By the 1980s, most new buggy builds were based on a full tube cage/frame. As the owner of Bughouse Machine in Sacramento, California, Stephen Knight could have had anything; aluminum tube frame, mid-engine, etc. That said, he went old school with his VW based build in 1988.
Per Stephen…”It was 1971, I was 16 years old and my dad allowed me to take his buggy to Pismo Beach with friends/members of the Mendocino Buggy Association. I convinced my dad’s friends to let me take buggy out for a night run. I busted over this dune that had a glow to it and I see for the first time, what I was going to build for myself some day. A row of about ten VW tunnel framed buggies parked with running lights on. It was a sight to behold. All the multi colored lights, like Christmas, lighting the dunes. Can you say COOL!”
Stephen built the buggy himself. It is based on a modified 1956 VW Beetle pan. Most of the buggy was built using a string to layout to measure everything.
Since Stephen was in the VW motor business, he figured building a big displacement engine was not a challenge so he built his “Might Mouse” 1904-cc engine to showcase the power that could be produced with smaller CC’s and still make it live.
This was a high compression engine at 12 to 1 and was equipped with many unique features including…
Oil system – Stephen had incurred clearance problem with extra sumps so he designed his one of kind full flow system to utilize a large Melling oil pump with a special bypass valve returning oil to the stock pickup rather than returning it as a spray internally. Motor held 5 1/2 quarts of oil and used a Mazda RX7 remote oil cooler, Oberg filter, and Aeroquip hose and fittings.
Cam – It has a one of a kind cam ground by Mr. Kip Farber in Louisiana. The cam is the same profile as Donnie Allison’s NASCAR Championship winning AMC Matador from back in the day . A gentleman named David Vaselnook had worked in Detroit and for the Allison’s in Huey Town on that year as chief motor guy for design and development. They had put VW lifters in the AMC block to run this wild cam profile. After winning the championship that year, NASCAR banned mushroom lifters. David called it our Pauter Grind , named after the man who had invented/ developed it and brought the design forward in Detroit originally. David call Mr. Pauter and Kip Farber to get approval to use the cam grind in Stephen’s buggy. The Pauter Grind cam hit at 2200 rpm and would run over 9000 rpm.
Stephen still has the buggy with all the original parts. All Pinky needs is a full restoration to bring the buggy back to former glory.

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Stephen Knight’s VW Rail

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