Well-known for building the toughest 4-wheel drive Vanagon Syncros, and perhaps remembered for his desert-racing championships, Burl Beveridge (yes, that is his real name) is now building a name in the Volkswagen Baja Bug circles.
Known as “Burley,” his story starts in Santa Barbara, CA, where he spent most of his time in his family’ s garage. He began learning mechanics by cutting apart and piecing back together entire motorcycle chassis to build his own motorcycles. He ran many winning races with these custom-fabricated motorcycles and was the Class Champion in several classes of motocross races throughout California.
As his life progessed, he moved on to building championship desert race cars. “I started desert racing in 1983 with a VW-powered Class 9 car, ” Burley explains when asked how his love for Volkswagens began.
Many Class 10 and Class 1 desert racing wins and two Class 1 championships later, Burley is often called the “Vanagon man”, after his second business endeavor. He wanted to do something that married both of his passions together. Burley Motorsports gives him the opportunity to combine 35+ years working in the automotive industry with 25 years of off-road racing experience.
Burley, however, had become too busy to enjoy any of the fruits of his own labor. “I spend so much time building products for other people, that doing things for myself is difficult.” But in the back of his shop lurked a project just patiently waiting to be born. “I carried this rusty , old 1963 VW bug (minus the running gear) around with me from 2004 – 2007. I really wanted to build a trick-yet-vintage Baja Bug, with my own tube chassis. I just couldn’t let the idea go.” In fact, he hand cut, hand bent and welded the chassis for this project in 2009 (under another Burley company, Fabwerkz), but then he let it sit until it rusted.
“In 2013, my business was growing too quickly for the space I had in Santa Barbara. So I moved up to Redding, CA.”
In 2017, after putting all the parts through a serious cleaning, the project began in earnest with the sponsorship of Radflo Suspension Technology to have it placed in the Las Vegas 2017 SEMA Show. “It is a state-of-the-art 1993-vintage, Class 5 Street-Legal Baja Prerunner, built on a Fabwerkz full-tube chassis. It has today’s state-of-the-art 2 1/2” x 12” dual-rate Radflo coilover shocks with remote reservoirs providing 16” of wheel travel for the front suspension. In the rear we put a 9.5” wider torsion housing, 3 x 3 trailing arms Sway Away 29 mm x 29.5 ” torsion bars providing 18” of wheel travel with Radflo custom-made Triple bypass 2.5” x 14” rear-suspension system. And it is all street-legal! ”
Sporting a tough-looking black and white grunge wrap, this prerunner-style Baja Bug is a beast to behold! It towers over other Baja Bugs at all the events. Having debuted at SEMA in 2017, Burley has gone on to win awards with his once relegated-to-the-back-of-the-garage project. He enjoys taking this beast to charity events as well. “It is important to for me to give back when I can. The Volkswagen community has been very warm to me. So I try to spread the love! ”
What is Burley’ s next big build?“ I want to build a Baja Bug out of the 2005 body-style Beetle for SEMA 2019! Possibly electric? I already have the shell sitting in the back of the shop… ”
And so life for another Volkswagen enthusiast moves forward. Maybe now, Burley will be known as the “Baja Bug guy”!
From the Hot VW Spec Sheet
Awards / Media:
SEMA Shows 2017 & 2018
Bleepin’ Jeep – Coolest Cars of SEMA 2017
Instagram – Best Bajas of Instagram
Bug-O-Rama 2018 – Coolest Off-Road Car
Bug-O-Rama 2019 – Promoter’s Choice (Best of Show)
Kool April Nites 2018 – Best Baja Bug Wolfgang International Show and
Hot Rods ’n Chili 2018- 1st Place Best Volkswagen
Coolin’ It in the Redwoods 2019 – Best Off Road and Best Dunner/Baja or Manx
Model: 1963 Beetle
Owner / Builder: Burl Beveridge
Chassis: Full Tube-chassis by Burley Motorsports dba Fabwerkz
Material: 1.5” 1018 dom tubing
Front suspension: Beam-type King and Link Pin (custom-made by Fabwerkz)
Beam: 8” wider , 2” diamter
Spindles: Wright Combo Spindles
Trailing Arms: Fabwerkz 4” x 2”
Shocks: Radlfo Suspension T echnology
Steering: Wright Rack and Pinion with Char-lynn Power Steering