Strange Stuff You May Have Seen In the Dunes

In the old days, when people had to make their own dune buggies--there were no kits--innovation ruled supreme.  Every builder had his own ideas of what would go good in the dunes.  What follows are some photos taken from old magazines, and some that I took myself.

This is a feature photo from the October 1966 issue of Four Wheeler Magazine.

Yeah, people will turn ANYTHING into a four-wheeler if you give them a hoist and welder.

TWELVE wheel drive dune buggy!  This photo came from the February 1967 edition of Four Wheeler Magazine.  The buggy has three axles, with dual tires on each.  Look ma, no steering wheel!  Steering was accomplished tank style with skid turning.  Wooohoooo!  Wife looks REAL excited...

This dune buggy belonged to AJ Domangue, who was in our buggy club.  If it wasn't needed to either hold AJ in the seat, or keep the wheels connected, it was removed!  I remember how AJ made sharp getting out and lifting the front end by himself!  This dune buggy ended up in AJ's front yard, as a protest to the closure of our local dunes in the Monterey Bay area.  Without local dunes, the buggy was useless, so he made a burial plot.  Musta drove the neighbors crazy.

I saw this machine in Coos Bay, Oregon, in the late 60's.  Engine is a Corvair air cooled unit, put into the front as one would do with a water-cooled engine.  Note where the exhaust comes out--Right in your face!

This machine was running around the Michigan Dunes area in 1971.  Photo came from Dune Buggies Magazine.  Pretty stylish, eh!

Is this thing LONNNNNNGGGGGGG or what!  This was another weird machine in the Coos Bay dunes, late 60's.  I have a strange feeling that this guy lived right on the sand and never needed a trailer.

I always thought this was Dave Beckett's "Monster," but I was mistaken.  Apparently, it belonged to a guy from the San Franciso Bay area.  Dig those enormous rear tires!

Below is a photo from a magazine, showing the grooving in a smooth tire with grooving.  It was "The Monster," owned by sand tire pioneer Dave Beckett.  I remember seeing these tracks at Pismo.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some strange stuff from years gone by.  It seems that individualism died out in the 70's when dune buggy kits, mostly powered by Volkswagen engines, became popular, and it was no longer necessary to be a welder, painter, engine builder, or tire groover in order to own a dune buggy.

Old Santa Maria Dune Buggies

This stripped down car was created by Jack Brickey.  Photo was taken at Suey Ranch in 1946.  This is really all you needed to have fun back then!

This little homemade dune buggy was built by the Brickey boys of Santa Maria.

Shown are Carl Brickey, Richard Tilley, Alan Brickey, Clarence Brickey, Mike May.  Photo is from 1964.  Buggy has an 8 HP Briggs & Stratton engine.

My History of Pismo and Oceano Dunes

Lots more photos here!  Lots of graphics, so it takes a while to download, but it's worth it!

Friends of Oceano Dunes

A new non-profit organization to keep the dunes open to all uses.

Oceano Dunes Home Page

Maps of the dunes, tide, reservation, and towing information here!

Lots of dune buggies of all types at this all-inclusive site.

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