VW Dune Buggy Seats: Find the Perfect Seats For Your Buggy

VW Dune Buggy Seats

Taking your custom VW dune buggy build to the next level requires paying special attention to details like selecting the perfect seats. After all, you’ll be sitting in them every time you take your badass buggy out to play in the sand and put it through its paces, so comfort is key. But dune buggy seats also need to keep you safe while bouncing through off-road terrain at speed.

So how do you choose the right seat for your application? What types of dune buggy seats are available and what features should you look for? Let’s dig in…

Do Dune Buggy Seat Selection Really Matter That Much?

When envisioning your dream VW dune buggy build, it’s easy to obsess over the exterior – the gleaming paint, beefy tires, custom fenders and tube chassis. But much like a house, the interior comforts make a big impact on the enjoyment of your ride.

The seats you select will literally support your adventures, so they deserve careful consideration. Dune buggy seats need to keep you planted and comfortable while bounding through challenging off-road conditions. An ill-fitting or improperly mounted seat could potentially lead to back pain and fatigue. Or worse, become a safety issue.

So yes, your dune buggy seats are a critical component. But with so many styles and options available from various manufacturers, how do you know where to start?

The key factors to evaluate are:

  • Vehicle application – Will the seats fit your chassis and intended use case?
  • Comfort – Suspension, support and adjustability are huge for long days in the dunes.
  • Safety – Proper harness mounts and bracing can be a life-saver.
  • Cost – Buckets to suspension seats cover a wide range, and customization adds up.
  • Aesthetics – Make sure your seats match the style and vibe of your buggy.

This article will explore the most popular styles of VW dune buggy seats and top options in each category. We’ll also cover key considerations for fitment, customization, and installation so you can make an informed decision for your build. Let’s get started!

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Fiberglass Bucket Seats – The Classic Dune Buggy Seat Solution

When picturing a vintage dune buggy cruising along the beach, most likely it has a set of fiberglass bucket seats up front. Names like Chirco, EMPI and other manufacturers have been producing these lightweight and durable dune buggy seats for decades.

Fiberglass bucket seats offer many benefits:

  • Low cost – Typically the most budget-friendly seat option starting around $250-$300 each.
  • Lightweight – Fiberglass construction keeps weight down which is ideal for handling.
  • Color options – Available in black, grey and sometimes other colors to match your buggy.
  • Customizable – You can add custom upholstery, logos and other accessories.
  • Universal fit – Made to fit most dune buggies, sand rails and kit cars.

Within fiberglass seats you’ll see different styles and options:

  • Low back – Less material for maximum weight savings.
  • High back – More support and headrest, but slightly heavier.
  • Bench configuration – For 2, 3 or 4 across seating.

Overall, it’s hard to beat the price and versatility of fiberglass bucket seats for a dune buggy. Major brands to look for include:

Chirco Seats

Chirco is probably the most trusted name when it comes to fiberglass seats. Their standard low back and high back buckets are affordable starting around $250. They also offer a cool retro “Interceptor” seat modeled after the 1960’s dune buggy classic.

EMPI Dune Buggy Seats

Another old school manufacturer, EMPI offers their 96 series fiberglass seats in low, mid and high back styles. You can also get EMPI seats in black or grey.

Cool Customization Options

The benefit of fiberglass dune buggy seats is you aren’t stuck with a basic black bucket. You can add custom upholstery, racing harnesses, logo embroidery and more. Check out Great Plains Upholstery for ideas.

So if you want some classic, lightweight and affordable buggy seats, basic fiberglass buckets are a great place to start.

Suspension Seats – Premium Comfort And Support

As dune buggy builds become more custom, you see more upgraded seats that focus on comfort, support, and adjustability. This is where suspension seats shine.

Suspension seats feature special dampening systems underneath the upholstery. This allows the seat to soak up bumps and vibration from rough terrain. Brands like PRP and Beard offer different configurations:

  • Complete suspension – Full travel suspension built into the entire seat.
  • Adjustable lumbar – Allows you to customize back support.
  • Shock absorbing – Uses shocks to dampen just the key pressure points.

This suspension technology makes a huge difference reducing back fatigue on long runs. Although shock absorption comes at a price – expect to spend $500–$1,000 per seat.

Popular Suspension Seat Brands

PRP is probably the most well known manufacturer specializing in suspension seats for UTVs, rock crawlers and off-road vehicles. Their RSX XL and RGModel are great options for dune buggies priced around $500-$600.

Beard is another top brand that got its start in drag racing. Their Orthopedic Full Suspension seats offer 4″ of dampening travel and are more in the $1200+ range.

Traditional Bench Seats

Bench-style seats harken back to the origins of dune buggies converted from old air-cooled VWs. Today you can still find new bench seats to fit in the front of your buggy.

Bench seats offer a few advantages:

  • Nostalgic styling – Perfect for an old school build.
  • Spacious – Allow more room for driver and passenger.
  • Budget price – Run $200-$300 for a complete front bench.

Downsides tend to be less individualized comfort and limited mounting options for harnesses. But for the right vintage build, benches exude character.

EMPI and other companies sell new bench seats made of vinyl or tweed. You can also find used original VW bus benches and recover them.

When paired with grab handles and lap belts, bench buggy seats provide an old school vibe. But make sure to add harness bars or equipment for upgrading to proper off-road racing restraints.

Key Factors When Selecting Your Dune Buggy Seats

Beyond just personal preference on styles, there are some important factors to evaluate when selecting seats for your custom dune buggy:

Vehicle Application

Will the seats physically fit into the size and space available in your buggy’s tub? Measure twice to ensure. And consider the chassis style and intended use:

  • Sand rails – Typically have room for race buckets or bench seats.
  • Baja bugs – Might require narrower seats to fit between wheel wells.
  • Manx buggy – Can accommodate wider buckets since the fenders flare out.
  • Rock crawler -Look for seats with containment wings to keep you planted.

Also consider how the seats will mount – floor mounts, brackets, on sliders etc.

Comfort and Adjustments

Long days hitting the dunes require seats designed for comfort and support. Look for:

  • Lumbar support – Prevent back pain and fatigue.
  • Cushioning – Reduces pressure points especially on rough terrain.
  • Shock absorption – Suspension seats really shine here.
  • Customizability – Recline, slider and height adjustments are ideal.

Test out showroom seats when possible and consult reviews. Don’t settle for numb bum misery!

Safety Restraints

Make sure your seats can accommodate off-road racing harnesses and restraints:

  • Harness slots – Allow bolting harnesses directly to seats.
  • Harness bars – Alternate mounting point if seats lack slots.
  • Submarine belts – Prevent you from sliding out underneath harnesses.

Also consider adding helmet restraints for maximum safety, especially in open cockpit buggies.


Dune buggy seats range from budget buckets under $200 to suspension seats over $1000 or more. And custom upholstery or options add up quickly. Set a comfortable budget to avoid mid-project regret.

Also factor in the cost of mounting hardware, brackets and specialty installation tools if needed. Don’t cut corners here.

Matching Your Buggy’s Style

Consider the vibe of your whole dune buggy build and choose seats to match:

  • Vintage styling – Go with bench or fiberglass bucket seats.
  • Race ready – Look for suspension seats with harness slots.
  • Luxe interior – Upgrade with leather and contrast stitching.
  • Minimalist – Low back buckets in neutral vinyl.

Of course you can always reupholster or re-cover seats later to change the look.

Our Top Dune Buggy Seat Recommendations

Given all these factors, here are some of our specific top picks:

Best Budget Buckets

  • Chirco Low Back Fiberglass – $259 each
  • EMPI 96 Series Mid Back – $189 each

Best Bench Seats

  • EMPI 2-Place Fiberglass Bench – $289
  • PRP 2-Place Molded Upholstery – $339

Best Suspension Seats

  • PRP RSX XL – $599 each
  • Beard Suspension System – $1299 each

Shop around within your budget but look for quality and compatibility with your buggy build. Don’t just default to the cheapest or blingiest seats you see.

Customizing and Installing Your New Dune Buggy Seats

Once you’ve selected the perfect seats for your dune buggy, you’ll likely want to customize and install them properly. Here are some quick tips:

  • Upholstery – Add custom colors, patterns and materials like leather or suede.
  • Logos – Get an embroidered logo for personalization.
  • Mounting brackets – Weld or bolt seats securely to the chassis.
  • Sliders – Allow front-back adjustability.
  • Harness slots – Cut slots in fiberglass to attach belts directly.

We recommend having a professional shop install seats to ensure they are braced and mounted correctly. This is not where you want to cut corners.

Be sure to break in new seats and restraints slowly. Get a feel for how your body settles into the contours. Finding the right driving position dramatically impacts comfort and control.

Still Have Questions? Common Dune Buggy Seat FAQs

How much do dune buggy seats cost?

Budget fiberglass buckets start around $150-200 each. High-end suspension seats run $600 on up. Custom parts and upholstery add to costs quickly.

What is the most comfortable dune buggy seat?

Full suspension seats with ample cushioning and lumbar support will provide the most comfortable long-distance ride. Brands like PRP and Beard offer great options.

Can you put car seats in a dune buggy?

We don’t recommend using factory car seats in a dune buggy. They lack the proper bracing and harness slots for safety. Choose purpose-built off-road buggy seats instead.

How do you mount dune buggy seats?

Seats usually mount directly to the floor or chassis with bolts and brackets. A professional shop can ensure your seats are reinforced and mounted properly.

Do I need harness belts with dune buggy seats?

For safety, yes – you need at minimum 4-point harnesses with antisubmarine belts. Even better is a 5- or 6-point harness setup anchored securely.

Choosing the Perfect Dune Buggy Seats

Finding the right seat for your VW dune buggy build takes research and planning. But choosing compatible and comfortable seats is an important investment that will literally support hours of off-road fun.

Fiberglass buckets provide classic style and great value. Or you can upgrade to plush suspension seats for premium comfort and support. There are also options like bench seats that exude vintage character.

Just be sure to match your seats to the buggy’s intended use. And don’t overlook critical factors like safety restraints, proper mounting and adjustability. Finding the perfect balance of form and function takes work.

But with the right dune buggy seats, you’ll have the ideal platform to take on epic sand dune adventures for years to come!

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