Back in the 1960s when VW Beetles were everywhere, they became the automotive raw material for artists and designers who wanted to build something new and unique, converting them into all sorts of machines never imagined by the German factory. The dune buggy and kit car phenomenon got its start with fiberglass body kits designed to be bolted onto the bare VW chassis, but Doug Allenthorpe came up with something different, he removed all of the bodywork from the windshield back and built an RV conversion in its place. His creation was called the “Lil Bugger.”
The unit is built over a wooden frame and with everything installed it adds about 300 pounds to the vehicle weight. Performance is said to be about the same as a stock VW Beetle. The suspension is beefed up and larger wheels and tires are added resulting in adequate, though not exactly sporty, handling.
The interior is very well thought out, a requirement with anything this compact, including a stove, sink, refrigerator, dining table and beds that supposedly sleep two to four, though I’m guessing two would be the norm.
The Lil Bugger was the machine seen by Robert Q. Riley, who purchased the rights from Allenthorpe to sell plans for it under the name of the VW Minihome. Of course, selling those rights impacted Allenthorpe’s original business, so he later designed the Super Bugger, a slightly larger unit with even better use of space which he sold as a complete unit ready to go or as a kit you could build yourself.
The unit here has been owned for the last 25 years by the same fellow and he believes it’s the only one for sale anywhere. It’s rare to see one of these for sale at anytime and this one looks to be in really nice shape. RVs are in high demand right now and if you had this “Lil Bugger,” you would be the center of attention parked in any RV campground or even a local car show.
No one cuts up old Beetles these days, those cars are classics in their own right, but if you have ever thought of a mini RV, here’s one already built and no old Beetles need to be sacrificed. It’s for sale on eBay.