!!! FOUND !!!

We found our late fatherís dune buggy!

After an absence from the family for 19 years, our late father's dune buggy has come home, and is being rebuilt to its former self!

The little kid on the left is me, back in 1968.  This was the first day Pop brought his dune buggy home for us to see.  We thought it was pretty cool!  Engine here is a 352 Police Interceptor, witnessed by the generator at lower front passenger side of engine.

This is a publicity photo from 1968.  Pop is handing over a check to charity.  Engine here is a 428 passenger car engine, as witnessed by the undrilled air-injection bosses on the head and the use of an alternator.


The photo above was taken after Pop rolled the buggy at the end of the dragstrip at Moss Landing Beach.  He was uninjured, but the buggy didn't fare as well, losing its passenger header, crushing the air filter, and breaking the radiator.


The photo above is helping us get the dimensions correct.

The photo above is good for getting the widths right.

This is my late father, Bob Forgnone, standing next to his dune buggy, around 1981, before we took the engine out and sold the frame to Gary Strehlow of Salinas, the last owner I know about.  Gary sold the frame and trailer to a Salinas resident around 1986.

I had an idea of who owned the old dune buggy, but could not find the last name in the Salinas phone book.  Mike Sommer of Sand Sports Magazine was so very nice to include a note in the September/October 2001 issue of Sand Sports that told of our search for the old dune buggy.  Well, the owner of what remained of Pop's dune buggy emailed me, and we now own our late father's dune buggy again!

Here is what we have!

Front axle with new springs.  Nut behind axle not included.  This is a very lightweight English Ford unit that was actually state of the art for its time for dune buggy use in the 60's!

Rear Tires and Wheels.  The dual rear wheels are in extremely good condition, considering the years.  The tires, unfortunately, are not usable, due to their weathering.  My brother Fred has checked out the availability of implement tires, and it looks like we can still get them for about $75 each.

Front Hubs, Spindles, Steering Gear and Wheel, Gas Pedal, Turning Brakes, License Plate, Driveshaft Cover.  Very valuable items, which would be extremely hard to find again.  On the way home from picking this stuff up, I realized that the steering wheel was dirty, with the kind of grunge that dirty hands leave on things they handle... Anyhow, since the dune buggy was never used again after our father, it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I broke down crying:

This steering wheel has my late father's dirt on it.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to wash this steering wheel...

Trailer and Front Wheels, with new tires.  One of the most important parts of a dune buggy package is the trailer to get the buggy to the dunes.  Considering that it would cost quite a bit to buy or build a new trailer, getting the old trailer back was a very lucky break for us.  The tires are 155-12, which was the same size as what was on there to begin with.

I have no idea how I remembered this license plate number after 20 years.  What did I just have for lunch? Hmmmm....

They say paperwork is half the battle.  I am so very, very pleased to show you the original ownership papers for Pop's dune buggy, with his signature still intact.


My family and I would like to thank the previous owner for holding on to this little piece of history for us.  He knew Pop, and couldn't throw away these old dune buggy parts out of respect for Pop's memory.

Thanks Paul!

So, what's in the future?

Fred and are are scaling old photos of the dune buggy, and starting to scrounge for parts.  We will need to rebuild the frame, buy a transmission, bellhousing, rearend, seats, and a few other small things, but we are very happy to have what we have.  I still have the engine, so that will be easy.

Should be a fun project!


In January, 2002, we started the rebuilding of the old dune buggy.  Here is the page:

Page 2: Rebuilding Our Pop's Dune Buggy

See more of our old dune buggies!

Click here!

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