Have you even been somewhere where you can find sand dunes, and dune buggies? Somewhere where the buggies are allowed to drive on the dunes? And have you ever sat there thinking to yourself wow, that looks hot?
Well it is. Owning a dune buggy is one of the cheapest and best ways to get into motorsport. And a sandrail dune buggy is the buggy you need if you’re serious about getting into sand dune driving.
A sandrail buggy is a specific type of dune buggy. There are, in fact, a number of different types of buggy, and a number of different places where you can drive a buggy.
For example there are street legal buggies, you may well have seen them, and even some offroad buggies are built to be street legal just so that the owners can drive them to where they want to go, rather than trailer them. And show off their buggy a bit on the way as well of course, because they do draw some attention.
And then there are offroad buggies that are specifically designed for dirt driving, For steep tracks, for mud, for offroad fun. And these buggies are different to the street legal buggies, and are also different to the sand dune buggies that are specifically designed for sand dune driving.
These are the sandrails. What is a sandrail? Or, as it can be called sometimes, a sandcar, or sand rail. These are dune buggies that are specifically designed for driving on sandy terrain, particularly steep sandy terrain. There are quite a number of places where it is legal to drive on the dunes, and this is where you find the sandrails.
They are extremely lightweight, with a very high power to weight ratio and They use large high flotation tires with very large treads. Both of these factors allow them to skim lightly over the surface of the sand rather than bogging down into it as a heavier vehicle, or a vehicle with narrow tires would do. But a sandrail usually has narrow front tires to allow it to bit into the sand when turning.
A sandrail has a very low center of gravity, which allows it to drive both up and across steep slopes without rolling.
All this is achieved by the use of an extremely light frame, normally made from tubular steel and a built in roll cage. There is no body to the vehicle, it is really just a frame built around a motor, and normally the motor is rear mounted, or sometimes mid mounted. Motors are usually lightweight with a good power to weight ratio, and often air cooled, sometimes original VW beetle engines, although modern sandrail dune buggies are now using more modern lightweight water cooled motors, for instance Subaru motors.
A good sandrail dune buggy isn’t cheap, but is well worth the cost. It can have around 400 horsepower for an all up weight of 1500 to 2000 pounds, depending on the construction. They perform so well on sand dunes that it isn’t rare to see one up to 10 feet in the air at the top of a dune. A sandrail is excitement epitomized.
So if you’re into motorsport, and want to get into a (relatively) cheap form of motorsport, consider a sandrail dune buggy. If you buy in the right place you can get a good one for less than you’d expect, and be on the dunes in no time.