Old School Cool, New School Tech
Text by Cody Hooper, Photos by Jon Crowley
When Rugged Radios President Greg Cottrell was growing up, VW bugs were the epitome of cool. As perhaps the most versatile car ever built, Volkswagens Beetle was the middle ground between socioeconomic classes. From Hippy to Desert Rat, everyone had a VW.
Greg has kept his old school roots intact through the years, but he has also been bitten by the UTV bug. As the proud owner of a turbocharged 4 seat RZR 1000, he leads a crew of talented communications specialists that love to get out and enjoy the dirt and sand.
Baja RZR at DuneFest 2016
Earlier this year, Greg called us with a secret. He was planning on building something that hadnt been done before: a RZR 1000 chassis with a full Volkswagen body on it. After assembling his parts list, Greg bought a brand new 2015 RZR XP 1000 and set off to work.
The car was housed at NV Fab in Oceano, California for most of its early life. NV Fab and Rugged Radios are both located in the town of Oceano, which is most famous for its sand dune recreation are, Pismo Dunes. Its currently the only beach in California that you are allowed to drive on- if youve got 4 wheel drive (or lots of courage), you can pull your rig right onto the sand and camp with the waves at your back.
With the car stripped, a fiberglass VW Beetle front clip was purchased and set atop the RZR frame. An incredible 4 month build process ended with a conversion that, from the front, looks unmistakably Volkswagen. At its completion, the car fooled many onlookers, and questions such as what engine did you put in that Class 5 car? had Greg chuckling.
The frame had to be modified slightly to maintain the VWs proportions, moving the A pillar and door bars to complete the look. Custom molded aluminum door panels protect some stellar PRP seats, done up with Mexican blanket fabric that harks back to the VWs desert haydays. Luckily, the proportions of the Beetle are very close to a 2 seat RZR, which allowed NV Fab and Rugged to produce a very believable conversion.
Ruggeds full suite of products grace the interior, featuring dual MAC1 fresh air pumps, an RRP6100 Race Intercom with 50 Watt car to car radio, and a full Rockford Fosgate stereo system, powered by Ruggeds WM1 Bluetooth interface.
KC Hilites provided some retro-look lighting, infused with modern day LED technology. The dash is a modified factory VW fiberglass piece, with wiring done by Positive Rides Travis and Kyler Jecker. Highlights such as a chrome 3-spoke steering wheel and 8 ball shifter scream Bug!
HCRs boxed steel arm long travel kit was used to extend the wheels out and garner some more travel. The kit is extremely strong and well-designed, and coupled with the Fullerton Sand Sports wheels and tires, it pushes the track width to a wide 76 inches. King 2.5 internal bypass shocks with finned remote reservoirs handle the bump absorption at all four corners, allowing this bug to ride better than anything to come off VWs assembly line.
The stock Polaris 999cc parallel twin engine is fitted with a Boondocker turbo system and a Gibson exhaust, bumping power output to 175 hp. Considering a stock VW 1600cc four cylinder made 58 horsepower from the factory. It weighed about the same as this RZR, so you can imagine the acceleration with triple the power!
This car is Gregs baby, showcasing his ability to think outside the box. At the recent Sand Sports Super Show in Costa Mesa, California, the Baja RZR stole the show, dropping jaws for three straight days. It really is a cool piece, one that we would love to have in our own stable. The best part? Greg actually goes out and drives the thing- because what good is owning a show car if you cant enjoy it?
2015 Polaris RZR (nickname Baja RZR)
- Fab shop: NV Fab (Nick Valentine) in Oceano, California
- How long did it take to build?: 4 Months
- Date completed: just prior to Sand Sports Super Show
- Frame (brand/type): 2015 Polaris RZR
- Fiberglass front clip with molded aluminum door panels
- Mods done by: NV Fab, Oceano CA
- Paint: Crocketts Premier Auto Body, Arroyo Grande, CA
- Wrap: Linson Signs, San Luis Obispo, CA
- Brand, style and size of wheels:
- Fullerton Sand Sports custom white aluminum wheels withDesert Trak Custom grooved Sport Tires
- Wheelbase: 93 Inches
- Track Width: 76 Inches
- Make: Polaris 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
- Displacement: 999cc
- Year: 2015
- Induction Type: Boondocker Turbo
- Headers/mufflers: Gibson Exhaust
- Engine build-up/modifications done by: Boondocker
- City/State: Idaho Falls, Idaho
- Dyno/estimated horsepower: 175hp
- Axles: Summers Brothers Axle Shafts
- KC HiLiTES
- Custom Stitched PRP Racing Mexican Blanket Seats
- Dash: Modified Factory VW fiberglass Dash
- Wiring: Positive Ride Travis and Kyler Jecker
- Rugged Radios RRP6100 Race Intercom System with 50 Watt Radio.
- Rockford Fosgate Speakers with Rugged Radios WM1 Bluetooth
- 4 Point PRP 2.5 Harnesses
- Fresh air system: Rugged Radios Dual MAC1 Carbon Fiber Air Pumper System
- Front Suspension: HCR Long Travel Suspension
- Rear Suspension: HCR Long Travel Suspension
- Front shocks(brand/type): 14 KING 2.5 Internal Bypass Shocks with Remote Reservoirs and finned reservoirs
- Front springs: KING
- Rear shocks (brand/type): 14 KING 2.5 Internal Bypass Shocks with Remote Reservoirs and finned reservoirs
- Rear springs (brand/type): KING
For more information on Rugged Radios and their other Race Products, check out www.RuggedRadios.com or call (888) 541-7223.