Car News:  Oversteer

A Look Back at Dune Buggy Concepts from Automakers

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Atlas 4Motion SEL V6
New 2019 Volkswagen Atlas
MSRP $45,620
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen GTI SE
New 2019 Volkswagen GTI
MSRP $33,935
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
MSRP $38,575
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 4Motion
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
MSRP $29,575
RELATED READING
See all Volkswagen any articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Eric Brandt February 2019

Volkswagen has recently dropped a teaser for a new concept that will be fully unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show this March. But this teaser is no car. Rather, it appears to be an electric dune buggy akin to VW Beetle-based dune buggies of the past. Like a lot of VW concepts these days, it looks like it will have a nice blend of retro and modern styling.

Volkswagen Dune Buggy Concept

Volkswagen Dune Buggy Concept

However, I would be surprised if anything like this ever made it to production. That's because this isn't the first time we've seen a dune buggy concept from a major car company. There are several dune buggy concepts in the past that, sadly, never made it to production. I see this VW concept as a good opportunity to take a look back at the weird and wild dune buggy concepts from automakers that never came to be.

Pontiac Stinger

Pontiac Stinger

Long before the Kia Stinger hit showrooms, the 1989 Pontiac Stinger dropped as one of the raddest concepts to ever come out of General Motors -- which is saying a lot. It was a bright green dune buggy with a face disturbingly similar to the Pontiac Aztek and was packed with so many quirks and features, I think it would make Doug DeMuro's head explode.

Where to begin? It was an open-air ... car? Dune buggy? Could this thing be considered an SUV? Whatever it is, it had four seats and 4-wheel drive and it was powered by the ubiquitous Iron Duke 4-cylinder engine, which powered everything from Pontiac Fieros to mail trucks. Another mechanical quirk was active air suspension that could lift the Stinger four inches for when the sand on the beach got really soft.

A few of the features of the Pontiac Stinger include a few things that you can find in real production cars like drink coolers, a first aid kit and a flashlight -- plus other things that are much more unconventional, like multiple dust busters, seats that could turn into beach chairs, a garden hose and a picnic table. It's unlikely that the Stinger was ever intended for mass production, but it sure is cool.

Ford Splash

Ford Splash

When you think "Ford Splash," you might think of the Ford Ranger Splash, which was a 1990s Ranger variant with a flareside bed and showy exterior graphics. However, the name first appeared in the form of the 1988 Ford Splash, another American dune buggy concept from the '80s with a strong aquatic theme.

Much like the Pontiac Stinger, the Ford Splash was a 4-seat, 4WD car that's intended for driving on the beach and going surfing or scuba diving -- or whatever aquatic activity you enjoy doing -- with up to three of your friends. One big difference between the Splash and the Stinger is that it was possible to make the Splash fully enclosed to keep you out of the elements. The Splash also had an adjustable ride height based on what activity you were using it for.

The Ford Splash was designed by a group of four industrial design students commissioned by Ford to "design and build a vehicle they would like to use year-round, as well as on a summer weekend," according to HowStuffWorks. This concept didn't have an engine, but it had enough character to make up for it.

Fiat Bugster

Fiat Bugster

No, not every dune buggy concept is from the '80s. The Fiat FCC II, nicknamed the "Bugster," is an electric concept that made its debut at the Sao Paulo auto show in 2008. The sustainability theme extends not only to the electric powertrain, but to the body -- which was made from natural fibers. It also has renewable materials throughout, kind of like the BMW i3.

The Fiat Bugster was designed by Fiat's Brazil subsidiary, and it was mainly intended to be shown off in South America -- but it sure would be a fun thing for Fiat to produce and bring to the U.S. Granted, the Fiat brand is struggling in the States, and a dune buggy might not make much business sense -- but it would certainly make Fiat stand out. And if it's in the FCA family, you know what that means. Bugster SRT Hellcat, anyone?

It's not hard to see why none of these wild buggy concepts ever came close to production, but I like the ambition that all of them have. Concept cars seem to be getting more conservative and more production-like in the modern automotive era and I wish we saw more weird stuff like this at auto shows.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why the Koenigsegg Agera RS Is Worth $10 Million
I Bought the Most Unreliable BMW Ever Made
Autotrader Find: 1990 Subaru Legacy With a Landau Roof

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Atlas 4Motion SEL V6
New 2019 Volkswagen Atlas
MSRP $45,620
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen GTI SE
New 2019 Volkswagen GTI
MSRP $33,935
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
MSRP $38,575
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 4Motion
New 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan
MSRP $29,575
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
A Look Back at Dune Buggy Concepts from Automakers - Autotrader