Volkswagen has announced that it is bringing back the beach buggy.
Despite never being built by VW, the beach buggy is synonymous with the brand thanks to the wide use of Beetle chassis and running gear by car modifiers from the 1960s to today.
Now the German firm has released the first images of a new all-electric buggy designed and built in-house at Wolfsburg.
Set to be unveiled to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the new buggy concept proudly carries an illuminated VW badge and is based on the firm’s all-electric MEB platform.
The concept images show that the new buggy is clearly inspired by the iconic Meyers Manx buggies, which helped start the craze for VW-based dune bashers.
Like the Manx, the concept has no roof or doors, flared wheel arches, a roll bar, open side sills and chunky off-road tyres. Its round headlights also hint at the Manx’s circular bug-eye units.
Unlike the Manx and its many copycats, the 21st buggy is a zero-emissions vehicle running on the same battery EV platform as the upcoming ID hatchback.
The VW buggy is clearly influenced by the original Meyers Manx. Picture: Meyers Manx
Technical details are thin on the ground but VW emphasise that the buggy reflects the flexible nature of the MEB platform and the ability to create low-volume models thanks to the simple “skateboard” chassis design.
That hints that, if there’s enough demand, VW would be able to put the buggy into production.
The buggy isn’t the first historically inspired electric VW. The forthcoming ID Buzz draws heavily on the original splitscreen vans produced by VW in the 1950s and 60s.
Klaus Bischoff, head designer at Volkswagen, commented: “A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels. These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create.”
The ID Buzz also draws its inspiration from classic VWs of the 1950s and 60s.