one of the more prolific of the players, with the Sandpiper being one of the most unusual. It was styled as a mini-pickup and estimates are that between 1,000 and 3,000 kits were made, depending on the source you check. This one from 1971 (or 1972) has been freshly restored and looks to need nothing with just 100 miles since the rework. Located in Steubenville, Ohio, this cool oddity is available here on craigslist for $18,000 OBO. Thanks for turning us on to this beauty, Tony Primo.

Jim Kellison, a retired Air Force pilot, started Kellison Engineering in 1958 and developed/built a wide variety of kit cars, which included the Sandpiper. But not before he sold his company in 1970 to turn to other endeavors, such as retail book sales. But he didn’t stay away from the industry for very long and made a comeback before retiring altogether in 1980. The Sandpiper, available as a roadster and a pickup, was launched on the heels of the Meyers Manx, which brought some legal proceedings that worked out in Jim’s favor. Like other kits, the Sandpiper fits on a VW chassis, shortened or full-size.

There is disagreement as to whether this Sandpiper is titled as a 1971 or 1972, but it’s still a VW underneath. This thing looks to have been completely rebuilt and done so quite recently, starting with the engine. The seller doesn’t indicate its displacement, but 1,600-cc seems likely. The transmission, wiring, and paint were all on the checklist for the redo. And it looks as though everything was done well.

If you like orange, you should love this dune buggy. It’s the one with a removable hardtop which the seller says made up about a third of all the kits. While this is the pickup model, you’re not going to carry a lot as the bed doesn’t look to be more than a few inches deep. So, bring your bungee cords to tie down the loose stuff!

Comments

  1. HoA Howard A Member

    Pretty cool, and just about every old timer knew right where they were when dune buggies, and the cheaper “Baja Bug” hit the scene. For a short time, dune buggies and Baja bugs were a hit, mainly because we had all these old VWs laying around, and everybody knew someone making one. These made VWs fun again. All dune buggies then, like Jello or Kleenex, were called “Manx” dune buggies, but there were actually many that got in on the act, even Sears. I read, a stripped(?) Meyers Manx kit was $495 in 1970. Since most got the VW for free, it seemed like a great idea, and it was. The “Baja” bug I speak of, cost even less to make. While we didn’t actually have unlimited dunes on dis here side of da lake,( Michigan) and people found out they were pretty useless as any kind of viable transportation in our crappy weather, and they fell out of favor, as fast as they came. I think people found out, not much goes well in sand and not too safe on the road. Still, a great reminder of when fun cost a couple hundred bucks, not $18 grand,,,

    Like 0
    • Rw

      Never called a none Manx a Manx,are you saying Vee Dubs don’t go in mud and snow?!

      Like 0
  2. Marshall Belcher

    Cool vw very cute. But the price is outrageous..but there is always someone out there desperate..good luck..

    Like 4
  3. Malcolm Boyes

    Is it titled as a VW..and what year? Critical for Ca where I’d like this..

    Like 0
  4. TheOldRanger

    I always thought this vehicle was ugly.

    Like 4
  5. LCL

    Mustang taillights?

    Like 1
    • Emmet

      Mustang taillights were the bomb on dune buggies. Lots of them have it.

      Like 1
  6. FOG

    Definitely going to be a hard sell, but some cared enough to maintain it.

    Like 0

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