1967 VOLKSWAGEN DOON Beach/Dune Buggy LWBView vehicle description
After owning beach buggies for many years, Simon ‘Chad’ Chadwick and Richard Crees were in the ideal position to develop a new model which would address some of the shortcomings they’d found in other kits.
And, instead of moaning and dreaming, they did exactly that, launching the Doon Buggy company – named after the way folk in their Black Country home pronounce ‘Dune’ – in 1999. A brand-new take on a well-trodden path, theirs did utilise the same 390mm chassis cut as others enabling existing Dune Buggy owners to rebody their exchange cars using the Doon design.
August 2001 saw the first car emerge, a dark green kit ref S001-01 for Richard, followed by S002-01 a turquoise kit for Chad. The naming nomenclature is simple: S=Short, L=Long, the next kit number in sequence and the year of manufacture.
2003 saw the long-wheelbase Doon emerge, which used an unmodified VW Beetle chassis, cleverly making the kit fully IVA exempt and so even easier to build. Customers loved it, and the LWB now outsells the SWB 2:1. Not that it was an easy car to design; it required re-profiling of the sides and wings to give it the same family shape as the SWB.
A deal was later struck with Volksmagic to produce the kits, which gave customers even greater backup plus a custom-build service and a supply chain for parts.
This example started life as a 1967 Beetle with the semi-automatic gearbox, which means it had the ideal suspension configuration for a Beach Buggy thanks to its ball joint front beam and IRS rear end.
This might not mean much to you but Peter, the seller, has 24 years under his belt as an engineer with Volkswagen, so it’s probably fair to say he knows his stuff.
Built using new or bespoke parts, as you might expect, he hasn’t skimped in his car’s specification. The gel coat, for example, was produced by the same people who supply high-end boat manufacturers like Sunseeker. The chassis and other parts were painted by a well-respected industry expert, and motive power comes courtesy of a brand-new performance engine.
In short, if you were an engineer with deep pockets, this is how you’d build one – and if you’re not then there’s no need to worry because this one is on-the-button and barely run-in, which means you get all the fun with none of the headaches!
Completed in 2017, it’s still done under 1,000 miles, so is still being run-in.
On the Outside
The Doon kit, which included the body tub, the side pods, the windscreen surround and tinted laminated windscreen glass, were supplied by Volksmagic, the UK Distributor for Doon Beach Buggies.
The tub is a Doon LWB version, produced in fibreglass with a Super White gel coat from the folk that supply Sunseeker Boats in Poole.
The chassis was overhauled by having the floor pans replaced with OE-spec items before being media blasted and then painted by Michael Strydon, the head trainer for the Glasurit Paint Company. He also painted all the other related painted parts. As you can see, he knows his stuff.
The inside of the chassis backbone was then injected with Dinitrol cavity wax, to ensure it will remain free of corrosion for many years to come.
Featuring a number of bespoke and custom parts, the Buggy is fitted with LED rear lamps, four neat LED indicators on each front wing, and DRLs plus updated halogen headlights. The latter sit in bowls made from polished stainless-steel for longevity rather than the cheaper chrome everyone else uses.
The taillights are circular LEDs, which give the rear end a clean appearance, all the better to display the beautifully detailed engine and exhaust.
A contrasting black mohair soft top has been fitted so beautifully that even the press studs play a part in the Buggy’s aesthetics. Fitted with removable side windows, a separate bikini top is supplied for those hot sunny days when even the standard roof is too much.
Both are bespoke to this vehicle and were manufactured by Chris at Custom Coach Trimming and are, as you can see, in excellent condition with crystal-clear windows.
The alloy wheels are genuine Minilites secured with chrome wheel nuts. The wheels on the rear axle are super-wide 10Jx15 fitted with 275/60R15 General Grabber HP tyres, while the front are more modest 6J x15 fitted with 195/50 R15 General Altman Sport tyres.
The (brand-new) Volkswagen Beetle fuel tank has been modified, removing the original side filler neck and replacing it with a Le Mans-style filler. The tank itself is fitted with the matching marine sender unit.
Finally, the full roll cage is bespoke and built by Lee Southertons from Volksmagic. It is fitted with full side-impact protection bars, which are on the outside of the Buggy’s tub and neatly hidden underneath the side pods.
On the Inside
Keen to keep the Buggy’s fixtures and fittings sourced from the Volkswagen Group parts bins, the seats started life in an Audi TT before being retrimmed in a light grey marine vinyl, which means they’re saltwater and UV resistant. Both front seats also have map pockets on the backrests, which provides additional storage.
The bespoke black carpet set was made from automotive-grade carpet by Nick at Rugs for Bugs.
The eye-catching gearstick was supplied by Vintage Speed, along with the chromed handbrake lever. A Momo steering wheel is mounted on a polished billet aluminium boss and a neat row of symmetrical coloured warning lamps sit above. Wherever you look the care and attention to detail that went into designing and building this buggy is evident.
Take the steering column and switchgear, for example. From a Golf MK4 with a working steering lock function for security, the fact it came from the same company as the Beetle is brilliant. As is the fact that the Doon also comes with two ignition keys plus two fobs for the remote-control alarm with immobiliser function that has been fitted for extra reassurance.
Beautifully engineered aluminium and chrome wing mirrors, plus a motorsport interior mirror, give wide-angle rear-view visibility while also adding to the car’s considerable good looks.
Instrumentation is comprehensive: The Beetles original speedo was sent back to Germany for a complete restoration, including recalibration to match the wheel and tyre combination. Because the car’s running gear was all renewed it was also reset to zero.
The fuel gauge, volt meter, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges are marine units with stainless bezels, so are easily capable of coping with an open-air environment.
Oh, and the frunk is probably the cleanest we’ve ever seen. Simple and uncluttered, if minimalism is your thing then you’re going to love life with the Doon.
As you’d expect of a man with Peter’s background, the mechanical specification is just as impressive.
Power comes from a brand-new crate engine of 1641cc capacity. Fitted with an Eagle 100 performance camshaft, a 123 Ignition electronic distributor, twin downdraft 40HPMX EMPI carburettors and a CSP throttle linkage, it also features a high-capacity sump and a fabulous bespoke, polished stainless-steel exhaust, handcrafted by Mike Hausmann.
Dressed with aluminium rocker covers, a chromed high-torque starter motor has been installed to help ensure reliable starting. As you can see, it looks fabulous and starts and runs as it should.
The four-speed synchromesh gearbox was built by Bears Motorsport, carefully matching the final drive ratio to the wheels and tyres fitted to get the optimum out the engine. This also ensures the engine is turning over at the right RPM when cruising to ensure correct engine cooling is achieved.
The front beam suspension is adjustable, allowing you to set the required ride height and stance and the IRS rear suspension provides an improved ride and handling compared to the old style transaxle. It looks a whole heap better, which is almost as important given how exposed everything is on a Doon Buggy.
Front brakes are courtesy of uprated and cross-drilled discs with a disc brake conversion also on the rear. The master cylinder has been uprated to match and all brake hoses are Aeroquip manufactured by Racinglines.
A bespoke opening bonnet gives good access to the brake fluid reservoir, windscreen bottle, battery master switch, and fuel tank.
The total mileage since being completed is just 980 miles, so it is not yet even run in.
Upon competition, the necessary forms were submitted to DVLA advising them of the body change etc, which means it is now correctly registered as a VW Doon Buggy LWB in white.
This allows the car to retain its heritage status which brings the benefits of being tax-free. The seller also has it insured with Adrian Flux on a fully comprehensive policy for under £100 per year.
His car has been featured in Bodyshop magazine, invited to and displayed at Volksworld, and recently won a show and shine award at the VDub at the PUB Show.
It won’t come as a surprise to learn that it’s passed all five MoTs with no advisories, with the current one expiring on the 27th of June 2023.
The Doon comes with a current V5 registration document in the seller’s name, a Certificate of Authenticity, the Hawk user’s manual, and a copy of Complete kit Car magazine which features an article on the Doon company.
What We Think
A self-confessed perfectionist, the fact that the Doon Buggy is so simple and uncluttered meant that Peter could indulge himself in outfitting his kit car to the highest standards, utilising custom and bespoke parts to bring it up to the specification he always dreamed of.
The frunk, for example, is so clean and uncluttered we can’t help but think it’s going to inspire others to bring their cars up to a similar condition. The widespread use of stainless-steel, Sunseeker spec gel coat, and marine cloth and instruments mean it should look this good almost indefinitely.
It’s a rare beast too, which means it a) draws attention wherever it goes, and b) makes it almost impossible to accurately value; while the £2,400 it’ll set you back for the basic body kit might sound cheap that’s just the start because you’ll end up disappearing down the same expensive rabbit hole the seller did.
This means the car’s guide price of somewhere between £10,000 and £20,000 is but a fraction of what it would cost you to build one to the same standard.
And this is, you’ll recall, a car that’s done under 200 miles a year since being completed and has yet to break into four-figures, so it’s still very nearly as good as new…
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- Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
- Seller Type: Private
- Odometer Reading: 980
- Chassis Number: 118151894
- Engine: 1641
- Gearbox: Manual
- Steering position: Right-hand drive
- Color: Super White
- Interior: Light Grey
- Estimated Price: £10,000 - £20,000