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Previous Next Up Topic Public / Introduce Yourself and Your Buggy / Dusty O'l Offroader (5279 hits)
By dustymojave Date 2012-09-23 04:28 Edited 2012-09-23 04:47
Thought I'd done this years ago, but it's not in the files. So...
Dad was an old hotrodder including track roadsters, midgets, street racing hot rods, motorcycles and dry lakes racing. Then in the early 50s he got into road racing sports cars. In 1952, he was working for Johnny Von Neuman, an Austrian ex patriot who was one of the original primary importers of VWs and Porsches. Dad's daily driver was a 52 Bug with an Okrasa engine. Then he sold that and got an English sports car called a Singer. Then my parents met at a car race. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. My 1st ride in a buggy was in 1966 in a buggy which belonged to a man who worked Tech Inspection at road races with my family. That was a tube frame, aluminum skin Burro. He was part of the group that manufactured them. Elmer/Ernie (he used both names) Waring later became the Chief of Tech Inspection for NORRA and the Mexican 1000 races as well as for the SCIDA buggy races at Ascot. I lived right up the street from and walked past on my way to Jr Hi, San Fernando Auto Body, which produced a similar tube frame, aluminum skin buggy on a modified VW pan. A year after the ride in the Burro, I got another ride in a new San Fernando Glitterbug Fiberglass buggy. My neighbor's uncle owned it and had a summer camp above Malibu in Topanga Canyon. We rode around there with him. In 69-70, San Fernando Auto Body opened a dedicated buggy shop across the way from the body shop and named it San Fernando Buggy. Elmer was the Manager. My 1st car to drive was the family 58 Bug. In 72 dad's old hotrod buddy Mickey Thompson came around asking dad to help write the rules for his new SCORE organization. When I was 18, I bought my own 65 Bug and built it into a Baja and switched from working road race Tech to offroad race Tech. In the late 70s I built my own Hi Jumper Ascot race buggy from San Fernando Buggy. I later won a racing championship and very nearly repeated the next year. Then my brother married Elmer's step daughter. In the mid 80s I left the plastics industry and started fabricating race cars, mostly offroaders.  I still do a lot of that and work Tech at offroad races. Now my 18 year old son is fabricating offroad race cars at Crumco and is a co-driver in a 5-16 Baja Bug and leading points to their 3rd championship in a row with 1 race left in the season. I still have my Hi Jumper and have a Glitterbug Sportsman project. I also am in possession of a pan for an original San Fernando metal buggy. I stretched the upper structure and put it on a stock length pan for a friend a few years ago. Guess I'm trying to collect the whole set... Oh...And I still have that 58 Bug I started with. It's been a Baja for 36 years and 435,000 miles.

1st pic below is a Burro. This was owned by Les Choate, who Elmer/Ernie worked with along with inventor Tiny Thompson to build Burros. I got my 1st pair of wide rear wheels from Les - VW centers welded into 7" Corvette rims. Ernie's Burro was bright orange.
2nd pic is a San Fernando Buggy. The person offering this car for sale on the Samba thinks it's an EMPI Sportster, but there are many details which ID it as an SF Buggy.
3rd pic is my 58 Baja 30-some years ago with a much younger me at the wheel.
4th pic is my Glitterbug Sportsman.

By Manx102 M 2478 Date 2012-09-24 05:11
A great bit of personal buggy history. Thanks for sharing.
By Nelson S 5903 Date 2021-04-13 05:21
Dustymojave, sorry to post on such an old thread but wanted to ask you about the buggy in the second picture which you said looks like a San Fernando Buggy. To me it looks exactly like one of Scott McKenzies "Chimps" which he first made in 1959. In the Summer 96 Sand Sports, Scott McKenzie said he built about 30 between 1959 and when he started Sandmaster in 1966.

Bryan Vandebogart also has one in Iowa now which was built by his Grandfather who actually managed the San Fernando Buggy Center. 

I wonder if Scott McKenzie shared plans or possiby other builders just used a Chimp as a model

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