Whisper it but could there be a renaissance in the beach buggy about to happen?! They’ve never really gone away of course but we’d definitely never seen anything like the 18-month period between 1970-71 when companies such as GP Speedshop and nearly every other manufacturer were selling buggy kits like pick and mix sweets.

I remember once being enthralled as GP co-founder, John Jobber once told me about those times and how they literally couldn’t produce GP Buggy bodies fast enough. He said that as one articulated lorry carrying supplies of gelcoat, glassfibre and resin had un-loaded another one was pulling up outside.

During that short but mad period GP was doing 120 buggy kits a month. They became so snowed under that they couldn’t cope and so supplied many of their agents with a set of moulds so that they could produce bodies too.

A good idea in theory but inevitably it led to a flurry of new beach buggy manufacturers springing up with, ooh look, a buggy that looked just like a GP!

In recent years it’s been left to companies such as Doonbuggies and Flatlands Engineering to keep the flag-waving although there’s still a thriving owners scene as witnessed at Stoneleigh this year.

Talking of the National Kit Car Motor Show it also saw the re-launch of the FF range of buggies, while the fine old Volksrod marque – a magnificent fifty years old in 2017 – is about to become more proactive once more, although in theory you’ve always been able to buy a kit.

New man in charge at Volksrod is Myles Smith, who aims to mark the fiftieth by spreading the Volksrod name outside of its traditional Volkswagen scene as has been the case of late.

Currently Myles offers the Mk7 short wheelbase buggy and the long wheelbase Mk8, launched in 2010 and also plans to update the company’s website, which is well overdue for an update.

Contrary to popular belief, GP wasn’t the first UK beach buggy kit. That honour belongs to Doncaster businessman, Warren Monks, who ran a double-glazing company called, Window Change.

Having been inspired by seeing Manx buggies in American magazines, Monks launched his Volksrod in September 1967, unveiled at the St Leger horseracing meeting at Doncaster Racecourse. Monks beat the GP buggy to market by just SEVEN days!

Volksrod – and Window Change – was taken over by Hartsdale Services, run by David Taylor in 1970, although Monks’ secretary Edna Gardom was retained to run the buggy side of the business. I’ve heard it said that Taylor knew nothing of the beach buggy business when he bought the window company, but before long he was concentrating solely on Volksrod such was its success.

Gardom bought the rights to Volksrod in 1971 and ran the company until 1977 when her son, Trevor, took over.

The names John Whitworth and Stuart Hopewell have been large in Volksrod’s latter day history and despite keeping an ultra-low profile outside of the beach buggy scene introduced new variants and developments, right up to 2010’s Mk8.

Over 500 Volksrod kits have been sold in all and I think it’s good to hear that Myles plans to increase awareness of the marque once again. More on his progress as we get it.

For more information contact www.volksrod.co.uk ENDS.