Mini-Feature: Anthony Rico’s 1971 Baja Bug


Tierra del Sol is largely an event for the Jeep owner and rockcrawling crowd, with its famous obstacle course at Truckhaven, and planned trail rides that go through the rockier parts of the Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of dusty areas to go bombing around in a prerunner; or, if your Anthony Rico, a Baja Bug.

Anthony was a young buck, no older than 25, but he’d had an upbringing in off-road. “I’ve been into this lifestyle for most of my life,” he said. Knowing the off-road world has no shortage of trucks and Jeeps, the young man decided he wanted something a little different, and had his opportunity when a friend of his offered him the Bug.

The dustiness, combined with the random water holes found near Borrego Springs, gave the Bug a charming muddy complexion when we saw it. Asked to comment on it, Anthony said, "Oh, just having fun, you know. Enjoying the weekend."

“He was trying to make some money, so he gave me a shot at buying it, and I bought it,” he explained. “He had assembled it from the ground up, and knowing him, I figured it had had a good start with getting worked on.”

Anthony couldn’t really share much on the details of the build (not that there was much to share, anyway), but from what he knew, it had a stock 1600cc engine and a stock four-speed manual transmission. “As far as I know, just about everything on this Bug is stock,” said Anthony. “The front brakes were converted to disc brakes, though.”


Anthony wasn’t well-versed enough to know what had been done to the Bug, but did know that the front brakes had been converted to disc brakes.

Anthony rightly loves this Bug, and who couldn’t? Its light weight and decently powered motor, combined with reasonable clearance, make the vehicle a joy to drive just about anywhere off-road. “I’ve taken it to Honda Valley near Hesperia,” he said. “Had a couple of fun hours out there.”

Regarding future modifications, Anthony is content to take things as they come. “I’ll just say, let’s see what the future holds for her,” he said. “Hopefully I can fit in a bigger engine and make it run a little faster.”


Anthony had only owned the Bug for a short time when we met him, but he was definitely getting his fair share of fun out of it!

Short on mods but big on fun, Anthony’s Bug was just the sort of machine that made Tierra del Sol such a worthwhile and enjoyable event to attend. We’re already looking forward to coming back in 2018, and you should be, too!

Tierra del Sol is one of those events that brings the nearby off-road community together. Thousands attend for the weekend, and for first-timers or return visitors, it's always a thrill. "This is only my second time out here," said Anthony. "I like it a lot. You get to drive around and see what other people are driving, and sometimes you'll see something crazy, like a Jeep almost going over the edge. It's a good time."

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
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