Which One? Two Dune Buggy Barn Finds

collage

On the left, we have a Berry Mini T, located in Hendersonville, North Carolina and up for sale here on craigslist for $5,500 or best offer. On the right, we have an Allison Daytona, located in York, Pennsylvania, which is also for sale on craigslist for $4,600 or best offer. Both are barn finds and in roughly comparable condition.

d5

I’m guessing this is the “T” in its previous barn location. While it looks pretty dirty, the seller tells us that it runs and drives “awesome” and was built with an almost 2000 cc engine that hasn’t even been broken in yet. I really wonder what would cause someone to build up a kit to this extent and then stick it in the barn?

d8

There’s a registry for Berry T’s here, although there aren’t many entries yet. The combination of stretched Model T looks and Volkswagen mechanical components is an unusual one for sure. But what if you have three friends that want to come along for the ride?

d4

Most buggies had provisions for two seats only, or at best minimal accommodations for four. This one not only has four real seats, the period paint (or gel coat) and wheels really look era-appropriate. The “roll bar” has got to go, though, as it’s almost guaranteed to knock the teeth out of any rear seat passengers in a sudden stop, and without any angular bracing isn’t going to do it’s job anyway. The Allison has a Facebook page and a registry, so you’ll be able to find fellow buggy enthusiasts.

d2

Yup, it needs a tail light, and there’s no telling what the wire is for. But I really like the cool badge on the rear, and considering it’s cheaper this Allison might appeal to some of you, especially with the period color scheme. Unfortunately, the fading of what I think is gel coat is very evident in this picture. Can gel coat be restored when it’s like this? There’s nothing in the ad that says this one runs, so I’d probably look at the T first. What about you?

 

 

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Never a big call for dune buggy’s in good ol’ Wisconsin. Not many dunes, but years ago, someone always knew someone that was making one. I’d go for the smaller one, and I’d PUT a roll bar on it, not take one off. These, if I remember, were very prone to flipping, and many people got hurt. The fad fizzled pretty quick ’round here, but I bet they would be a blast to play around with. Personally, I’d need more power.

  2. The Walrus

    Without being up close and personal with it… I’d say that the Allison was likely painted that way and not gel coat. If gel coat is done right, it is shot into the mold before the fiberglass is filled in behind it (as the surface against the mold is what will be seen when the mold is popped).

    Since it’s not like masking a car, it is difficult/impossible to get the level of detail I see on this in gelcoat. If you look at boats, where they are masters of gelcoat … even boats from the 80’s when they were more or less hand crafting them and not pushing them through quickly, you will see designs in gelcoat, but they are basic/layered stripes. Not thin interspersed colors. If fine striping is part of the design it would be applied to the surface after the mold was popped using plastic pinstriping or paint.

    Perhaps the blue was gelcoat at one time, but I would sooner guess that the grey color poking out below the blue is the gel coat. The whole thing was then painted blue, and then the white detail was painted on top of that.

  3. Fred

    Had one in the mid 70’s, Corvair powered on a VW pan. At that time in NW Florida no on cared if you played on the dunes, now they would probably put you under the jail . Charge: Environmental Terrorism

  4. JW454

    If I’m not mistaken, and I invite correction… the Allison sits on the stock floor pan. The very popular Meyers Manx sat on the shortened pan making the Allison easier to build. No cutting, no welding, just basic hand tools and you could convert a bug to a buggy.
    I may be wrong but my ole’ brain ain’t what it used to be.

  5. Rick

    The Allison is a longbody on a standard pan. Fairly desirable, especially for people with long legs. And… it’s factory paint on top of that faded gelcoat. Nice example and close to me.. too bad I have no use for it!

  6. MF

    JW454 is correct, I actually built a mini T back in the late 70’s and you needed to take 18″ out of the tube and pan and re-weld it back together. Not really the hard part, getting the shifting tube shortened and still get all 4 forward and a reverse gear took me what seemed like forever. it was a fun driver though and in Minnesota we took it out in the winter on the frozen lakes also….what a blast. Kids car, not really what I’m looking for now days.

  7. George

    IIRC the Berry Mini T is on a shortened pan. The bigger Mini T 4 was on a full size pan for all of the extra seating!

  8. Adam

    Update from a lurker.

    I now own the white Berry mini-T from the pictures and could not be happier.

  9. Rick

    I would like to find the mini T I built in Early 70’s. I sold it in springfield Mo. Green metal flake, chrome rods from headlight to top of windshield. Very nice build. Mustang lights on rear and bench seat from rambler convertible black

  10. doug gould

    Wanted to build a Mini T in the 70’s but never got it done. Any for sale today?

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