Back in early May, 1969, I (Dave Ahl) bought a well-used VW bug from Al Kuehn, my boss at Market Science Associates, with the idea of turning it into a dune buggy. I had done a fair amount of engine work in my teen years, but this was my first major project. I got a neat book by mail, "Building Your VW-Based Dune Buggy" that was actually 98 pages of typed instructions and photos self-published by Peter Ezzell and John Quan in San Diego. First step: remove the old body. The book says, "while four men can handle the body, it is heavy and cumbersome, and the best way to remove it is..." Well, I didn't have four men available, so my friend, Dave Schmidt, and I proved that two determined men could actually do the job.
Since the engine had thrown a rod and was seized up and I had never seen a VW engine before, I got the book, "Fix Your Volkswagen" and by following the instructions managed to rebuild the engine. I got the cranksahft reground at a local machine shop in Pittsburgh, but other than that, did all the work on the floor of my musty garage.
I won't bore you with everything that had to be done, but modifying and decambering the rear suspension was a major job. A couple of aftermarket parts companies made adjustable spring arm sets but they were expensive. For about half the price of new arms, I could have gone to a shop that had one of those special protractors for making precise suspension changes. But instead I opted for the cost-free but time-consuming method that the authors simply called "trial and error." It consisted of 13 laborous steps that had to be done over and over until you got a negative camber angle of 2 degrees under load and hard cornering. Yikes!
After that, fitting the new body, installing the controls, making up wiring harnesses, and putting the whole thing together was a piece of cake (on a relative basis). Start to finish, working evenings and weekends (except for time off to go water skiing), the whole project took about two months. Not bad, eh?