Volkswagen time-travels to '70s to revisit Busse All-Terrain Wagon

Volkswagen time-travels to '70s to revisit Busse All-Terrain Wagon

MANILA: In a release, Volkswagen looked back on the Busse All-Terrain Wagon, an amphibious all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that was powered by the German carmaker’s three-speed, semi-automatic gearbox and torque converter.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What powered the Busse All-Terrain Wagon?

    The Busse All-Terrain Wagon was powered by the Volkswagen Beetle’s 1.6-liter, 55hp air-cooled flat-four engine. It was also equipped with Volkswagen's three-speed, semi-automatic gearbox and torque converter.
  • Are there still any Busse units that exist today?

    Only a few Volkswagen-powered Busse ATVs are still in existence, but its spirit lives on in six-wheel ATVs and side-by-side models.
  • In 1959, a Canadian inventor created the first ATV, which was powered by two chainsaw engines. The ATV had six wheels with low-pressure balloon tires that provided traction and floatation to overcome any terrain. Despite the fact that it was unprofitable, the design became extremely popular and it spawned decades of ATV innovation.

    Builders and inventors from all over the country began to follow suit in the 1960s and early 1970s, creating their own 6x6 ATVs and companies. The first ATV racetrack, the Pine Lane Raceway, was built in the United States, and ATVs rose in popularity for both racing and recreational use. In August 1970, one magazine said that there were more than 60 ATV models on the market or under development, including one with a unique Volkswagen connection.

    The Busse All-Terrain Wagon, a 6x6 aluminum ATV manufactured by Busse SJI Corp., was unique among ATVs at the time. Although most cars were equipped with small two-stroke engines, the Busse was powered by the Volkswagen Beetle’s 1.6-liter, 55hp air-cooled flat-four engine.

    Busse All-Terrain Wagon (Photo from Volkswagen)

    With an aluminum body instead of conventional fiberglass and a payload rating of 1,500 lbs. the Busse was “a tank among toys” by ATV standards. The Busse, which was 126 inches long and 65 inches wide, was equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, 26x12-inch tires, and could muster top speeds of 28mph on land and 10mph on water, and the capacity to climb 45-degree slopes. Owners could also choose to install snow tracks if needed.

    With all of its features, the Busse retailed for US$4,875, significantly higher than the price of other ATVs at the time. The Busse was built in Wisconsin, USA, and was marketed worldwide as a prospective military vehicle. However, no contract was ever signed and the vehicle’s high cost limited manufacturing. Only a few Volkswagen-powered Busse ATVs are still in existence, but its spirit lives on in six-wheel ATCs and side-by-side models for those who still want to somewhere.

    Photos from Volkswagen

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