Drop the name ‘Baja Bug’ casually in certain car circles, and you’ll instantly have people’s interest.
Or you may leave them scratching their heads when they hear of this less-known VW Beetle.
While this car is more of a lifestyle choice than a daily driver, just thinking about it makes people reminisce about the good old days of the 60s when life was a lot less complicated. Keep reading to find out more about this iconic car from days gone by.
Identifying the Baja Bug
If you’re out at the beach and see what looks like a Volkswagen Beetle but with an exposed engine and looking a bit worse for wear, then you’ve probably come across a Baja Bug. You might also hear one coming as they usually have no muffler on the exhaust.
Baja Bugs originated in California in the late 1960s and were extremely popular as you could drive them in the open desert, on sand dunes and beaches. Baja Bugs are VWs modified to operate in tough off-road conditions. They were (and still are) the perfect Aussie car for anyone who leads a relaxed beach lifestyle, but has a penchant for exploring.
The Baja Bug reinvented
Although Baja Bugs aren’t made commercially anymore, the closest thing to one has been the Dune. Dune is a concept car released by Volkswagen who calls it the 21st century Baja Bug. It’s designed to appeal to skiers and sand boarders. The Dune, however, looks a lot shinier and flashier than a Baja Bug, and at an estimated $24,795 you may not like the idea of going off-road and getting it muddy.
How to get your hands on one
With a Baja Bug, you won’t be concerned about it getting dirty and beaten up, as this is what they are for. If you know what you’re doing, you can make your own Baja Bug with some basic changes to strengthen it up against wear and tear, such as:
- Lightweight fibreglass body panels to replace front and rear.
- Tubular steel bumpers fitted to the body for increased engine protection and protection for those riding inside the car.
- Torsion bar front and rear suspensions can make it easier to fit larger off-road tyres and longer shock absorbers.
Of course, you can drive your Baja Bug on-road as well as off-road, but expect to have instant friends and onlookers who want to take selfies with it wherever you go.
To buy a Baja Bug in Brisbane look online in places like Gumtree, Shopbot, and eBay.