Since Volkswagen dune buggies are heavily modified versions of the common Volkswagen Beetle, they do not share standard features. Enthusiasts cite the rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and lack of a radiator as two important reasons to choose the 1969 Volkswagen Beetle and transform it into a Manx-style dune buggy.
A particular example of a 1969 Volkswagen Dune Buggy may feature a four-cylinder, 1600 cubic centimeter boxer engine, a single weber carburetor and a four-speed transaxle transmission. Some models include optional features such as an AM/FM radio, roll bars and back benches. In all cases, dune buggy enthusiasts must install extra-wide all-terrain tires on their vehicles to ensure that the buggy can effectively handle off-road travel. The rear-mounted engine of the Volkswagen Beetle improves traction at high speeds, and the lack of a radiator eliminates a common source of failure in high-performance situations.
In addition to a powerful engine, a 1969 Volkswagen dune buggy may feature a fuel pump kill switch for safety, a fan shroud made of chrome and a 009 Bosche distributor. Car enthusiasts identify Manx-style dune buggies by their tall wheels and shortened body shape as originally designed by Meyers Manx. Manx originally modified Volkswagen Beetles to create unique-looking dune buggy vehicles in the 1960s; the form of the Volkswagen Beetle-inspired dune buggy caught on afterwards, particularly in California.