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Steel Buggy: ’58 VW Based EMPI Sportster

VW EMPI Sportster

There was a burgeoning sand-craze in SoCal in the 50s and there existed two camps – water or air-cooled. Buggy historians may dispute the inventor of the air-cooled camp but most folks believe It was Pete Beirning of Oceano, CA that did it in 1958. VW EMPI SportsterVW EMPI SportsterPete took a rolled Bug and made a short pan buggy out of it. Many people took note of his pan car and followed suit. The first production buggy was not Bruce Meyer’s Manx either. It was an EMPI buggy. The success EMPI had with after market parts in the late fifties continued and grew stronger for the sixties. The “Sportster” was the first production buggy kit that a person could buy and build. It was largely made up of tube frame and sheet metal so there was little weight savings, but the design was dune ready. We must confess that we have never seen one of these on the market and when our intrepid sleuth, Arthur B. sent it to us we were amazed. It is a 1st year EMPI kit built on a VW platform. It wasn’t shortened because it is a 4-seater. The mechanicals are all period VW 1200cc stuff and it remains a 6-volt car. The crashbox has given way to a synchro box and some trick 356 brakes help corral this Speedster to a halt. We love the period look. Sort of King Midget meets sand rail. Get on eBay and BUY IT NOW for $13,300 by clicking here.VW EMPI Sportster

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