King Crab (modified Sand Crab)

Built by: Christian Vana in Vienna, Austria

In my youth around 1970 I was as enthusiastic as anyone about dune buggies. So I tried to get all the model kits of them I could in Austria in that time. So I had the three Revell models (Super Safari, EMPI Imp and Gipsy), the Kyote from MPC and finally by mail order, I got the Sand Crab. I was very fond of the lines, but when I opened the box I was a little disappointed about the size of the vehicle, as it's dimensions differed dramatically from the compact ones I was used to from the other buggies. It could not be the scale difference between 1:24 and 1:25 as this results in only 3% in the dimensions.

Compared with a standard VW Bug it has about the same overall length and an even longer wheelbase, not to speak about the width. So I considered from another buggy the mighty VW 1600ccm Type 3 engine a little undersized and changed it consequently against a Corvair flat six as kindly provided with any Revell dune buggy kit. But even this engine seemed to me not adequate.

So I put it aside even when I returned to model car building some of years ago, until the Show Rod Rally's Guest Gallery convinced me what a treasure I had. Under the influence of the Sand Crab web page, I decided to develop it into an enhanced show rod. This of course deserved a big engine--at best a V8. But the water-cooled American V8s seemed a little heavy for rear engine installation. With the VW relation it should also be air cooled. So the Czech Tatra V8 from the types Tatraplan and 87 was a naturally option. With its double blowers for air ventilation and 4 double carburetors it had also the potential for a dramatic show rod appearance. As there was no model of this engine, I built it from scratch using drawings and photos.

I adapted the body in the rear for the engine and changed the lines of the rear wheelhouses  a little more to the appearance on the box to retain the Tom Daniel penned lines. The glass roof and the headrests where gone for this project, but I like the purity of the appearance now without them. But perhaps something will change in the future, when I find a good way to substitute the roof, as show rod in reality also did some times.

So Sand Crab turned into King Crab.

ps. I included some shots of my other dune buggies and related vehicles posed with the King Crab!

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