Welcome to Found Off The Street, our look at cars found on the cape that rust liked so much it decided to summer there; Cape Cod, MA. Today we have a 1968 Volkswagen Baja Bug.
Last week in Found Off The Street we saw a 1964 Mercedes Unimog that had survived a life of use and abuse to make it into retirement not much worse for wear. This week's 1968 Volkswagen Baja Bug has a few more scrapes and scars to show for it's off-road lifestyle, and it isn't retired yet. This Bug sits ready to go back to having fun off road when it finds an owner who wants to do the same.
For almost as long as the Volkswagen Bug has existed, people have been modifying them to suit their personal tastes. On the cape that rust remembered, many of those modifications were intended to improve the Beetle's off road capabilities for use on the beach, in the snow and in the woods. Converting your Beetle into a Baja Bug was a cheaper and slightly more practical alternative to fiberglass dune buggies for those looking to improve the Volkswagen's off road performance.
Named for the Baja Peninsula and it's rather famous off road race, Baja Bugs first started appearing in Southern California in the late 60s. Many of them retained their stock engines, and like this one relied on smaller fiberglass fenders and huge tires to help move down the Beach with ease. The cut down bodywork provided increased air flow, which kept the engine cool even during prolonged off road abuse.
Once very popular on both coasts, Baja Bug's are now a rare sight. As rust free Volkswagens became collectables instead of used cars, the prospect of cutting one up to turn into a Baja Bug became an increasingly less popular and more expensive thing to do. A lot of the ones you see now are either restored show cars or older examples like this one that are showing the effects of a lifetime of use and abuse.
This FOTS has a bit of a NPOCP component to it. As I was taking pictures of the car, I was given several pieces of information that historically mean I might have to find a new place to keep something old and rusty. This Baja is for sale, needs very minor tweaking to be roadworthy and can likely be had for a reasonable price ($1000). The pans are surprisingly solid and the car looks decent structurally. With some spray paint and a weekend of work, this Baja could easily be ready for some fun in the snow. I'm still not sure why the idea of owning a ratty Baja Bug has become so appealing, but I implore you to crack price me out of it.