Monday, July 10, 2017

Watch: The VW Super Bugger lives on in Canada

For the past few years, a very unique VW Beetle has been the talk of the town at some Canadian classic car shows. Naturally, this isn’t just a well restored Bug, but a Super Bugger: a camper van built on a Volkswagen platform by the “Super Campers” company from California. 
The relatively unknown vehicle was featured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine back in June 1977, when it was up for sale as a conversion kit for $6000. Super Campers used fiberglass paneling to build a small living space behind the front seats, where customers could opt between a mini-bedroom or a small kitchen.
The Super Bugger uses a 1.6L dual port engine taken from a VW bus, and promises to be able to maintain 50-55 mph (80-85 km/h) on the highway. It’s based on the 1968 chassis as this was the last year for the swing axle assembly, which made for a more solid basis for the RV conversion.

Last month, the CBC made it to Rimbey, Alberta, to interview local owners of the rare Bugger – that is now up for sale. Keith Spelrem and his wife Glenna are the proud owners of this green little monster that has been a part of their small town for more than 25 years. It was bought in Arizona by Rimbey resident Don Speer and was the star of local parades and car meets for years.
Inside the cabin of this kitchenette-version, the two front seats swivel, and a table is placed above the engine. There’s also a sink and a stove, but no refrigerator. Instead, you’ll find an ice box, made of polished metal, which doubles as a mirror.
Speer kept the Super Bugger as a personal vehicle and never put it up for sale, but when he died in 1997 the car was put up for auction and bought by the Spelrems. According to the CBC interview, in the past 20 years the Bugger has gone through 400 hours of repairs and restorations, and has been used by the family for camping – although that wasn’t necessarily a relaxing experience, as many people would wander over to get a closer look and they wouldn’t get any privacy.  
Now they’re selling the Super Bugger and hope the new owner will devote the time and love it requires. We’re not sure if it hasn’t been sold yet, but this piece of motoring history and hilarity might be yours.

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