Gary Stapf - 1967 Dune Buggy on a '69 chassis
Built by Stapf Brothers (TheRatRogGarage), Holiday, Florida
Roger and I have been tinkering with VWs and reading Hot VWs magazine since about 1981. This buggy project started in the summer of 2006, when my brother Roger (aka. RatRog) brought home a Bradley GT he picked up for $400 that was in serious need of restoration. My brother gave it to me since, at the time, I had no car projects going and he felt I needed something to do with my spare time. The pan/chassis restoration went along quickly and was finished in a couple months. Then came time for the fiberglass body, well, I wasn’t feeling the Bradley GT so the project stalled.
A year or so passed and my brother came across a 1967 Dune Buggy (manufacturer unknown) while on one of his many VW treasure hunts. The buggy pan/chassis was trash, but the fiberglass shell was in pretty good shape, only needing some fiberglass repairs here and there, so he offered the buggy shell to me to revive my interest, and I accepted. Next came the task of shortening the pan for the newly acquired body. As much as I hated cutting the restored chassis I knew it was for the greater good. Well, with the chassis shortened, seam sealed and painted it was time to fit the buggy body.
As with most car projects there were some problems, with solutions found we worked through them and moved forward. We had an old 1600cc engine for the project that was in good running condition, but while on a parts run Roger found a fresh 1600cc dual-port that was ripe for the picking so I gave him the okay to purchase it and we surged forward. The project was shelved again in 2009 for lack of interest, and just generally life getting in the way, until the summer of 2011.
With the buggy very close to completion (I vowed to finish it this year), we broke down the 1600 since it had been sitting for years, took readings, made adjustments, lubed it and fired it up —perfect as we hoped. We missed having the buggy finished for the Pasco Bug Jam 2011, so decided instead to finish in time for the first show in our area of the new year “Quaker Steak and Lube Bug Fest 2012”. We named it “Sunset Buggy” due to the dash being clean of any gauges and just having a mural of a local beach sunset. The Sunset Buggy did well at the Bug Fest and took “Best of Show Open Body”, (we just wanted it to be seen) with that out of the way it is time to just enjoy the ride … which I do every day.
I would like to thank my brother, Roger, without him and his skills I wouldn’t have this amazing buggy, and my kids, David and Sara, who pitched in whenever asked to help (wink, wink).
More to See...
Don't Miss the Next Issue. Subscribe Now!Subscribe now to get the latest issue of Hot VWs Magazine.
FRESNO FRIENDSIf custom VWs are your thing, then you'll want to check out the March issue of Hot VWs featuring Bruce Bewarder's wild VolksRod from Fresno, California. A long-term project, it was finally finished with a lot of help from his friends, and besides massive amounts of bodywork, features A-arm front suspension, tan leatherette interior, and a sizzling 2110cc engine.