A VW dune buggy is made by finding a vintage Volkswagen Beetle, preferably a model from the 1970s, purchasing the needed parts, stripping down the car and installing the dune buggy components. A new set of tires and a coat of paint on the frame finish the job.
Vintage Beetles have a slightly different shape and are a bit larger than the newer models. These frames can better handle the dune buggy add-ons such as a megaphone exhaust, shock absorbers, springs and tires. Dune buggy parts are available at sites such as AppletreeAuto.com and PacificCustoms.com.
After securing the VW on jack stands, the builder strips off the entire Beetle body. The only parts left behind are the frame, engine, wheels, tires, brakes, suspension and one or two front seats. Dune buggy compatible parts replace the tires, exhaust and suspension. It's possible to reuse the wheels if they are in good shape. Heavy-duty shock absorbers and taller springs give the dune buggy a higher ground clearance.
The builder replaces the exhaust pipe with the megaphone exhaust, which is longer, tapered and louder, and then installs the new tires. Knobby tires with thick treads work best on sand and dirt. After that, the builder paints the frame and adds accessories. Some builders replace the VW engine with a larger one to give the dune buggy more power. The Chevrolet Corvair engine works best because it is also designed to fit in the rear of a car.