Building a Buggy to Meet SVA Legislation

Once you have selected your donor car you will need to strip it down, shorten the chassis and build the car up to meet and pass an SVA test The guide that follows is for the earlier style front beam axled beetle models.

Stripping Down Your Donor Car

The first thing to do is get the beetle up on axle stands, place the first pair under the front beam as near to the wheel hubs as possible. then place your second pair of axle stands underneath the rear spring bracket mounting (to the frame head) and remove the wheels.

Grab a haynes manual and follow the procedures for the following:

Then remove everything from the chassis so you are left with this:

Parts to be Saved

All the parts which you took off the chassis, steering column(complete with nuts,bolts and washers), speedo, wipers and box, rear lights, brake fluid reservior, indicators, number plates( its a lot of hassle trying to buy plates these days!),all dash switches.

We recommend you fit a new wiring loom.

Shortening the Chassis (SWB Bugle)

The most economic way to shorten the chassis is to have it done professionally. You can do it yourself but it is a lot easier to have someone do it for you. The floor pans should be replaced at this time unless you are lucky to find a donor vehicle with a good condition floor (new pans are about £65 from GSF Car Parts).

These parts have to be shortened too:

All the above need shortening by 12 inches.

T4 Bugle2 Build - you can build a beach buggy in seven weeks

The T4 Bugle2 was built in just seven weeks with production commencing the second weekend of April 2005 after Tony Armstrong received a call from Channel 4's T4 production team asking for a buggy for the show. The show was week eight after the build started and due to the time constraints some elements of the work had to be subcontracted.

The chassis was taken to Flatlands Engineering for shortening and DA Mouldings in Essex were sub contracted to make the bodyshell in 10oz fibreglass layup. SSP were contacted to supply the wheels and running gear spares and local welder Ryan Minister fabricated strengthening plates for the steering mounts and made rollbar alterations. Michael Russ, local auto-electrician made a new wiring loom.

Weekly Build Summary

The Single Vehicle Assessment (SVA) Test

What is theSVA test?

In basic terms the SVA test was introduced by the Ministry of Transport to regualte the amateir kit car builder market and its purpose is to ensure that all the home built cars made have been done so to a standard which means they are neither a danger to the driver and occupants nor to other road users and pedestrians. There are complex rules that determine whether or not a home built car needs to pass an SVA test or not. At present a short wheelbase Bugle will require an SVA test but a long wheelbase one will not. It is unclear as to why as both are effectively identical cars

How much is the SVA test?

The test itself costs £150 weekdays or £225 out of hours with retests £30 and £45 respectively. More information can be found at

Is the Bugle SVA friendly?

The Bugle buggy is more SVA-friendly than a lot of kit cars but like all cars it will not jsut sail straight through. Headlamps, fuel tank cap, and all other sharp edges are things taht will fail the SVA but these things can be easily overcome so don't despair.

VOSA publish a testing manual for the SVA test which can be purchased from the local Minsitry of Transport testing stations. It is a good investment and will guide you through to a successful SVA pass and we at Bugle are here to help too. Tony Armstrong, the Bugle buggy project owner is an MOT tester and has a full understanding of the rules and regulations which may be worded in ways that confuse the average man on the street and is always glad to help out with advice either via email through our contact form or answering questions posed on our forums.