Sunday, August 2, 2015

Any Dune Buggy Experts?

Nelson writes:

A friend of mine owns a Kyote dune buggy, which had tiger stripes when he originally bought it. He's started to refinish it, but there are still parts of the stripes on it. He found and bought the buggy on a ranch in the desert, and they said it had been there for years. 

Looking at the photos you posted on, he found numerous matching points in the paint and body damage, and he's convinced it's the same Kyote. He's pointed out the matching points on the pics below. Now he's thinking about restoring it like in the pictures.   

Do you know where all those dune buggy photos came from? Where were they impounded?   Who was the person in the black T-shirt in the two pictures in the impound yard?

I'm wondering if the photos they took of the impounded buggies from Inyo County are in a library or an accessible collection some place now.

Thanks, Nelson

Lynyrd Responds:

Thank You Nelson for your letter. 

There does seem to be several similarities between your friend's buggy, and the one in the LSB3 photo.

The photo with the "LSB3" watermark on it, was taken from this thread:

That thread consisted of several photos, which were taken during the Barker Ranch raid. Kimchi confirms that fact, in the comments section.

If my memory serves me correctly, someone made a video with those same pictures (of the raid). There's an interview with a police officer (who led the raid), on the same video. 

Check Youtube for the video. It's probably titled "Barker Ranch Raid"... or something similar.

If you can locate that video, you might gain more information (by watching it). Also, contact the owner of the video and ask him/her questions. Lastly, read the comments section. You can sometimes find good information in the comments section (of Youtube videos).

As for the photos of the young man in the black t-shirt... I honestly don't recognize them. I'm not even sure if they're from the LSB3 blog. (If someone could locate those photos on the blog for us, that would be helpful).

Beyond that Nelson, I have no further information. Unfortunately, I know nothing about dune buggies specifically.

Hopefully, our readers will add some information (in the comments section), which may prove helpful to you.

My Best Regards,


I found the video. It's on Kimchi's Youtube channel. The "tiger stripe" buggy is shown at 8 minutes, 56 seconds. The second half of the video, is an interview with Officer James L. Pursell. The film is silent (no audio) until Pursell is interviewed (at about 18 minutes in).

I don't think Kimchi created that video herself, though. There should be other copies floating around. 

If we can locate the person who originally created that video, we could ask them questions... and possibly gain useful information about the photos, the buggies themselves, and their original impound location.


katie8753 said...

Thanks Nelson. It looks like that is the same dune buggy. It looks like the left headlight is gone on both buggies.

Patty is Dead said...

Pretty cool!!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I've always found dune buggies really cool... and I always thought it would be "wicked pissah" to own one.

But, I must admit, I know nothing about them.

So... while we're on the subject, I'll take the liberty of asking a few general questions (that I've always wondered about):

#1) Are any of these buggies street legal in 2015?
I mean... can you actually register these buggies, get a license plate, insurance, and drive one down the street?

#2) Were they ever street legal? Or, were they made strictly for off-road recreation?

#3) Where did people buy these buggies?
Did anyone "manufacture" these buggies on a large scale, and sell them retail?
Every dune buggy I've ever seen, looked like a converted VW Bug, that the owner created himself.
FYI - There are some 3-wheel bikes (trikes) in my area, made from old VW Bugs, as well.

#4) If these buggies were manufactured on a large scale, where were they sold? A regular car lot? A motorcycle shop? Could you walk onto a Chevy dealership, and walk-off with a dune buggy in 1968? LOL

"Dune Buggies" were probably much more of a "west coast" thing, hence my ignorance.

You need "dunes" (and nice weather) to enjoy a dune buggy (LOL), and there's not a whole lot of either in the North East. We have more snow, than desert. LOL

I've seen many buggies in photos, but in "real life", I've only seen probably 4-5... and they were parked.

#5) Were these buggies "4-wheel drive"?
Heck... did they even have "4-wheel drive" in the late 1960's?

It seems to me, you wouldn't get very far in deep sand without "4-wheel drive", but maybe I'm wrong...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

#6) Is there anywhere, that a person can buy a "new" dune buggy in 2015?

Kimchi said...

This is awesome! Thanks for contacting Lynyrd, Nelson!

I'm not an expert Lynyrd, but I've been around for a long time (lol) and I now live in a place with hundreds of miles of dunes!

1&2 In my State, you cannot license dune buggy's...., they recommend registering them for proof of ownership and carrying insurance, but it's not mandatory. I believe in Arizona, you can ride them on the street... I have a friend that has an ATV and drives it on the highway to his cabin 40 miles from Phoenix and he says it's perfectly legal.

3. You can buy dune buggy's from a lot of places (here) and there are a lot listed on craigslist, mostly those that people built or had built....especially here where I live. In 1969 there was a dune buggy dealer in the San Fernando Valley - Dale's, I think it was called... Manson bought a dune buggy there and paid cash.... it's in one of the police reports...the Family stole a buggy from them too.... something like that... his brother was an LAPD officer... dune buggy's were popular at that time and in the early 70's. You're right, they (mostly) had VW engines back in the 60/70's. There are a few old "Manx" for sale here but they want a lot of money for them... around $15,000....

My friend here has two newer dune buggies - they have Honda motors and drive trains - they had them built and are worth around $30,000 a piece....they look like a sand rail, nothing like the cute little ones that "Barbie and Ken" had...remember those Katie?

katie8753 said...

Hey Kimchi! I had the Barbie dream house and the Barbie dream car, Ken & Skipper. I don't remember it being a dune buggy, I think it was more of a long car. But that was back in 1962 or 1963, when I still played with Barbie's. I also had Barbie's friend Midge. LOL.

Sorry I don't remember the dune buggy, but as you get older, sometimes you just can't remember all that stuff!

p.s., I always wondered where Skipper came from. LOL.

katie8753 said...

I think Scooby Doo had a dune buggy.

katie8753 said...

Hey Kimchi, I was thinking that there were a lot of those "striped" dune buggies. Am I dreaming, or is that so?

Kimchi said...

I think I got my Barbie dune buggy in about 1968 or was took it to Huntington Beach, I remember that...and F...d it all up...I didn't take care of my stuff, too bad! Been worth a small fortune now...

I don't remember the striped dune buggies, I remember the purple metallic for some reason...

Like I said a long time ago, I saw Manson's at the Pomona Antique Auto Swap Meet in the early 80's on display, it was nasty, I stayed far away from it, I regret it now... should have taken pictures at that time, but I did not...

I wonder if it is the same one that Nelson's friend has...I tried to find out what happened to the one on display at Pomona, but no one, or at least a guy I know that has been selling there for 30 years didn't know what became of it....

Kimchi said...

Now I'm going to ramble... lol

One of my first jobs was as a DMV clerk at Pick-A-Part Auto Dismantling in Monrovia---this was late 70's early 80's...(it's still there!!)

I used to go to the El Monte Auto Auction every week with the owner, my boss....(of Pick-A-Part)

When I got into this TLB stuff, I found out Leslie's dad worked at that auction.... I wonder sometimes if I saw or met him at some time...if so, I sure don't remember...

Ohhhhh....the 6 degree's of

sunset77 said...

I know nothing about dune buggies, I've never had one or ridden in one. A guy tried to sell me one once, I never even went an looked at it.

Another blog has a post that said this in 2013:

"Dean Jeffries passed away this past weekend at the age of 80 and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to his son Kevin and his family in this difficult time.

Dean is best known for his radical bubble topped asymmetrical custom car the Mantaray which he built in 1962. Many of his fans know him as the creator of the Monkeemobile - a wildly customized 1966 GTO phaeton that he built for the Monkees TV show. The producers of the show also asked Dean to build them a dune buggy which he called the Kyote. It first appeared in 1968 and Dean shortly went into limited production of Kyote kits which he made in his shop in West Hollywood."

It seems to me there is video of Steve Grogan and maybe some others driving a dune buggy in the Hendrickson film/s. Those films were probably made months after the Barker raid however, and I doubt any cars seized from the Manson family were ever returned.

There were apparently a number of Kyote "Manataray II's" produced, I also ran across a site tha mentions "liscensed reproductions". That archive site can be seen-->HERE.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thanks Sunset.
Interesting website.

It looks like "canary yellow" was the most popular color.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

According to some of the descriptions on that website, it seems these buggies are still street legal in some states. (Probably the more remote locations, as Kimchi suggested).

grimtraveller said...

Growing up in England, the only Dune buggies one ever saw were cartoon ones ! Well, I recall three shows that had them, there were the four that Fleagle, Drooper, Bingo and Snorky of the Banana Splits used to drive {ok, so they weren't cartoons}, there was the crew in the Funky phantom, they drove one {I remember Augie, Skip and the obligatory pretty girl. I think her name was April or June or some day of the week like Tuesday} and there was actually a show about a buggy called "Speed Buggy" which we never used to miss. The buggy used to say stupid things like "Who put the anti freeze in my carburetor ?"
Virtually all the great cartoons of the early to mid 70s here came from America.

rshep said...

I lived in Las Vegas in the 70's. There were a lot of Dune Buggy's around. All you had to do was buy a VW beetle, take the body off, get a Fiberglass Dune Buggy mold and bolt it on. Then wire the lights and turn signals up. Go get it registered at the DMV and you were good to go.

sunset77 said...

Grim Traveler mentioned 70's cartoons. It sounds like you had the same ones in England I did here. I remember SPEED BUGGY

I also remember the Banana Splits, all the kids in elementary school used to run around yelling Uh Oh Chongo

Probably my favorite though is the Goodwood Wacky Racers

grimtraveller said...

sunset77 said...

"I remember SPEED BUGGY"

Ha ha, that link brought back some memories ! I hadn't seen Speed Buggy since around 1974 or 75. But I remembered the music. In fact, from time to time over the years, I've found myself humming it. I liked the show but I always hated the actual buggy ! I thought he was such a twat.
By the time I was watching Speed Buggy and the Funky phantom, I was of the opinion that most of those type of cartoons {I'd include Josie & the Pussycats in that} were just a variation on Scooby Doo. Each show had it's 'Shaggy', it's 'Daphne', sometimes a 'Freddie' and a sort of Scooby hero figure that wasn't human {or in the case of the phantom, was a ghost}. Even Archie, though older, went that way. And you'd often find a 'Velma' type too.
Funnily enough, I was talking to a very close friend of mine about this once and she said to me that in her whole life, she'd only ever known one person called Daphne and one called Velma ¬> the Velma was her Mum and Daphne was her Mum's sister !

sunset77 said...

"I also remember the Banana Splits, all the kids in elementary school used to run around yelling Uh Oh Chongo"

That was a really weird show called "Danger Islands." The reason I used to love the Banana Splits was because they had all these other mini segments in them like The Arabian Knights, the 3 Musketeers, Danger Islands and later this cartoon about this family that used to shrink and explore their garden.
Maybe that's where Charlie got it from ! The Banana Splits themselves were like acid heads freaking out ! They were actually really funny and they made great music.
I absolutely loved the 3 Musketeers and the Arabian Knights. Even to this day, when people express any kind of surprise at me being in a building doing a delivery and they didn't let me in and they ask how I got in, I'll say "oh, just a little trick I learned from the Arabian Knights !" I usually have in mind the little fat guy that could get into anywhere by turning into water. My favourite was the guy that could turn into any animal by saying "SIZE OF A....." followed by the name of the animal he was going to become. It used to piss me off at 6 and 7 years old that that stuff wasn't true !
In Danger islands, that guy Chongo that used to live in the tree and shriek, he seriously used to scare me ! And his mate that used to explain his gestures was one of the first Black characters that I saw on British kids TV.

sunset77 said...

"Probably my favorite though is the Goodwood Wacky Racers"

I was never aware of the Goodwood Wacky Racers but I do remember very well "Wacky Races." My family moved to London from Birmingham in '69 {probably right around the aftermath of Shorty's demise} and Wacky Races was the first thing we watched as new Londoners. There used to be a cartoon that ran with it called the Space Kidettes, which I actually liked better. I liked most of the characters from the race except the Red Max and the Army Surplus special but I thought it's two spin offs {The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Dastardly & Muttley in their flying machines} were utterly superior in every way, especially the latter. In fact, "Dastardly & Muttley in their flying machines" is one of the few things from the 60s and 70s that I watched then that I can still watch now and enjoy.

sunset77 said...

Grimtravler, I remember all that stuff from the Banana Splits also. It seems to me there was also a segment about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. There was also a character named "Injun Joe" that always scared me.

I wasn't aware of the Goodwood Festival of Speed myself until a few years ago, I probably ran across it looking up the Wacky Racers. A few months ago there was a car at this years festival that was so spectacular I have to mention it. In 1911 Fiat built two S76's in an attempt to break the land speed record. I don't think they ever held the record though. Apparently, Lord Marchmont found the engine of one and the body of the other and restored a running Fiat S76. It has a 4 cylinder engine that displaces 28.5 liters. I looked up the engine, the pistons appear to be a bit larger than a gallon paint can and the connecting rods reminded me of those on a diesel locomotive.

Behold The Beast of Turin

Unknown said...

Person in black t-shirt is Nikolas Schreck. The shirt he is wearing says Radio Werewolf.

katie8753 said...

Wow, that's interesting. Looks like that Schreck was having a ball in a Manson dune buggy.

I thought he was bald. Did he shave his head? Sounds familiar. Let's see, where do I remember that one from....?

That explains a lot of things...

katie8753 said...

Heather do you know where that dune buggy was in that photo?

Unknown said...

Sorry, I only know that this photo is on Nikolas Schreck's facebook page and it was taken in 1987.

katie8753 said...

OK thanks Heather.

In that photo, it looks like the dune buggy is in a junk yard, but Nelson's friend bought the buggy at a ranch in the desert and it had been sitting for years. I wonder how it got out to the desert. Does anyone know?

beauders said...

Katie I thought you'd like to know Beausoleil had four women pregnant at the same time being Gayle (gave birth the day he killed Hinman), Sandra Good, Kitty Lutesinger, and Linda Kasabian.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Beauders. More lives ruined.

Like I said, it's a good thing he didn't have to pay child support. He sure wouldn't have had time to sit around and play the guitar. LOL.

Unknown said...

Heather, Katie, thanks for that tip. That's definitely where those pictures came from. We still need to find out where the Buggy was sitting when he took the pictures in 87 but the history is coming together

Unknown said...

Heather, Katie, thanks for that tip. There was another picture on his fb page I hadn't seen. Now I need to find out where that picture was taken in 87. The blanks in the history are starting to be filled in

beauders said...

No he wouldn't, he'd be lucky to get a factory job.

beauders said...

And he wouldn't have time to draw kiddie porn.

katie8753 said...

Nelson, thanks so much for this thread! I would hope that now that we've gotten down to who that guy in the black tee-shirt in the dune buggy is, we would get down to the nitty gritty about where this dune buggy came from and how it ended up.

Hey guys, if anyone knows the disposition of this dune buggy please let us know!

It's important to Nelson and others. Please let us know what you all know, if anything.


katie8753 said...

Beauders, he would still be working on cars, if he even knows how to do that. He might be digging ditches. If he's not too wormy! HA HA.

katie8753 said...

Or I guess he could mow lawns, if he knows how to start a lawn mower.

katie8753 said...

It's gotta suck to know that your Daddy killed an innocent guy on your birthday. And your Daddy's in prison for the rest of his life, and you don't even have a Daddy because he's behind bars and he's never getting out. And all he cares about is playing guitar and drawing naughty pics of children.

Man, that's gotta suck!

beauders said...

Not only killed on your birthday but the actual date of birth. Beausoleil is in prison here in Oregon and I'm proud to pay taxes that keep him there. Also one of Nancy Pitman's boys is in our state pen and is he scary looking. Pitman may have left the Aryan Brotherhood but her boys are still involved.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thank You Heather, for the information.

If that's really Nikolas Schreck in those photos (and I'll take your word on it), then it's safe to assume the buggy IS a bonafide "Manson family heirloom"... because Schreck is all about anything "Manson-related".

If Schreck was physically IN the buggy in 1987, at a minimum, he must know where it was parked.
And who knows, maybe Schreck knows even more about it... (like where it ended-up, etc).

I'm going to contact Brian Davis.
I'm pretty sure Brian speaks to Schreck occasionally.

Maybe Brian can contact Schreck for us, and ask him about the dune buggy photos, etc.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Schreck probably knows who owned the vehicle in 1987, as well.

If we found an "owner" to the vehicle, we might be able to find a DMV "paper trail".
Do these buggies have VIN numbers?

If nothing else, it would be fun to hear Schreck's story about how he ended-up in the vehicle.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Jeez Nelson...

I'm starting to get excited about this whole search myself! LOL

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I'm still awaiting Brian's reply.
Evidently, he takes his summer breaks very seriously. LOL (I can't say, that I blame him).

In the meantime, I've posted another interesting thread.
If/when I get more information about this buggy, I'll post it.

If I don't hear from Brian by next week, I'll attempt to contact Schreck myself.