COUPLE BITTEN BY BEACH Buggy bug; Carl and Dilys have road-tested fun new kit car on 2,800-mile trip.
Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter email@example.com
FOR Carl and Dilys Steckles, life's a beach. And that's because both have been bitten by the Beach Buggy bug.
The couple recently faced their own High Dune as they put their Buggy to the test during an exacting road trip.
They travelled from their home in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, to Bilbao, Almeria, Malaga, Gibraltar and Portugal.
The 2,800-mile journey took 23 days - and the buggy passed with flying colours.
Yesterday, Carl and Dilys insisted the Beach Buggy - a fun, sunshine kit car - may have "peaked" in popularity more than 40 years ago, but there are still plenty out there.
Birmingham-based owners club, beachbuggy.info, has more than 40 members and a recent rally in Belgium was attended by 250 Beach Buggies. Sands like a roaring success.
Carl, a former car worker now running his own plumbing business, built his vehicle from scratch four years ago, buying the bodywork on eBay.
He recently added power by putting a two-litre Subaru engine in the fibre glass car.
The 50-year-old said: "I originally set aside a budget of PS1,500 but, to date, I've probably spent around PS6,000. You can pick up a buggy for anything from PS4,000 to PS15,000. "To me, the appeal is that it's something very different. The downside is that you can't park the thing without crowds gathering around, playing with the switches and even sitting in the seat. Oh, and when it rains, you get wet."
Over the years, Carl has owned four buggies, which are usually bolted on to a VW Beetle chassis. Last month's European road trip was his latest model's ultimate test-run.
"Everything went well, there were no problems," said Carl.
Dilys, 72, admitted comfort took a back seat at times. "I did find sitting in one position for eight hours at a time hard work at times," she said.
"Do I like Beach Buggies? I haven't got much choice. It's like being married to one."
Also known as Dune Buggies, the vehicles were the ultimate 1970s "wheels" for trendy young things.
And it's proved a popular big screen prop, too. Beach Buggies have featured in 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair, Bond classic For Your Eyes Only and Mel Gibson's manic Mad Max.
Closer to home, the car featured in 1973 Cliff Richard musical Take Me High, filmed in and around Birmingham.
One Birmingham member of beachbuggy.info plans an even more eye-catching journey than Carl and Dilys's journey.
He plans to visit every Victorian seaside promenade in Britain - only anti-clockwise.
Sounds like he's succumbed to pier pressure.
Do I like Beach Buggies? I haven't got much choice. It's like being married to one. DILYS STECKLES
| Carl and Dilys Steckles with their Beach Buggy