What’s it like to drive a custom built PT5 SAND BUGGY?

Over the last 30 years, I’ve been blessed to drive a lot of cars. Thousands. And doubly blessed to be driven in countless more. But being a car designer for movies, I can appreciate what goes into these vehicles on an epic scale, and like a movie, understand that it takes many people to cohesively create a rolling piece of art.

Case in point, Shawn Schauwecker’s ridiculously cool PT5 Sand Buggy — a big, blue behemoth that seriously deserves to be this week’s Ride of the Week.

Schauwecker is owner of Extreme Window Tinting, a commercial and residential window tinting company that helps keep the sun to a minimum. But when it came to his Sand Buggy, the opposite was needed. 

“I wanted to create a custom build that nobody else in the world had,” Schauwecker said. “To be able to take the buggy to car shows, off-roading in the desert as well as drive the buggy to dinner with my family since it’s street-legal. This beast truly is the best of both worlds.”

 And driving with Schauwecker up Pacific Coast Highway after Malibu Cars and Coffee, I immediately experienced that this 550 horsepower desert rocket was capable of doing far more than just rollin’ our main artery. 

The LS1 Corvette Motor 5.7L with supercharger was raw and mean, but the mods kept going. The custom builder was Playtech Racing in Anaheim, which constructed the 24-inch travel in front and 19-inch in rear, King Shocks, custom stainless steel exhaust with cutouts by DMCFab Exhaust in Azusa. A Weddle transmission HV25 five-speed, Jamar hubs and brakes. Seats, belts and window nets by Twisted Stitch. Custom body wrap by Shawn’s Extreme Window Tinting. Custom interior by Chuy’s Auto Interior in Carson, and a full-blown custom sound system by Rockford Fosgate. Crazy.

It was completed in July and has custom gull-wing doors and sounds like Godzilla when the cutouts let loose, forcing us to keep quiet with a massive smile on our faces. If you want to see it up close, watch my show on YouTube (Episode 106).

But just having been completed, Shawn and his wife Bridgette have started to head to car shows, off-roading and cruise the streets of Malibu, so be on the lookout. Malibu Cars and Coffee for sure, too. It the car where all the people are smiling.

“My dad has a one off 1930 Model A world famous car called “Rodriguez.,” Shawn said. “I wanted to build something unique that I could take in the desert but also take to car shows and showcase my car alongside my dad. Our first car show was the Sultans 25th Annual Signal Hill Car Show and we both won a trophy. There’s nothing better than having a one-of-a-kind buggy and being able to spend time with my father as we display our cars together.” 

They love driving along the coast and watching the waves and sunset and really enjoy seeing people’s reaction when the buggy drives past. I got a small piece of that just heading to Free Zuma for our photoshoot. The stares were hysterical as people pulled out their cellphones to snap away.

The 1970 Dodge Charger R/T from Fast and Furious 7 is Shawn’s favorite movie car, and with this lil’ town being Hollywood central, his Buggy fits right in and would be a perfect piece for FF9 or 10.

The point of creating a car like this (three years in the making and a $200,000 investment) is simple: to share our love of vehicles and what they bring to our lives. Happiness, travel and new adventures. I’m very grateful to Shawn and Bridgette for allowing me to tag along for a bit and giving me a gift of the daily joy. 

If you have a cool car and want to do the same, shoot me an email and let’s drive.

Watch Fireball’s automotive lifestyle reality series, Fireball Malibu Vlog at www.youtube.com/fireballtim

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