Ten years ago I started building a rock buggy with the folks at Poly Performance, and five years later it was done. The buggy we call the Fun Buggy was a full-tube-chassis rockcrawler designed and built to be street legal. The buildup was covered in many articles in 4-Wheel & Off-Road over the years (I think there were more than 12 articles!). It took a long time to build because we were building a vehicle from scratch and because it was a side project among all the other magazine projects, such as the annual Ultimate Adventure truck that always takes precedent.
The tube chassis is packed with a fuel-injected 383 engine, a 700R4 transmission with reverse manual valve body, an Atlas transfer case, and front and rear steering Dynatrac ProRock 60 high-pinion axles that initially had Detroit Lockers but eventually were changed to ARB Air Lockers with portal gearboxes added. The buggy eventually went on the Ultimate Adventure itself in 2009 and was street legal and fun to wheel. The goal of making the buggy street legal was a fun challenge but something I wouldn’t recommend doing again. It’s just not worth the trouble. Yes, I can drive it on the street, but I never do. When I wheel trails hard enough to need a buggy, I like the security of a tow rig and trailer to get home just in case I smash it up. Plus, my tow rig has all my camping gear and my buggy fits only some spare tools and a cooler.
I have given the fun buggy some years of abuse. Raced it in King of the Hammers (DNF because we sheared off the output shaft of the 700R4; should have used a TH400 or 4L80E). I eventually brought it in for a refresh. The rebuild and fix-up has taken a lot longer than I planned, and the buggy is still sitting in pieces in the shop waiting to get back in the dirt. Poly Performance is still around, but the company doesn’t build many rock buggies anymore, although Drew Burroughs, the then fabricator at Poly, has moved on and started his own buggy biz known as Goatbuilt.
Until you see it on the trail again, I wanted to share a plethora of the build and wheeling photos from years past.