The Shark / Machette Speedster

Tony (Acavet@aol.com) wrote in for help in locating on of his favorite classics, the 1969 Shark, later re-released as the Machette Speedster. He writes,

Originally built back in 1969 and named the Shark this little body was intended to fit on a shortened bug chassis, having just a 86″ wheelbase. The article in Dune Buggies magazine says its style was influenced by the then Indianapolis race cars. Note the lack of any shock towers — this would have been one fast little machine with a Corvair motor. A great way to show off whatever motor you would be running, not to mention how easy it would be to work on.

The red car and picture with the driver are photo’s from 1969, the other two are from a brochure from the 90’s.

This was one of the first departures from the conventional buggy style body in the sixties. The nearest thing to a street legal go-kart for us big kids!

Safety was obviously not a big concern — notice how the driver’s head sticks above all portions of the car. Back then seat belts were not a big thing… I guess the thought was better to be thrown clear than stay with the car.

The car made a brief but unsuccessful reappearance in the 1990’s as the Machette Speedster. I missed an opportunity to buy one at that time and have been kicking myself ever since. Several years ago the molds for this car showed up on Thesamba for sale at a very reasonable price. Short on money at the time I missed my opportunity to own one of these again.

If any readers have one of these they would like to sell or know where one is regardless of condition please contact me. I would also be interested in the molds if they still exist too.

42 Responses

  1. dennis kaz says:

    IF IAM NOT MISTAKEN THE GUY WHO DID THE STERLING BODY OUT OF THE NORTHWEST HAS THE MOLDS —DENNIS

  2. dennis kaz says:

    IF IAM NOT MISTAKEN THE GUY WHO DID THE STERLING BODY OUT OF THE NORTHWEST HAS THE MOLDS —DENNIS

  3. I’ll drop him a line and find out!

  4. I’ll drop him a line and find out!

  5. Bats says:

    Pretty cool!
    Los of buggy stuff goes thru thesamba.com

  6. Bats says:

    Pretty cool!
    Los of buggy stuff goes thru thesamba.com

  7. joelee says:

    Nice style buggy!

  8. joelee says:

    Nice style buggy!

  9. Tony says:

    Well so far I my research has have led to a dead end.

    I have been able thus far to find out that the Machette Speedster was built by a company called Redhead Roadster out of Oregon, the company owned by Gene Steffanson (not sure if the spelling is correct). He moved back east to Massachusetts several years ago. The person I talked to did not have a phone number for him and the address I was given is iffy.

    I will keep the word out best I can that I am looking for the molds, if anyone has any additional information please contact me directly at Acavet@aol.com

  10. Tony says:

    Well so far I my research has have led to a dead end.

    I have been able thus far to find out that the Machette Speedster was built by a company called Redhead Roadster out of Oregon, the company owned by Gene Steffanson (not sure if the spelling is correct). He moved back east to Massachusetts several years ago. The person I talked to did not have a phone number for him and the address I was given is iffy.

    I will keep the word out best I can that I am looking for the molds, if anyone has any additional information please contact me directly at Acavet@aol.com

  11. Bats says:

    When I search all of Craigslist I find many things mislabeled etc, seen Invaders called Avengers, Kelmarks called Kellisons, you get the idea,
    Do searches for “Buggy” “Dune buggy” then toss “VW and “Volkdwagen” in there with those IE “VW dune Buggy”
    Post a wanted ad on thesamba.com someone might have it just not know until they see the picture the name of it,
    Hit up Dan Melson Of melsonmotorsport.com he is in that neck of the woods and has been in the business longer than we have been playing with it as a hobby, he might know where the molds are, you might buy the molds for the price of a body shell

  12. Bats says:

    When I search all of Craigslist I find many things mislabeled etc, seen Invaders called Avengers, Kelmarks called Kellisons, you get the idea,
    Do searches for “Buggy” “Dune buggy” then toss “VW and “Volkdwagen” in there with those IE “VW dune Buggy”
    Post a wanted ad on thesamba.com someone might have it just not know until they see the picture the name of it,
    Hit up Dan Melson Of melsonmotorsport.com he is in that neck of the woods and has been in the business longer than we have been playing with it as a hobby, he might know where the molds are, you might buy the molds for the price of a body shell

  13. Kyle says:

    could this be what “the gumby car” was based on? or maby its just one of these with a few mods?

  14. Kyle says:

    could this be what “the gumby car” was based on? or maby its just one of these with a few mods?

  15. Tom says:

    The Redhead Roadster-penned instruction manual ‘book’ for the Machette is still available. I’d follow the royalty stream to find a current contact for the author 🙂

    http://www.lulu.com/content/130587

    Especially as I’d love to get a body for myself!

  16. Tom says:

    The Redhead Roadster-penned instruction manual ‘book’ for the Machette is still available. I’d follow the royalty stream to find a current contact for the author 🙂

    http://www.lulu.com/content/130587

    Especially as I’d love to get a body for myself!

  17. Tony says:

    Tom

    Thank you for the link to the Lulu web site.

    I was not familiar with it and immediately purchased the manual, unfortunately it was a very basic “how to manual” for the removal of the bug body and shortening of the pan vw pan.

    No details or references really to the Machette other than how to shorten the pan for it.

    If I do run across the molds I will certainly let it be know.

    I think the kit car industry has really gotten away from what made it popular and profitable to being with, which was the production of easy to assemble low priced kits. The market is solely dominated by the high end kits costing 10’s of thousands of dollars which take hundreds of hours of work to assemble. I wouldn’t mind bringing back some of those inexpensive kits again but then I am retired and don’t need the income to support myself.

    The search continues.

    Tony

  18. Tony says:

    Tom

    Thank you for the link to the Lulu web site.

    I was not familiar with it and immediately purchased the manual, unfortunately it was a very basic “how to manual” for the removal of the bug body and shortening of the pan vw pan.

    No details or references really to the Machette other than how to shorten the pan for it.

    If I do run across the molds I will certainly let it be know.

    I think the kit car industry has really gotten away from what made it popular and profitable to being with, which was the production of easy to assemble low priced kits. The market is solely dominated by the high end kits costing 10’s of thousands of dollars which take hundreds of hours of work to assemble. I wouldn’t mind bringing back some of those inexpensive kits again but then I am retired and don’t need the income to support myself.

    The search continues.

    Tony

  19. Tom says:

    Tony,

    Contact the ‘publisher’ of the Machette manual and see if they can get a current contact for the Redhead Roadster guy(s).

    Sorry to hear about the manual though.

    tm

  20. Tom says:

    Tony,

    Contact the ‘publisher’ of the Machette manual and see if they can get a current contact for the Redhead Roadster guy(s).

    Sorry to hear about the manual though.

    tm

  21. Bats says:

    Ok, you cant haul a friend but these are pretty cool and sorta in the vain of the buggy you dig,

    Dont know if I got the tag right for the pic???

    Depending on the way you set up the suspension you can blast the dunes or dodge some cones.

    I would love to have one of these someday

  22. Bats says:

    Ok, you cant haul a friend but these are pretty cool and sorta in the vain of the buggy you dig,

    Dont know if I got the tag right for the pic???

    Depending on the way you set up the suspension you can blast the dunes or dodge some cones.

    I would love to have one of these someday

  23. Bats says:

    I didnt get the pic tag right so here is the link,

    http://wwwkellisoncars.homestead.com/files/VEE1.JPG

  24. Bats says:

    I didnt get the pic tag right so here is the link,

    http://wwwkellisoncars.homestead.com/files/VEE1.JPG

  25. Rick says:

    sux that you’d have to trailer it everywhere, no headlights, open wheels, wouldn’t be street legal anywhere.

    Plus some moron might steal any easy to remove chromey bits, like us motorcycle riders have to deal with around here.

  26. Rick says:

    sux that you’d have to trailer it everywhere, no headlights, open wheels, wouldn’t be street legal anywhere.

    Plus some moron might steal any easy to remove chromey bits, like us motorcycle riders have to deal with around here.

  27. Bats says:

    In the form as seen on on the flyer it would not be street legal but it really wouldnt be hard to make it street legal, from time to time a modern version goes thru fleabay that is street legal,
    When I rode my VW trike daily I always feared some dolt would swipe something, I had over 100 skulls on it, cool part is it didnt even have a key just hidden switches and it was never touched, perhaps people were scared it would bite them, lol

  28. Bats says:

    In the form as seen on on the flyer it would not be street legal but it really wouldnt be hard to make it street legal, from time to time a modern version goes thru fleabay that is street legal,
    When I rode my VW trike daily I always feared some dolt would swipe something, I had over 100 skulls on it, cool part is it didnt even have a key just hidden switches and it was never touched, perhaps people were scared it would bite them, lol

  29. Gene says:

    Several years ago I sold the Machette Speedster molds to a guy in Spokane, Washington, who was building another car – I believe it was a Manta. Try contacting http://www.mantacars.com/index.html

    I built only two Machette Speedster bodies. One was sold to a guy in the southeast, as I recall. The other was being prototyped as an electric car when the business went all to hell. (Divorce. You get the idea.) I have no idea where that body ended up.

    I loved the Machette Speedster and hope one of you guys can get it into production. The tooling was very simple and quite high-quality.

  30. Tony says:

    Gene

    Thank you so much for the information, could you please email me directly at Acvet@aol.com so that I can get your email mail address.

    I will follow up on the information.

    I have some other questions for you.

  31. Tony says:

    I have received a response back from the current builder of the Manta Kit car he writes the following.

    “I have no knowledge of the Shark or Machette Speedster and only heard of it recently when I started getting emails about it.”
    David Savage

    http://www.mantacars.com

    dsavage@mantacars.com

    So lets leave the poor man alone.

    Although most people have good intentions there are a few out there that when they think there might be money to be made will take advantage of any situation if they can. I hope that I am wrong but it appears that others who may have noticed that there is an interest in the the car that I am searching for are taking the information obtained from this posting to try and use it to their advantage.

    I have amassed a large amount of information about this car from some very nice people who have been helping me to locate it.

    Please if you have information you want to share contact me directly.

    If the car ever does resurface I have little doubt that it too will be another ridiculously priced kit because the cost to buy the molds will have been driven up by a flood of people that think they can make a fortune off a car that has been on the market now twice without success.

  32. Bats says:

    I really thought I had found you one of these for you but sadly it was just a hacked to hell Empi Buggy, I will keep looking.

    David Salvage is pretty busy trying to get his new Manta cars business up and running, I am not sure if he has even sold one car as of yet, but he has always been helpful and kind when I talk to him,
    If I understand it right they build them ( Mantas ) in Canada then try to import to the states….not easy.

    While I seriously doubt anyone is silly enough to try to bring a twice failed VW based buggy back, if the value and ability of good VW pans isn’t one deterrent then the fact that if the molds did pop up molds have a life span, they might not even yield a good product and even if it did there wasnt a demand for this buggy in the first place.

    Did you happen to contact Dan Melson, Melsonmotorsports.com While I doubt he has the molds he might have some information on scoring the molds and or a body,

    Also you might hit up
    http://www.showcars-bodyparts.com/
    They are out of Canada and use all kinds of old ads for fiberglass parts and kits they claim to sell, I was a bit shy of them as like I said all the pictures I saw were other peoples stuff you know like pictures from the Motion or Ecklers defunct product catalogs but they are worth a look and perhaps a call, never know what stuff that might have access to.

  33. Lee says:

    Redhead Roadsters, owned by Gene Steffanson and his wife, was out of Waitsburg WA and is now our of business. I ran into him on the web a couple of years ago when he was trying to sell one of his molds on one of the buggy web sites..

    I had bought a Cute T body from him (in ’93) and I do still have the original sales brochures for it which includes; the Machette Speedster, the Dauphin 2 + 2and its mid-engine V6 frame. The Sterling GT, th Vokaro and the Cute T which is similar to the Berry Mini T 4. I also have the Redhead Roadster’s assembly manual.

    I can email you digital copies of what I have it you want.

  34. Well, Well, Well, The Machette Speedster….
    The molds are safe and sound here at Factory Fiberfab US,
    We have them and are going to put them back into commission this year, actually we are in the process of molding one of the bodies as we speak….
    I bought the Molds from gene a couple of years ago when we were located in Washington State, NOW, The molds and factory Fiberfab US reside in Central Oregon, we can be contacted at 541.536.0550 Anyone having questions concerning this body style or any other of our products, Please just ASK!
    Daniel Richer
    Factory Fiberfab US

  35. Bats says:

    It’s always very pleasing to me to finish a puzzle and the final piece to this one was presented to me today by Dan Richer daniel.richer@fiberfab.us many of you may know Dan from his company Fiberfab US http://www.fiberfab.us/ and his bringing back the famous Valkyrie,

    After a nice phone conversation with Dan I have learned the The Shark / Machette Speedster molds are alive and well at his shop,
    He has had the molds many years and tells me that he would be more than happy to provide a virgin body to any builders who want one,

    You can contact Dan direct daniel.richer@fiberfab.us for all the details.

    Cheers,
    P.

  36. Sergei says:

    Someone is the original Machete brochure?

  37. Sergei says:

    Someone is the original Machete brochure?

  38. keith says:

    hi,i have a machette speedster for sale if you are still looking for on i have the body with the vw floor pan already shorten,with custom fiberglass floor panel,come up with a reasonalble price and you can have it not out to make a profit when was available the basic kit was $1700. not asking that much,can reach me at 3309422634 ,thanks keith

  39. John says:

    I have a Machette Speedster body. I hope to be able to have it built and running by next spring. I’ll be sure to forward pictures for all to see.

  40. Jay Bower says:

    Hi there, check out http://www.evdesigns.com and there’s a picture on the services page of an electric vehicle Machette we have in process from a body purchased from Fiber Fab US.

    Thank you
    jay@eco-designs.com

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