Build a Beach Buggy

Yes that's an order! Build one, its the easiest way to get yourself the kit car you always promised yourself while keeping the kids amused with "the funny toy car".

The Costs of Building a Bugle

The build cost of a Bugle depends on the level of skill of the person building it and on the availability of facilities to do the build in. A workshop close to home ot a decent sized garage with space to work around saves time and money.

We estimate a budget of as little as £2,800 to build a basic VW engines Bugle beach buggy with the higher end of the range approximately £7,000 to build the ultimate Bugle, a full blown Subaru Turbo powered buggy!!! using a VW beetle as a donor vehicle.

There is a new build option using genuine VW floorpans and chassis imported new. A full new build car should cost between £5,000 and £9,000 depending on the specification.

What Engine?

Bugle buggies don't have to be VW powered just because they are based on the VW beetle chassis and floorpans. There are 94 different adaptor plates available to mate diiferent engines to the VW gearbox, however we would only recommend 10-15 of these alternative engine fitments for use in the Bugle. A V8 Chevrolet engine would be just a bit heavy hanging out the back of a lightweight beach buggy, but there are some mid-engined options available too!

Tools Required

You will need all the basic mechanical tools for working on any car, this list is not exhaustive but does give a fair idea;

Buying a Donor Car

Any model of VW beetle, although if possible avoid the 1302 and 1303 versions as thse have a different front frame head to take the later style coil over suspension. The buggy body is designed for the traditional front beam beetle suspension and was never intended to accomodate the higher coil-over suspension. Don't be deterred though if you find a good condition 1302 or 1303 chassis the frame head can be changed by a specialist. Bugle can undertake this modification for you. Use our contact form to enquire about this service.

Try and buy a model that hasn't been welded if possible even if its full of holes, although these are few and far between but it does make life much easier in the long run as cutting and shortening an already welded chassis is time consuming and expensive.

If you choose a 1302 or 1303 model, while there is a disadvantage with the need to change the framehead, you benefit from the later independant rear suspension, a masive improvement over the earlier swing axle rear end. You will also need to source the front beam suspension.

A pre 1967 model beetle will come with the correct early sloping headlamp units. If you wish to fit the later upright units you will have to create a home made adapter to make the lamp units fit correctly.

Modern Buggy Building

Building a beach buggy or any other kind of kit car is a very different procedure from the Bugle's early days in the 1970s, not least because everything mechanical on your donor car will now be seized, rotting or worn out unless you plan to buy a maintained example for your conversion. In truth this isn't cost effective as a good road-going example of a beetle isn't cheap. Do not listen to people who tell you building a beach buggy is a simple body-off, body-on job, it isn't, it is a bit more labour intensive than that. Your donor chassis will need a lot of preparation, it might need welding and it will certainly need stripping back and repainting. You will probably need the help of a friend who can weld or have the ability and the welding plant yourself. Mos tof the mechanicals will need overhauling, with beetle mechanicals this isn't particularly challenging, parts are available from a number of classic VW parts suppliers around the UK and spares are still reasonably priced, cheap by the standards of any modern car's spares.

The ultimate answer to how long it takes to build a beach buggy is simple: it depends on how good you want it to look and how well you want it to run and handle. It's your piece of string, you get to decide how long it is.


Stipping down, shortening and getting your car through an SVA test >>