Rick’s baja bug started out as a 1966 VW Bug. The car was then built by Brian McMasters at Master Fabrication in 2013. The car was originally built as a prerunner or as Brian says, “An ice chest on wheels”. The car was completed by the end of 2014 and Brian and his team preran the Freedom 250 race in California. The car did so well that they decided to enter the baja bug in sportsman class in the 2015 race. Brian and his team ended up winning the 2015 Freedom 250 placing first in his class.
Shortly after the race, Rick DeWesse (@DuneWhore) was looking for a baja bug and stumbled upon Ryan’s car. Rick purchased the car from Brian with big ideas in mind. He was going to totally revamp the already capable and race proven baja bug.
First thing he did was take the baja bug over to Buckshot Racing where the entire back half of the car was cut off. A Weddle HV-1 trans-axle was installed to transfer the power from the new Honda 3.5L V-Tec V6 engine. Rick knew that this new power plant would be the perfect upgrade to liven up the baja bug.
The back half was then built around the new engine and trans-axle by Buckshot Racing. A CBR Performance radiator was mounted flat behind the engine. To enclose the cab, sheet metal was pecicely cut and bent to wrap around the motor and seal the cab from the elements and give the car a finished look.
Rick built his own aluminum paneling to enclose the radiator and upper engine so it flowed into the car and kept the body lines matching throughout.
A custom exhaust was fabricated out of stainless steel using a Gibson Exhaust muffler and tying in a dual exit exhaust.
The suspension is all Fodrill arms, rear and front, which are all TIG welded and chromoly. The car is also completely caged, and ties the whole vehicle together, front to back. The bug even still has a roll pan. Everything inside was then powder coated, then taped off and painted, then taped off again, and the floor was Linex coated inside and out.
The lighting on the Baja is absolutely top notch. It features six KC HiLites carbon fiber HID 70W pods to turn night into day. KC HiLites also built custom headlights that are DOT approved so Rick can drive at night without blinding people with off-road lights. The interior utilizes KC HiLites Cyclone lights to light up the cab and give it a cool look.
On the inside of the baja bug, there is a 7″ touch screen Lawrence GPS system, bluetooth PCI race radios, intercom system, car to car communication, and a Kenwood receiver. Rick’s car also uses Parker pumpers to pumps fresh, filtered air into the helmets when off-roading. Rick’s always on his phone keeping up with social media and working in the off-road industry, so he keeps his phone safely mounted in the bug with a Mob Armor mount.
Rick enjoys going on off-road events with the Expedition X Offroad and Dirt Alliance crew. He took the car on its maiden voyage with the Expedition X Offroad crew on a 600 mile run from Carson City, NV to Tahoe, and back. Since the bug is California street legal, Rick loves to bomb it down PCH highway on the beach. The car just came back from Pismo Beach, CA where he thrashed on it with the Dirt Alliance crew for their upcoming film called “Revival”. I will be co-driver in Rick’s baja bug in the Expedition X Offroad baja event, so be on the look out for awesome content as I will be navigating him though the harsh baja terrain.