Last Call: Risk Exposure Edition

The reason why dune vehicles were called “buggies” is lost on many people nowadays. But back when the term originated, off-road vehicles were not the sophisticated, advanced-technology rocketships they are today, but crudely designed homebuilts dreamed up over a few beers in some guy’s garage. This contraption was based on a Renault Dauphine Gordini, not the most impressively crafted vehicle in stock form. Replacing the body with “eyeball engineered” roll bars that don’t look as though they’d do much to protect the driver OR the buggy in the event of a crash just make the whole thing so very cringe-worthy. And yet, this was considered groovy fun. Did humans really not know better in the ’60s?
Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, it’s encouraged.
Image: Phil Dally via the forum

Tanshanomi is Japanese [単車のみ] for "motorcycle(s) only." Though primarily tasked with creating two-wheel oriented content for Hooniverse, Pete is a lover of all sorts of motorized vehicles.


    1. I had always heard that they taught physics to the baby boom generation, but everything from the foreground front axle to the background roll bar on the Scout 80 suggests otherwise (and shows that denim-blue was a popular color.)
      But there’s experimental physics and there’s theoretical physics, right? Live and learn… from those who died.

      1. “but everything from the foreground front axle to the background roll bar” – you mean the rope, as illustrated in the header image, right?

  1. I was able to enjoy a similar home-made vehicle when I was a kid, because my father fabricated three go-karts powered by 250-cc motorcycle engines. The driver sat to the left, and the engine was to the right, with a chain delivering power to a cog on the rear axle. The donor cycle’s foot pedal was extended to create an upright gearshift, which was easily operated with the right hand. My sister and our friends spent hours hooning around our property, and for years, Google’s satellite image displayed our worn-in dirt track.

  2. My parents had a Dauphin before I was born. Just yesterday my mother told me that the tires went flat just about every week, and my father would regularly recruit a muscular neighbor to hold up one end of the car during tire changes, to keep the jack from penetrating the rusty underside of the Renault.
    I can’t imagine that car would be any less dangerous than a dune buggy with a muffler-moly rollbar.

    1. I love those stories. The guy that built our house in 1968 mixed thousands of litres of cement on his own, building the house’s foundation, a total of 120 outdoor stairs, several hundred meters of walls (we live on a steep mountain side), a boathouse and a workshop that goes by the name of “the bunker”.
      One of the stories portraying his strengths was when he met a neighbour with a broken down motorcycle along the road. While the neighbour wondered if he could just hike home in strongman’s truck, the guy instead lifting his bike onto the truck’s loading plane. And here we’re talking about a European truck, not a pickup. I guess I’d have lost an arm-wrestling competition even if I put my entire self in it…

      1. My Grandfather was one of those “strongmen” (so why didn’t that gene pass down to me?)
        When he had his garage, he’d pull and replace 3 speed transmissions by hand – he’d put the tranny on his chest, slide under the car on a creeper, hoist it up with one hand and put the bolts in with the other.

        1. My grandfather was also like this. He was retired by the time I was old enough to remember, but I heard so many stories of his working life.
          He owned a grocery and bakery distribution and supply company. They sold flour in 100lb bags and when they’d unload them off the box cars the other guys would toss them down to my grandfather who would stack them in the stake bed truck.
          During bakery deliveries, he’d regularly hoist two 100lb bags, one on each shoulder, and carry them into the shop. They bet him that he couldn’t do three, so he hoisted his normal two up on his shoulders and the guys placed a third sideways on top over his head and he carried all three into the shop.
          Earlier this year, the Toledo Blade happened to publish this article around a vintage picture which happened to feature my grandfather and two of his employees in 1947. He’s in the suit.

        2. One of my mates told me about a little Italian guy, not much over 5 foot tall who won a strongman contest at the local show by lifting a 205L (55 USgall) drum of oil onto the back of a truck, as in loading dock height of about 4 feet.

      1. How does one purchase a car for “less than $20”?
        I have no doubt that there are cars that trade hands for zero or very little, but it seems like the price would have been exactly twenty bucks. Or did you have a teen, a five, and a fistful of change and the seller say “close enough”?

        1. After German reunification, Trabants traded first for a case of beer, then for a sixpack, later to anyone who had had enough beer to take the keys. No even numbers.

  3. After a few more runs through the dunes, he played surf guitar through an ungrounded amplifier, then got a game of lawn darts together with the other kids. Removable-pull-tab sodas for everyone!

  4. You have no idea how much I prefer the idea that this is good clean fun to the modern notion that this is dangerous and irresponsible. We have lost much on the last few decades.

    1. I think I have a pretty good idea, as I’m in the same boat. I am, however, prepared to accept the compromise position that this is dangerous, irresponsible, and good clean fun.

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