For $12,000, Would This Subaru-Powered 1968 Dune Hopper Drive You Buggy?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

While technically today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate is a “Dune Buggy” it’s in no way consigned exclusively to just pounding sand, it’s fully streetable too. Let’s find out if this Subaru-powered beast’s price consigns it to staying unsold no matter what.

Being a youngest child, I was never the first at anything in my family. Now, after seeing how yesterday’s 1986 Pontiac Fiero Mera prototype performed—an 88% Crack Pipe loss if you’re counting—I’m felling better about my lack of familial trail blazing.


Hey, what if you wanted to blaze someplace where there were no trails, only endless sandy dunes and sideways snakes? Well then, you might certainly be interested in today’s 1968 VW-based Dune Buggy.

The earliest dune buggy was of course Speed Buggy which delighted ‘70s kids every Saturday morning over the course of 16 action-packed episodes.

No wait, that’s not right.

The first fiberglass dune buggy was technically the Meyers Manx, which was designed in the sixties by boat builder Bruce Meyers in sunny Southern California. That form factor proved so wildly popular that it spurred both hundreds of imitators, and junkyards filled with old discarded Beetle bodies. Meyers was pretty peeved about his design getting ripped off, so much so that is follow up, the Manx II, was overtly complicated and far more difficult to replicate.


This particular car’s provenance is unknown, but it looks like a dune buggy should and is claimed to be a recent restoration. The car sits on what is described as a 1968 Bug platform, so the rear suspension should be a swing axle unless it’s been updated.


That’s potentially an important consideration because in place of the 40-odd horse Vee-Dub mill that would have originally been paired with this chassis and wouldn’t have taxed the suspension that much, this car has a 2.5-litre Subaru pancake back there. That’s claimed to have nearly 200-horsepower and is obviously going to be a bigger pendulum in the back. Tick-tock.


You should probably also give some thought to the brakes on this car too, now that I think about it.

Whatever the suspension in back, both ends are said to be adjustable for ride height. Right now the ad says that the car is “set up like a race car and any driver should expect tight suspension and tight handling in its current set up.”


The metallic cherry paint is said to be less than 2-years old and the car looks to be well sorted. Yes, the ad’s description of drop and lift spindles and that engine and radiator sitting proudly out its ass are a little disconcerting, but neither should be a deal killer for anyone.


The lack of registration since February might be a little more so. I don’t know how things work in Texas (where the car currently lives) but usually you’ve got to pay all the back registration and fines if a car has been let go and not put on non-op.

You could potentially add that to the $12,000 asking price (no joy rides!) the car currently carries. What do you think about that price for this Subie-powered beach buggy? Does that seem like a fair deal for a funky car that’s ready to roll once the registration is cleared up? Or, is that price as annoying as a sandy crotch?


You decide!


Houston Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.