San Diegans are stoked: Off-roading opportunities abound. The Plaster City OHV area is a couple hours' drive, and Ocotillo Wells and Glamis are also close at hand. Those whose rigs are street-licensed can explore hundreds of miles in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Off-roading's ultimate venue, the Baja peninsula, abuts the city's southern flank. It's no wonder companies like Fox Racing Shox, Fiberwerx, Bilstein, Mastercraft, and Sol Tek are all based in the San Diego area.
Native San Diegan Kurt Scherbaum's life in the dirt started off early when he attended the 1975 Baja 500 with his dad and brother. Instead of falling in line idolizing mainstream stick-and-ball heroes, Kurt looked up to the likes of Mickey Thomspon, Parnelli Jones, Frank "Scoop" Vessels, Walker Evans, and Ivan Stewart. Kurt eventually went from race fan to team member, lending his time and talents to the BFGoodrich pit network that dominates Baja racing. He also got to work for one of his long-time heroes, helping with Scoop's racing team as a volunteer from 1987 to 1991.
Scherbaum isn't just a fan and a racing volunteer. He's built a rig of his own: the Nissan-powered buggy on these pages. Why Nissan? "I grew up as a big fan of Datsun/Nissan trucks. I currently own two Nissan Titans," relates Kurt. Based on his experience behind the wheel of his Titans, he knew the Nissan Endurance V-8 would be a perfect powerplant for his buggy.
The Endurance V-8 breathes through a pair of UNI filters and an owner-fabricated intake. T
The Nissan V-8 is right at home in a PSD Motorsports chassis, built by Ed Zimmerman in nearby Spring Valley. Everything fits together nicely now, but it took more than a few weekends and late nights to get the four-seater finished. Scherbaum took delivery of the PSD Motorsports chassis and went from there. The Nissan V-8 was adapted to a Mendeola S5S five-speed sequential transaxle by way of a Kennedy Engineered Products (KEP) adapter plate and clutch. After the engine and transaxle were happily joined, the powerplant needed custom work to complete the intake, exhaust, fuel delivery, cooling, and oiling systems. Over the years, Kurt acquired a garage-full of fabrication tools, and was able to do almost all of the aforementioned custom work himself.
After several months of building, the chassis was ready for final assembly and testing. Thanks to the experience and expertise he'd gathered as a race volunteer and team member, the buggy worked well the first time out.
Flow, function, and beauty all meet in this set of custom headers built by Shane Johnson o
The chassis was built using chromoly tubing, and has a 126-inch wheelbase for stability at
Off-roaders like clean air as much as anyone else. To that end, Kurt is busy tuning the en
It would be easy to focus on the Mastercraft Pro-4 seats or the Lowrance GPS or the Momo s
As it sits now, there are 22 inches of travel at every corner, and over 400 horses at the rear wheels. These numbers translate into speed through the rough, and they're impressive: 135 mph in fifth gear at 6,000 rpm. There's more on tap, as the engine revs all the way to 7,500 rpm before hitting the redline
Is there anything left to do? Yes, but only a little bit. Scherbaum plans to add Fox 2.5-inch bumpstops to the rear trailing arms, and add extra plating to the front control arms and rear trailing arms. With those mechanical tasks completed, the buggy will be stripped down to a bare chassis, completely powdercoated, and then re-assembled. While it's hard to call such a process "a little bit," it's not such a crazy amount of work when compared to the effort it took to get the project to the point you see on these pages.
Two more Mastercraft Pro-4 seats are in the second row, and just behind them is a Ron Davi
With a platter-full of OHV areas within close reach, Baja at his back door and a high-powered, long-travel buggy at his fingertips, there's no question that Kurt Scherbaum is one stoked San Diegan
PSD Motorsports chromoly tube chassis four-seat buggy
Kurt Scherbaum/San Diego, CA
Nissan Endurance V-8
EFI system designed by Extrudabody Performance Fuel Injection, built by Kurt
Mendeola S5S five-speed sequential transaxle
Suspension type and travel:
PSD front A-arms, PSD +2 buggy trailing arms, 22 inches of wheel travel per corner
35-inch BFG Baja T/As
Pro Comp 15x7.5 with beadlocks
Mastercraft Pro-4 seats, heated and with adjustable lumbar support
Patient, supportive family:
Wife Michelle, son Trevor
Late-night buggy builder's fuel:
Up on top, there's room aplenty to stash your stuff. Kurt built the roof rack to be simple
Ford vs. Chevy takes place elsewhere. Nissans rule this lot.
Thirty-five inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A's are proven shoes for the desert, and they're wrappe