18 June 2008

VW FUGITIVE BUGGY



THE BUGGY:
Back in 1989 when Craig Strong, (Wheelie King and good friend) and I decided to build the Buggy there was no such thing as the Internet, not for everyday people and certainly not for us. So this post is like a time capsule, the blog I would have written if blogs were available to us at the time.

I have included this blog because I feel it was one of the best things that I have done, a real achievement in design, creativity and endurance. If any of you have embarked on a project that took a little bit longer than you thought and you started to wonder just what you had let your self in for, that is this project. The whole thing took us 8 months which in its self is good going but the hardest part was the last few weeks; sorting the electrics for lights and indicators etc and all the legal stuff with MOTs, DVLA, police inspections and organizing a "Q" plate. This is the number plate you have to apply for if you have built the car yourself, which is what this project was classed as.

JUST THE THING:
I have to be very honest here and tell you that if it wasn't for Craig, this project would have never have been finished and it was definitely his drive and tenacity in those last weeks that pushed it through to become a finished, road worthy, Baja, desert racing, Sandrail. Just the thing for Bournemouth on the south coast of England.



On arrival at UVA Craig found most of the bits we needed in
a skip at the back and was dead chuffed with that.



Back at our hyper sterilised build lab you can see other projects in the background. Left to right; A VW shaped swinging seat; a wall climbing buggy aimed at the growing Spiderman market. And in the foreground, a prototype, party sized hand grenade.



Precision and an immaculate build area were key to the final outcome of the project.



The right tool for the right job was a theory that sat uncomfortably on Neil's shoulders.
Carefully preparing another precision fit before welding.

WOULDN'T IT BE GOOD IF...
The Project started it's life a few years before this build as a completely different project but I ran out of money and in my parents drive it sat until one day Craig and I were talking and in the way I seem to start off on big complicated projects, it was with the idea and just saying... "wouldn't it be good if". The next thing we knew we were buying "How to build Sandrail books" from America and shooting up to UVA, a top custom car retailer at the time to buy body fiber glass and chassis kits to get things moving.



Getting a decent fit for the body fiber glass was not fun. Craig and I really did, nearly have a punch up over this. A very unpleasant Sunday morning but in the end... Job done.



An excellent view of the buggy nose and front damper struts that I fabricated from 3.5 x 1.5 box section. A friend Adam told me, "You won't make that!" - Well that was a red rag to a bull wasn't it?



Rolling Chassis day. This was great, now it looks like a car



Rolling Chassis with me testing the steering. It was to be another 2 weeks before we realised that the steering rack was installed upside down, so when you steered left the wheels went right and when you steered right the wheels went left. We had a clown car.



More or less the finished vehicle. Here we see Craig taking it for one of it's many "Roosts" around Craig's girlfriend's farm where we built it.



My turn, from the back, as always.



After a good Roost around the farm and adjoining fields it was always important to get all the cow shit off your back with fist full of straw. Cheers Daisy.

BLUE CAMOUFLAGE:
The real detail as to the build of the Buggy is probably beyond this post and come to that, your interest, but I would quickly like to talk about the Blue camouflage body kit that our Buggy enjoyed. This was probably one of the most important motivating factors of the build. Right at the beginning of the project I made a 'visual'; a colour pic of the finished thing and in that visual the Buggy was blue camouflage and that was it, Craig and I both wanted to see that real, and drive it around.

THE PAINT JOB:
This paint job took me five weeks to complete and started off with me priming all the panels with 2 coats of flat white primer, before drawing the individual elements, of the five element camouflage on to the kit in pencil, being careful to mark all the elements so I knew later what colours were what. Then it was a case of masking out each different colour before spraying and allowing to dry before moving on to the next colour. This process was completed 5 times, throughout all the body panels before the whole thing was finished and ready for sanding down and lacquering. Job done!.



Finished pride and joy - what a moment! This was just before one of our first posing missions up Westover Road in Bournemouth. Even the Shadowy Specter of the High Meadow wanted a go and looked on enviously.



This was my favourite angle. It shows off the camo paint job and I love the ground clearance.
This shot is outside my parents' house before taking a long list of friends and skeptics out for a joy ride.



Another favourite angle. Key features of note here are the spun aluminium fuel tank and the excellent mount for the number plate that Craig made from Dural Aluminium. I always appreciated Craig's attention to detail.



This was summer No.2 and you will notice the new Stinger, straight through exhaust pipe.



The Buggy became quite famous around Bournemouth and were invited to show the car at a couple of events. Here we see Maria Davis, Miss Poole Speedway about to Mace some dodgy character in very high waisted jeans.



Maria Davis demonstrating how to climb into a car with no door while not showing the local paparazzi her suspender belt. Luckily for us she failed miserably.

£3500:
When all was finished, we kept the Buggy for two summers and had much fun with it but in the end, really it was all about the build and we decided to sell it to a guy in Oxford for £3500.

This wasn't going to cover a 10th of the cost of the build but as I said early, it was all about having the idea and wanting to see it real.

RELATED LINKS:http://www.fugitives.co.uk/

2 comments:

  1. Hi mate.

    Great surprise to return to the office after my chunky chock ice on the cliff top to be met by GONE TO FAR like a contender from Robot Wars! Bloody hell, how emotional it is to look back at good old times back in a different life. Great to have done that project while everyone was down the pub. It certainly was a test of strength of character and friendship, and we pulled that one off better than UVA. I remember saying one day on the build, we'll be telling this story and showing the pics to our kids, and you know what, I have.

    Forgot about the pics of Maria Davis at Poole Stadium, never got a copy of those. Remember you politely lining up her stocking seams for her whilst everyone in the pits looked on in astonishment at how cooly you did it, all wishing they to had the chance, thinking about it we should have done one leg each - SHARING!

    Bringing my thoughts to a close I spent the funds from Gone to Far's sale on a bed for my first house - sad but a fact of life. I dumped that bed about 3 months ago, as it went to the bottom of the skip it was like the dream was gone forever. But now it lives on in Neil's blog.

    Craig

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  2. Hi Craig

    Thanks for the email I really appreciate it.
    If it's OK with you I would like to copy and paste it into the Blog as your comment?

    I was telling Steph about the Maria Davis stocking incident and she said "Yea she either fancied you or thought your were gay".
    She thought I was gay didn't she? ... bugger!

    In coming weeks I'm going to be writing about our Canadian trip, Snowboarding, especially that year we did the off piste hiking. and hopefully some BMX stuff once I've dug out some pics. I think I might do an article about Oingo Boingo, I've found some great videos on youtube id like to include.

    Cheers mate, we really do need to catch up properly soon.

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