Dune buggy

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A dune buggy is a recreational vehicle with large wheels, and wide tires, designed for use on sand dunes or beaches. The design is usually a modified vehicle and engine mounted on an open chassis. The modifications usually attempt to increase the power to weight ratio by either lightening the vehicle or increasing engine power or both. Dune buggies designed specifically for operation on open sand are called sandrails.

A similar, more recent generation of off-road vehicle, often similar in appearance to a sandrail but designed for different use, is the "off-road go kart". The difference may be little more than fitting all-terrain tires instead of sand tires.

Contents

Design

Dune buggies are usually created using one of two to three different methods.

The first involves alteration of an existing vehicle, most notably the original Volkswagen Beetle. The Bug's (or Volkswagen Type 1) automobile platform is preferred for a variety of reasons. Most significant is the position of the rear mounted Volkswagen engine, which with removal of bodywork transfers a high proportion of the weight to the rear driven wheels for extra traction. The engine is air cooled, simplifying engine modification, and the absence of a radiator eliminates a source of failure. The low price; robustness of the front suspension; and the sizable quantity of spare parts from other VW Beetles and Type 2 (Microbus) are a further advantage. Chevrolet Corvair engines are also a popular way to upgrade to 6 cylinders and sometimes vehicles are fitted with turbochargers to provide as much as 180 horsepower (130 kW). For example, one such conversion was a 1970 Manx 2 on a 1961 VW chassis. It was fitted with a 180 hp (130 kW) turbocharged Corvair engine, with reverse rotation, mated to a VW transaxle.

The second method involves construction of a vehicle frame from formed and welded steel tubing. The advantage of this method is that the fabricator can change fundamental parts of the vehicle (usually the suspension and addition of a built-in roll cage). Buggies of this type are called sandrails because of the rail frame. Sandrails, as with the VW Bug, often have the engine located behind the driver. Sizes can vary from a small-engine one-seat size to four-seat vehicles with eight or more cylinders. Sandrails can have panels or custom-shaped body coverings over frame, though many are left bare.

Another type represents a mix of the above two design philosophies, typically constructed from a converted vehicle that has sustained damage from age, hard use, or accidents. This type of creation is called The Boston-Murphy style.

Function

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