"The 1960s: mini-skirts, moon landings, music and a Missile Crisis... And beach buggies. A broad bevvy of buggies, each with balloon-bloated tyres seemingly capable of taking on a lunar landscape. Lamborghinis Miura and Countach, Lancia Stratos, Fiat Abarth 131 Rally, the "
VW_ Big Up the Buggy Up!
Of all the manifestations of VW audacity, the Buggy represents something particularly deep-lying and playful in the minds of VW enthusiasts.
They originate from the simple workability of the Beetle platform and a creative impulse that is common to folk who like to tweak ‘the people’s ride’.
So when an updated version of the idea of a stripped down beach-oriented vehicle that is solely about fun fun fun appeared at this year’s Frankfurt show, it was always going to turn heads
The buggy up! is of course, inspired by the Californian beach buggies of the 1960s – but this one is based on the forthcoming small car star the Up!
The original buggies were custom jobs pioneered by the likes of Californian Bruce Meyers.
Custom shops like the one run by Meyers replaced steel bodies with hand moulded fibreglass jobs.
The result were agile, fun vehicles that perfectly reflected the ethos of California in the sixties.
The Buggy up, meanwhile, doesn’t utilise composites – these bodies are made of lightweight steel and keeps its city sibling’s reinforced underbody, running gear and drive technology.
The roofless, doorless exterior is completely redesigned and the ride height is lowered by 20 mm. C-pillars are banished and the storage compartment is constructed of two pieces: the main part of the lid lifts upward like a saloon’s bootlid, but the section above the bumper folds down, like the tailgate on a pick-up, making it easy to stash all that fun beach gear.
There are also trad-style tie-down straps for luggage on top of the bootlid itself.
Inside there are specially designed neoprene-covered seats (that’s wetsuit material) which are slung low, and so engineers have reduced the basic angle of the height-adjustable steering wheel by four degrees. This creates a real go-kart like driving position, and there’s a useful handle on the dash panel for when you assault the dunes properly.
Unlike most of the original Buggie the interior is completely waterproof with a basic cloth cover – and seats, sills and floors have drains in them that will allow any pesky brine to drain away easily.
Even the controls for the iPod-compatible infotainment system are waterproof, and you can remove the entire module – including the integrated loudspeakers – so that you’ve got a sound system for your beach party.
By resurrecting a vehicle that is purely for fun, VW seem to be pushing the versatility of their brand – and engineering their ongoing status as a the daddy of manufacturers. Wether or not the Buggy Up! will ever be produced en masse remains to be seen.
If they do so, we recommend they lose the exclaimation mark.
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