Contender for April '99 Buggy of the Month:

Dan Young, Escondido, Calif.

Dan Young sent in this description of his buggy. Send in yours for a chance at Buggy of the Month !

Dan writes :

Hi David! I am e-mailing you some specifics on my dune buggy. By the way, thanks for all that you do for the club, you help make it a real winner!

The buggy is six years old and has been used hard all throughout its life. We have toured the Rockies and San Juans in Colorado doing all the famous jeep trails like Iomgene Pass, Black Bear Pass and Engineer Mountain, all of which can get over 13,000 feet in elevation. We have done portions of the Dusy trail in the Sierras, and hope to do the Rubicon soon.

The buggy seats 5 with the car seat installed, and each of my kids has grown up banging around in it.

The body is a Johnnie's Speed and Chrome. The chassis is Danbilt. The first thing I did after buying the body was to buy a tubing bender and go to town! The chassis is completely custom with an aluminum floor pan, hidden side rail bars under the fiberglass, and full roll cage.

The interior is made up of Mastercraft seats in front and my own custom bench seat in back. I fiber glassed in an area behind the hinged rear backrest for some concealed storage which is quite handy.

The front end has been widened six inches with tall shock towers, Fox Racing shocks, and gussets on the king and link pin assembly for added strength. The tie rods are aircraft aluminum with International Harvester truck tie rod ends. The steering box in Wright Racing rack and pinion.

The rear torsion housing and transaxle are late model bus, rear shocks are gas filled long travel, axles and brakes are also bus. Turning brakes and a park-lock valve complete the system.

The fuel system is comprised by a 30 gallon floor tank which I welded up myself from aluminum diamond plate, complete with venting, pickup, and sensor. The fuel pump is a Mallory 110 with a pressure regulator. The carburetor is unique in that it is a 5 barrel Rochester designed for high or low altitude applications. I have had the buggy under sea level or over 13,000 feet in the mountains and it runs great. The secret is the third primary barrel which is connected to a aneroid cavity, (or bellows with a fixed air pocket), that expands in high altitude driving a needle into a seat and leaning out the carb as the air thins out. Back at sea level or anywhere in between, the bellows compresses and the needle retracts, adjusting the mixture.

But the real focal point of the buggy is of course the motor. It started life as a '63 Buick 215 cubic inch all aluminum V-8 motor, but hardly resembles that now, (at least inside). I bored, resleeved, stroked and modified the motor until it now stands at 305 cubic inches, or a full 5 liter displacement. It has the crank from a Buick 300 which gives it a long stroke, heads off the same motor that give it big valves, Ford turbo deck-able pistons that yield a 10.5:1 compression ratio, and early Corvette rods link it all together. The intake manifold is an Edlebrock, the carb is as mentioned above, and exhaust is through a Flow Master with custom extractor The motor is balanced, and I polished and detailed the outside, (and portions of the inside for better flow), to a bright shine.

I also fabricated an 8 quart pan with baffles and a swinging gate inside for reduced oil slosh under heavy acceleration or steep hills While I was at it I welded in an extra pick-up tube and ran an outside 12 volt oil pump to use as a pre-lube system that can pressurize the motor up to 40 lbs. of oil pressure before it ever starts, helping to reduce wear on cold starts.

The motor is mated to the trans through a Kennedy Clutch adapter and clutch parts.

The radiator sits up front and is connected to the motor by 20 feet of aluminum tubing. There are 2 electric fans on the radiator helping to keep it run cool. I still have some work to do there as the car will over- heat at idle, as we all now know! The problem is in the long circuit the coolant has to make. I think an additional electric coolant pump is the answer. We will find out at Big Bear, eh?

The buggy has been a wonderful experience for our whole family, and we look forward to many more trips with the Manx Dune Buggy Club!