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Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy Model disscussions / Glitterbug (16677 hits)
By dustymojave Date 2012-09-27 04:57 Edited 2014-04-29 20:01
I'd like to add some info on these buggies to the ID page.

Dune Buggy Model:   GlitterBug
Manufacturer:   San Fernando Auto Body/ aka San Fernando Buggy Center
City and State:   San Fernando, CA
Hood Description: Manx Clone - no badge boss - center ridge
Dash Description: Molded to hood 
Rear Seat Area:  
Fender Description: Manx Clone 
Tail Description: Manx Clone 

Fiberglass roof was optional.


Dune Buggy Model: GlitterBug Sportsman
Manufacturer:   San Fernando Auto Body/ aka San Fernando Buggy Center
City and State:   San Fernando, CA
Hood Description: Manx Clone - no badge boss - center ridge 
Dash Description: Molded to hood 
Rear Seat Area:   Recess for back seat with lip for plywood back seat base and seat back - Access opening in pickup bed for engine service. No battery well.
Fender Description: Manx - like, but much larger and longer 
Tail Description: Pickup style with fiberglass tailgate with embossed "GlitterBug lettering. Steep flat area on each side of tailgate for taillights. Stock 61-67 Bug lights without metal housing are a perfect fit.

Note: A flat fan engine such as a T3 is needed to fit under flat engine cover in pickup bed.  An engine cover with a hump to clear a Type 1 shroud was also available.

My GlitterBug Sportsman

Fiberglass roof specific to this model was optional.
By dustymojave Date 2012-09-27 04:58
And I note the Photobucket link for Glitterbug is currently not working.
By michael c 3832 Date 2013-11-22 11:36
Glitterbug manufactured at Old Shell road in Mobile Alabama.
Fiberglass formed wire harness tubing on each side of buggy.
Triangle Glitterbug tags on both sides of hood with Alabama address.
Anyone ever seen an Alabama glitterbug???
All the ones I have seen have the Truman Road tag on the hood.
By glassbuggy Date 2013-12-01 15:16
I recently got a few pics of one (possibly yours ) This Glitterbug is veeeery interesting to me because it could clear up a very common x file body that we have been seeing for years but could not identify. I have been hoping to see a few more than the one I am about to share pics of. If this is not your buggy, please drop some photos here for us.     The Alabama Glitterbug seems to be unique from all the other Glitterbugs in the nose and dash[img][img

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By michael c 3832 Date 2014-03-20 19:30 Edited 2014-03-20 20:26
Here's my Alabama glitterbug.  Not the same as the yellow one.  Mine has the typical glitterbug single hood ridge and that's it on the hood.  My dash is different too.  Like the west coast ones.  Looks like the fenders on mine kick up sharper where the fender tag is, or the sides are lower for ease of entry. Like a dune-runner.  also, that yellow one has tiny rear fenders?  Glitterbugs sales pitch was wide rear fenders... Also, mine has rather large harness tubes glassed in each side.  It was ,however, cut... er butchered for a stinger exhaust.  Also, the battery box slopes, not vertical like this yellow thing.   I'd be willing to guess its not a glitterbug, but simply another x file buggy that has had a glitterbug tag fastened to it.  Battery box and spare tire well.   Nice thick glass in  most places. ( not the hood).  Hopefully another with tags will surface...

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By glassbuggy Date 2014-03-29 17:06
Michael, Dude that is fantastic, You have a documented example of another Alabama Glitterbug and it shows they made a different version. Shoot me a good dash shot and a good tail view. I have many photos of the body style with the odd design on its nose, most of these had no Glitterbug tag, took me a long time to id this body and yours proves Alabama pumped out some bodies.
By michael c 3832 Date 2014-03-30 14:28
Dash and tail pics.

By glassbuggy Date 2014-03-30 15:17
That is very interesting. So here we have a standard Glitterbug body produced by Alabama Glitterbug. One note I can add is this: One time years ago I had the fortune of interviewing Bill Harkey. Bill was the Owner of Glitterbug. He told me that the dash was molded in body colors during the early production. Later on it was easier to just make casts of the dash (in black) to be added to the bodies as they were being produced. So as Alabama would have been a franchise (dealer/producer) This would be a body of the later methods.
By dustymojave Date 2014-04-29 18:00
Glassbuggy...Did you speak to Bill Harkey Sr.? Or to Bill Harkey Jr.?

Sr. Owned San Fernando Auto Body, on Truman St. in San Fernando, CA. That was the base business. My neighbor across the street did auto body repair there. Bill Sr. got the buggy business going in the early 60s with manufacturing pan-based buggies with steel tube upper structure and roll bar with aluminum body panels.
Here is a pic of one of those:
Note that this buggy has had its original pan replaced with a stock length pan and is powered by VW. The original configuration for this car was shortened VW pan and early Corvair Power and trans.
Then Bill Sr. started making the Glitterbug bodies. This was one of the 1st imitation Manx bodies. He soon added the Sportsman, which was a diversion from the mainstream of Manx copies with its "pickup bed" design.

In the late 60s, Sr. started building and selling Ascot tube frame race and play buggies. As the buggy business picked up and ran away from the auto body repair business, Bill moved the buggy business across Truman and past a vacant used car lot, across San Fernando Rd into a vacant new car dealer facility. The 2 buildings were visible from one another and maybe 100 yards apart. He hired my brother's Father-In-Law and old family friend, Ernie (aka Elmer) Waring to be the General Manager of San Fernando Buggy. Ernie had been working with Tiny Thompson and Les Choate to build Burro Buggies for several years and was the Chief of Tech for NORRA and the Mexican 1000 races. I just a couple days ago ran across a video on youtube of the 1st Mexican 1000 in 1967 and there are several views of Ernie in it.

After a while, Bill closed up the auto body repair business and moved the buggy business out of the leased dealership facility and back into the body shop building Bill owned. In the early 70s, Glitterbug production ceased. Several years later after Ernie had retired, Bill Sr. did also. Bill Varnes was hired to run San Fernando Buggy about 1980 and for a few years. Varnes introduced some new frame designs, including the Sand Sprite play buggy and the Ascot 3 and RS3 race cars and new fiberglass body panel designs for the tube frame buggies. Then Bill Varnes and Bill Harkey Sr. had a disagreement about the business and Varnes split off to start Mirage, which is still in business. Mirage has always been heavily oriented into desert and short course offroad racing.

Bill Jr. then came in to manage San Fernando Buggy and did so up to the mid 1990s, when he also retired. Bill Sr. had passed away by this time and Jr. sold the rights to the Sand Sprite buggies and much of the inventory to Prowlers in Santa Clarita, CA.
By glassbuggy Date 2014-05-07 22:02
I would imagine it was senior, There was no mention of a father. It was around the time  we began the archives mmm, around '96 -7 ish perhaps
By dustymojave Date 2015-04-21 23:15
As you can see, it's been a while since I re-visited this thread.

If you talked to a Bill Harkey in about 96-97, it almost certainly would have been Bill Jr. Pretty sure Sr. had passed away by then. Jr was medium height and build, graying brown hair, laid back personality. Bill Sr. was tall and lean, curly white hair as far back as I can remember him (early 60s). Driven, achiever sort of a man. He seemed almost like an old Texas cattle baron sort of guy.
By john f 4983 Date 2017-04-16 13:02
don't know if any of you are still active but I have what I think is a sportsman glitter bug.[img][img][/img][/img]
would love to here more about it.

Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy Model disscussions / Glitterbug (16677 hits)

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