By James Raia
The Super Bugger was the result of a wacky idea of an entrepreneurial company in Costa Mesa, California. In the mid-1970s, the outfit converted a 1970 VW Beetle into a hybrid camper it called the Super Bugger. It cost $6,000.
The rage for the strange little machine conversion didn’t last long, and not many of the hybrids in decent shape remain.
Beyond car shows and parades, the unique machines show up for sale on vintage automotive sites, including this option on eBay. The asking price is $39,900, just shy of five times what it cost new.
Super Bugger: Simple is good
Minimalism is defined. The conversion features a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, rear-mounted engine with a four-speed manual transmission and 60 horsepower.
There’s seating for four, a small sink, a two-burner stove and a dinette table. The table lowers and creates a two-person bed. A toilet and shower are missing.
The little wonder’s safety or lack of safety has been discussed since the vehicle debuted. Internet images show couples in campgrounds enjoying the outdoors with their rig in the background.
But many detractors abound. How can the vehicle find its way in any amount of inclement weather? Can it advance satisfactorily when mountain driving is required?
One keen idea for potential buyers is a similar approach to others who work on the road in their RVs.
With its simplicity, the mini camper conversion could make an ideal mobile office, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s the eBay listing: 1973 Super Bugger
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.