After 47 Years, Be The Second Owner Of This HAZ Buggy
Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
This is one of those vehicles that you’ll rarely see for sale, let alone at your local beach. You do have a local beach, right? If your living situation is too far on the wrong side of tropical, treating yourself to an incredibly rare one owner HAZ Buggy may not be the greatest idea. But if you’re planning on rocking this red buddy for all it’s worth on the dunes, read on.
Though taking Volkswagen Beetle mechanicals and adapting them for off-road use is a trick as old as the Type-1 Kommandeurwagen 4×4, but an American idea was to shorten the chassis, plop on a lightweight and friendly fiberglass body, and leave drive with the rear wheels. Of course it was a California invention, courtesy of the multitalented Bruce Meyers and his operation. From 1964, the “Manx” had a year-long prototype stage before being offered for production in 1965.
With how quickly they caught on, however, it’s almost as if the buyers of buggies were other companies trying to reverse-engineer things. These ranged from pretty-damn-good to horrible, but with Volkswagen Beetles seemingly everywhere, there was plenty of fuel for the fire to keep this trend hot into the ’70s. Once the rest of the world caught a glimpse of Hollywood stars in these machines, the very “California” idea of the buggy was instantly transported across borders and language barriers.
Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway blasting across the sand in the Thomas Crown Affair would have probably looked just as great if they’d been behind the wheel of a HAZ—yes, short for “Hazard”—Buggy, the first German-made off-roader based on what Manx was doing in California. HAZ got into production in 1968, and the example here is from 1969—best of all, these machines were built to a standard acceptable to the notoriously difficult TÜV, the German Technical Inspection Association.
Perhaps the most compelling thing about the buggy you see here is that it has little history to tell—it was bought new in 1969 by the current consignor, and nearly five decades later will be offered at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Monaco auction. It’s said to be highly original and features desirable period features, too—including lovely E-T Classic magnesium wheels. If you’re looking for simple thrills this summer, it’s tough to top fiberglass, an open air interior, and an unmodified Volkswagen Beetle flat-four cylinder engine out back.
~53 horsepower, 1,500-cc VW OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front torsion bar suspension, trailing arm rear suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Wheelbase: 2,364 mm
Chassis no. HAZ-0009 3875881
Engine no. 0428762