By Jeff Bruss

Bruce Meyers, a California surfer and boat builder, introduced the first fiberglass dune buggy kits in 1964. The Meyers Manx became the buggy breed of choice and was quickly replicated by dozens of spin-off manufacturers. The DuneBuggyArchives.com notes some 50 different manufacturers of buggies spanning more than six decades.

They were deemed "buggies" because builders most often favored the rear-engined Beetle, or "Bug," chassis as a donor platform. The relatively inexpensive bodies and abundance of parts made dune buggies the original UTV – tearing up both sand and streets from California to New Jersey.

With spring around the corner, here's what we would choose to tear up the sand, or even snow with appropriate cold-weather gear.

#5

Coming in our number five slot is a buggy I’ll call Goldmember after Dr. Evil's sidekick in the third Austin Powers movie. Goldmember was a wrinkly, over-tanned villain deserving of this gold Manx-style buggy. I like a lot of what this vintage dunie has to offer: the period slot mag wheels wrapped in, what appears to be, vintage Dunlop rubber. The seller says the 1695cc air-cooled engine is souped up with cams, headers, crank and more - cool. We like the twin air-filters poking out the rear too. It’s located in Spanaway, Washington, and can be found here on Craigslist for $6,000.

#4

Following closely behind in the number four slot is Orange Crush. An original Meyers Manx finished in metal-flake orange. While it’s certainly one of the cleanest of our selections, it's also the most expensive at $10,000. This buggy still has body inspection stickers signed off on by Bruce Meyers himself, along with the original Manx badges. The seller admits it has some mechanical needs: brakes, a tune-up, etc., which shouldn't be present given the somewhat lofty asking price. The period-correct chrome bugeye headlamps, and oh-so-cool slot-mag wheels are great touches, we'll even look past the mismatched rubber on them. Find it here on Craigslist in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

#3

If I were to actually buy a dune buggy, this would be my choice. This thing is a time capsule. The red velvet, diamond-stitched seats have just the appropriate amount of grime, dust and wear. The 1970s blue over orange color scheme in matte finish (or is that "fade"?) is fiberglass perfection. All perched on top of four white steelie wheels with chrome VW hubcaps and staggered fit tires. #Love. The seller says it "needs some finishing touches," but the motor does run. My observations point to a necessary headlight alignment before night driving. Offered at only $3,500 OBO in on Craigslist in Federal Way, Washington, the price is even right.

#2

The owner calls this buggy a "survivor" from 1968. A Manx-style dune buggy, finished in metal-flake green with airbrushed murals (or decals?) on the sides. It comes with two sets of wheels and tires – an original set of 14" Superior mags with date-coded 1977 Mickey Thompson slicks, or more modern chrome American Racing Torq Thrust wheels wrapped in BFG Radial T/As. The wood steering wheel with matching wood accessory knobs, along with the surfboard rear view mirror, give this dune buggy some interior class as well. The seller claims it's ready to drive, with no apparent needs. The overall condition and appearance of this buggy make us believe it's a very fair deal at $8,500, and good enough for our number two slot overall. Find it on Craigslist in Ruther Glen, Virginia.

#1

Okay, okay, so you're thinking the number one car isn't really a dune buggy. Whatever. It's a damn good thing this baja bug is 1,100 miles away, or it would be in my garage right now. The stance, roof rack, cut fenders, BFGs and color are all perfect in my eyes. The Bug is clearly in need of some mechanical love, as it currently does not run, but comes with a full tank of gas per the seller. So when this little baby does fire off, you just drive like hell right past the gas station. Grab $4,000 and head to Norcross, Georgia, and bring this baja bug home. Heck, the tires are worth 800 bucks. Find it on Craigslist here.