October 22, 2017


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Lot 93: William Larzelere

Lot 93: William Larzelere

Bounty Hunter Dune Buggy

Designed 1968; completed in 1969
Body by Glass Enterprises, Burbank, California
Seats made by Solar Productions (Steve McQueen's company); design by Mel Keys; interior by Tony Nancy
Literature: Rod & Custom. July 1970, 50-51; Rod & Custom. December 1970. 25.
Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Price Realized: $36,250
Inventory Id: 26093

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Long before Roger Moore narrowly escaped two racing dune buggies commandeered by villains on a beach in the 1981 James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only," the dune buggy had emerged from Southern California and become an instant icon of an era. The dune buggy boom had already started to gain momentum in Southern California as early as 1964. In 1968, Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen raced across the dunes in "The Thomas Crown Affair," cementing the craze that had taken the Golden State entirely by storm. This was the same year that buggy enthusiast, Brian Dries, custom designed the body shell for the Bounty Hunter, named as an homage to Steve McQueen's television show, 'Wanted Dead or Alive.'

Some of the earliest rigs created in the 1950s were made from ordinary automobile frames that had the bodies removed and modified and were then equipped with the larger tires necessary for beach racing. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the hot rod racing boom in Southern California gave way to the beach racing fad that eventually snowballed into a full-on mania in the later years of that decade. The phenomenon of modification and customization inherited from the hot rod culture directly translated to the dune buggy world. Of the fully customized gems produced at this time, only a few have survived intact in all their original glory.

This particular example was so exquisitely done that it was featured in many industry publications including, Rod & Custom, Street Rod, and Manx Mania. Brian Dries designed the Bounty Hunter at his Burbank-based company, Glass Enterprises. It was subsequently fully customized inside and out by William Larzelere over the course of an entire year from 1968 to 1969. This dune buggy has been impeccably maintained and kept in original condition. The buggy features shocking, bright yellow paint and glossy black welds, an easy-access gas cap on the hood, custom upholstery, instruments by Empi, 1964 Corvette tail lights, Delco air type shocks, Ansen Sprint wheels mounted with Crager adapters, Firestone Super Sport GP wet and dry thread tires, and a very rare, sleekly slanted 1965 Renault windshield and Plexiglas spoiler. Bond and McQueen would certainly approve.

Bryan, Bud, ed. "Fiasco Buggy!" Rod & Custom, July 1970.
Bryan, Bud, ed. "Street Rod of the Year Announcement of Class Winners." Rod & Custom, December 1970.
Hale, James. "Bounty Hunter, US." The Dune Buggy Handbook, Veloce, United Kingdom, 2013.
Sparks, Nelson. "The Bounty Hunter Returns." Manx Mania, 2016.