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Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy ID Help needed - X-Files / My Fathers Dune Buggy - What is it? (22964 hits)
By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-18 18:44
My Father built this Dune Buggy when we lived in California back in 1970.  From what I understand, he told me that this bug along with one more were the only two that were alike.

At any rate, if anyone knows of any information on this style of bug, I would very much appreciate it.  I am in the process of building my own bug, and this is the design I want to use.

If you look closely behind the seats in the back of the bug, you'll notice the body has sort of a "bath tub" design (at least that's what my Father used to call it).  Also, on the front hood, there are two small chrome hinges where the hood lifts up about 1/2 of the way down from the windshield.

Any help you all can give me in identifying this thing would be much appreciated!


By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-19 02:21 Edited 2008-06-19 02:25
I dig the front motorcycle fenders that turn with the front wheels, man!

That's cool.


Interesting... I thought it might have been a Leap Frog, which is close to a Meyer's Towd. Your father's buggy has the towd/leap frog styling, but built on a pan obviously and also without the hood scoop.

If your father is right about there only being two of them Its obviously rare.
By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-19 02:31
I do know for a fact that the buggy was built on top of a pan, but that's really all I remember.  I was 5 years old when he put this thing together.

As I look over these pictures, I do remember now that the front dash/cowl was bolted on top of the body and you can see this pretty good in the first photo.

Thanks for looking, and if you have any more information or ideas on what this thing could be, I'd be interested in reading about it.


By Tom B 960 Date 2008-06-22 19:21
I dig it.
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-22 21:36
I was talking to Paul the other day. Somehow I navigated to a page that had a vintage photo of a buggy that looked like yours. It wouldn't help in IDing your buggy, but I wanted to go back and re-visit the page for comparison to see if it was just like your father's buggy or not.

Paul, do you remember the page you said you were working on when talking with Albert? The one with the Chopper gun picture, Bruce, and the guy releasing the pan from the mold? I closed the tabs on my browser, and tried the history, but was not successful in getting back there.

By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-22 22:33

This is awesome!  If you can relocate that link, I would really like to see and read about this model of buggy.  Any help any of you can give would be most appreciated.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-23 03:06
HA! found it.

Again, not that it will tell you anything. It's just an image, and its too late for me to look at and compare, but here is the page I was thinking about. Interesting that this is also on a pan. That makes two pictures of bodies like this on a pan within a month!

By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-23 17:35
Jay!  Thank you so much!  This looks exactly like my Fathers bug and the funny thing about it, is my Fathers friend who build the only other one (that we know of) was red as well.  I wonder if this is his? 

Now if I can only get it "named" and see about getting figuring out who can manufacture this body.

Thanks again Jay, I really appreciate your efforts in helping me in my quest.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-23 20:38 Edited 2008-06-23 20:43
Bob, not a problem. That's what were here for! :-) I like the challenge of trying to ID a buggy... my only issue is I can remember an image in my head, but many times I can't remember how to get back to it, so later on the image will surface again, and I'll eventually put 2 & 2 together.

That page: "Ode to Bruce" has images that were uploaded to the site. I'm not sure if Bart was the one who uploaded the image or not. I suspect he may have been the one to upload it, so he may well have more information on it. Bart was around long before I stepped on the scene here at the DBA, and he's quite knowledgeable.

I'll send Paul an email and see if the site logs the IP address for uploads. It would be interesting to see who uploaded the image and if that person has any more info on the thing.

I know one thing... If there was truly only two made, it's a little more than ironic that a "match" was found!

I'll keep digging to see if we can get further.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-23 21:09
Bob, why don't you give us a little better history of your father's buggy if you can. You said his friend made your father's buggy. Was his friend in business (business name) What town in what state did your father buy this buggy?  Any information would be greatly appreciated. Even if this body was only a run of 2, it would still be great to provide some history and catalog this thing.

It sounds as though the buggy left the family. Does your father remember who he sold it to? (Likely not.. I can't remember who I sold many of my past autos to). Sometimes, people remember strange things though. Would be cool to hear that your father remembers selling it to a guy from Arizona around the Phoenix area or something like that. Maybe further down the road this information will be the missing link of someone else's buggy history.... you never know. Maybe the red one in the photo is yellow gel under red paint. :-)

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-23 23:00
OK, little update for you. I emailed Paul. He thought it was John Shephard who uploaded the pics. I emailed John. Here is his reply (minus non-relevant portions):

I'll be danged. That is too cool.
Jay you are the man. I would say that is a match. The yellow one seems to have the hood hinged on that is missing from the pink one. A lot like a Vaquero with the gas tank built in but, another new unknown model.

The pink photo was one I had in a {misc} buggy pics folder.
It was in a California auto trader ad years ago. I tried to get more pics from the guy but he never replied.


Looks like this may be where the trail ends on this one...

By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-24 02:05 Edited 2008-06-24 02:44

Yes, the buggy left the family back in the early 80's.  My father sold it to a young kid (mid 20's) in Weiser (Weezer), Idaho back then.  Unfortunatly, Dad died in 1992.

I did however find out more information by calling one of Dad's old friends in San Jose, CA and wouldn't you know it, it was the individual WHO built these bug's.  His name is Dave McClien.  He said he build the following buggies that were identical:

1.  Dad's yellow bug 15" shorter pan than stock.
2.  Red bug just like Dad's only had a longer hood.
3.  Gold bug same as #2 which he used for desert racing in California.
4.  Another bug (he couldn't remember the color) for another friend.

Dave worked for Ford Motor Co in San Jose, CA, so building buggies was a hobby of his.  He never had any sort of "business" to speak of on the side.

Dave also mentioned that he sold his red bug to the owner of (a friend of his) Klauers Pick & Pull Wreckers in San Jose, CA years ago and that he didn't think it would be around any longer.  I'll be calling Klauers tomorrow as the son who owns the business is a long time family friend of my Fathers.

Additionally, Dave said he also made the molds for these bugs and there were ONLY four produced.  I asked him to see if he might have some photo's available of his builds, and he said he'd look and see.

I appreciate all your help in this Jay.  You don't know how exciting it is to me to figure stuff like this out!  If you come across anymore information I'd sure like to know.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-24 03:01
Bob this rocks! Hard to believe with so few of this body, that more than one image even surfaced.

Be sure and email or post pictures if Dave is able to dig any up. Also, I notice you keep calling them "Bug" which is a pretty generic name. I wonder if Dave ever gave this body style an actual name. Would be great to find out if he did. Sounds like the #2 red body might just be the "pink" one John posted a picture of.

Looks like they were the same body but built for full size and shortened pan, the difference being made up in the length of the hood alone.
#1 yellow = shortened pan
#2 red = full size pan
#3 gold = full size pan
#4 unknown color = unknown length

This thread has certainly gotten interesting. Keep up the great research! :-)

By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-24 03:25
This is totally awesome to me!

I'll give Dave another call tomorrow after work to see if he gave his projects names.  It will be interesting to see if he did.

I call them "Bug's" for no particular reason other than they are built from "beetles" or "bugs."  Ha ha.

By Bob Johns Date 2008-06-26 00:39

Some more information regarding this style of bug.

I called and talked with Dave again this evening, and he said that he thought the color of the 4th bug was also red, but wasn't for sure (old age I guess).  However, he did find pictures of his personal red bug and will be sending me copies of it to post here.

I also asked him if he had some sort of name for this style of Dune Buggy and he said "no, I never gave them any model name but our COMPANY (yes, there was a side business after all) was called Western Mountaineering out of Campbell, CA." 

He also said that the bugs weren't the only product they produced.  They also made custom choppers.

When I get these new photo's, I'll post them online ASAP!

Thanks again for the help Jay!

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-06-26 03:05
SWEET! I love the fact that these things have no name. Not sure how that's going to play out in listing it in the ID, but who cares! That just adds to the character of the thing. :-)

I can't wait to get the pictures and get them posted... give the Western Mountaineering buggy a proper listing in our ID system, with a little write up on the man who made them, company name etc.

Bob, if you are able to get any more info on the history of Western Mountaineering that would be great to put into the description of this buggy. We try to fill in as much info about the companies that manufactured the buggy bodies as possible.

When we get this all together and posted, you can send him an email with a link to the finished listing here for him to have a look at.

Well done. This wouldn't have come together without your leg work! You've been instrumental in getting this body on the map!

By Bob Johns Date 2008-07-07 17:55 Edited 2008-07-08 03:31

I received the photos' from Ray the other day and they are posted below.

Bug4 and Bug5 are what appears as his personal Dune Buggy although, I don't think it was street legal.  I know they did a lot of camping in the 70's so he may have just used this off road only.

Bug6 and Bug7 are his racing Dune Buggy.

If you look closely to the hoods in pictures 4, 5, 6 and 7, you'll notice that there is NO hinge where the hood lifts up.  It appears that the top portion of the body is solid from the top of the dash to the front bumper.  So, that makes me wonder if the picture (link) of the pink (red) buggy you posted is the other buggy that he made for another friend of his that he couldn't remember.  Who knows.  Bottom line, I think were done with this unless someone has more information.

Side Note - Picture 5 has the same wheels and tires as my Dad's buggy has.

I unfortunately do not have any further information myself to give you regarding this model of Dune Buggy, but I'd sure love to hear from someone willing to re-manufacture the body!


By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-07-08 03:31
I've been watching this thread let me tell you! Those are awesome vintage photos. The best part is, I know I can get enough trait photos for us to list this buggy in the ID section.

I would say this is certainly a happy ending to an "unknown" buggy less than a month ago. Thanks again for your hard work in putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Without you digging, I'm sure this would have been another unknown for years to come if not forever.

I'll try to get the buggy added soon so you can send Dave a link.

By Bob Johns Date 2008-07-08 13:16

Thanks for all your help with this particular subject, it was fun researching and getting what little info I could to provide to the DBA.

If there's anything else I can do (or try to do), just let me know!

Thanks again.

By John S 2 Date 2008-07-08 18:19
The amazing thing to me here is, I never even considered this to be a buggy kit.
From the one picture I had originally I thought it was something someone cut the fenders, hood, and tail off of.
I thought it was a mangled up mess.

It was just a minimalistic design. I love it!

I had a Vaquero that was so simple it was awesome.
I really wanted to build it but had to make room in the garage.
John Shepard the DBA
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-07-08 20:10
LOL, John... something just clicked when I saw the yellow one. I KNEW I had seen body before. I also had seen it again just a few days before this post surfaced which made locating it that much easier. :-) Sometimes you just get lucky. If only IDing my own were this easy! :-)

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2008-07-14 19:09
Hey Bob. Paul and myself got your father's buggy added to the ID here:

By Bob Johns Date 2008-07-14 21:29

That's awesome!  I appreciate the recognition and the posting of this buggy.

Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy ID Help needed - X-Files / My Fathers Dune Buggy - What is it? (22964 hits)

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