How to build a buggy: 7 steps (with pictures)

How to build a buggy: 7 steps (with pictures)
How to build a buggy: 7 steps (with pictures)

Would you like to have a buggy? This offroad car is really fun and you can build your buggy easily by transforming an old Volkswagen Beetle! It's pretty straightforward to find the parts needed to modify a Beetle and build a buggy without spending a lot of money. In this article, we tell you how to build the classic buggy of your dreams.


Method 1 of 2: Build a buggy from a Ladybug

Build a Dune Buggy Step 1

Step 1. Get an old Ladybug

Get a Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle, as it will be more difficult to convert to a newer model. Type 1 Beetles are cars built around 1970 and you can still find them in Europe or import one from Mexico or Brazil. The condition of the body is not important since you will be modifying it.

Build a Dune Buggy Step 2

Step 2. Buy the parts

You must start by obtaining the parts necessary for the transformation of your Beetle. Among other things, tires, damping springs, shock absorbers and a buggy exhaust (for example, a “cannon” or a “baja” pot).

  • If you live in France, you can find parts on the eBay website or on the following sites: “”, “” and “”, but if you live in the Americas, you can visit “” or “”.

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Build a Dune Buggy Step 3

Step 3. Place jack stands under the car

Lift the vehicle by placing it on jack stands in order to immobilize it and to be able to change parts without risk. Make sure your Beetle is perfectly stable on the jack stands before lying under it to remove the parts from the car.

Build a Dune Buggy Step 4

Step 4. Take the car apart

Disassemble your Beetle, leaving only the essential parts: the engine, the chassis, the steering wheel, the steering column, the suspension, the brakes, the tires and the seats. You can remove all the other parts of your Beetle. Keep the parts you remove to create modern art sculptures or to sell them at a junkyard or on the eBay website.

  • Remove the trunk lid, bumpers and fenders from your Beetle. Remember that a Beetle's engine is at the back of the vehicle and the trunk is at the front.

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  • Change your Beetle's suspension as well as the wheels, tires and muffler. If you have bought an old Beetle, these parts are certainly in poor condition. If the tires are in good condition, you can remove the wheels from the vehicle and mount the tires on new wheels. Save the nuts, you will need them to secure your new wheels.

    Build a Dune Buggy Step 2
  • Then change the parts of your Beetle's suspension: the springs and the shock absorbers. You can get springs that are longer than those originally installed, so your buggy will be slightly raised.

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  • Change the muffler. Remove the original muffler after cutting it 13cm from the manifold flange with a keyhole saw. Carefully consult the assembly manual for your new cannon (or baja) muffler then install it on the car at an angle of 45 °.

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  • Now install your new wheels or mount your new tires on the original wheels of your Beetle then secure them by carefully tightening the nuts. You can now lower the jack stands and remove them from the underside of your buggy.

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Build a Dune Buggy Step 5

Step 5. Paint your buggy

You can paint your buggy with any paint color of your choice and if you wish add accessories. If you want to impress your girlfriend, change the engine of your buggy by placing in the rear a 110 HP Golf GTI engine or a 6 cylinder engine from Chevrolet Corvair. You will certainly have to have your buggy approved, find out about the laws in force in your country.

Method 2 of 2: Build a buggy from a kit

Build a Dune Buggy Step 6

Step 1. Do a search on Google

You will find many models of buggies by searching the internet. Prices of course vary depending on the model you are interested in.

  • If you live in France, you can consult the following sites: and: -40960.htm. On the American continent, the company Berrien Buggy ( offers you different models of buggies to build yourself.

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  • Some companies can deliver all the spare parts of the vehicle to you and you just have to assemble them in your garage. You can find this kind of kits, for example, at Myers Manx (

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Build a Dune Buggy Step 7

Step 2. Obtain plans

If you want to build your buggy by putting the different parts together yourself, but you don't know how to draw the construction plans for your buggy, you can get plans with a budget of 30 to 40 euros. You will however have to research all the parts yourself, but this can save you money because you can find the sellers with the best prices.

  • If you would like to purchase blueprints for building a buggy, check out the Amazon website.

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  • Visit the forums of websites specializing in buggies. In these forums, you will be able to communicate with people who are passionate and have experience in the matter. They will help you by recommending websites or companies where you can get the parts you need. They will also tell you what are the pros and cons of certain parts and educate you on the quality of products sold by major companies.

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  • You can drive your buggy keeping the original Volkswagen Beetle type 1 engine, but if you want more power you can change the engine. Find out about the laws in force in your country for the homologation of the vehicle.
  • To make your buggy have better acceleration and be a little faster, make it lighter by removing all the parts that are not absolutely necessary. Strip your VW Beetle completely and keep only the essential parts to build your buggy.


  • The brakes of your old Beetle may be covered with a light coating of asbestos dust. To change the brakes, it is strongly recommended to wear a mask so as not to breathe in this dust. Do not let your children (or those of other parents) approach your buggy until it is (or almost) finished.
  • If you have never changed a car's shock absorbers before, it is advisable to leave this task to a professional, as it is difficult work and comes with serious risks.

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