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The Corvair motor was the twin carb model but I had heliarced additional manifolds on and ran 4 carbs, a cam, some head work and a 6 lb flywheel (when you let off the gas, it was like putting on the brakes). I had Phil's Muffler build me a set of headers that had two 3"collectors that dumped out on either side of the motor and then went through 2 glasspacks, each side to just in front of the rear wheels with dual chrome bell tips on each side. It looked hot and with the collectors uncapped, the car sounded so good. I had so much fun with that car but after destroying a couple of transmissions, I decided to go with a Porsche trans like the Inch Pincher. I found a transaxle and went to Dean Lowry who gave me a spare set of custom made trans mounts from the Inch Pincher and helped me with the installation but Oh, did I get the lecture on how I should be running a VW motor and when Gene Berg moved to California and teamed up with Dean, I got the lecture from him too. Unfortunately the Porsche trans was geared so high, I could barely get it to 3rd gear in the quarter mile and my best time was, I believe, 14.8 seconds. The cost of changing to lower gears was way more than I could afford and somehow the car was gone and I had a '67 bug (don't remember how or when).
this time the VW scene was maturing and more and more enthusiasts were
concentrating on performance and the race car look came into vogue. I found myself helping people and started
building motors in my garage for some hobby money. I spent a lot of time
and money at Deano Dyno Soars talking to Gene and Dean and purchased a set
of 92mm pistons/cylinders from their very first shipment. That was my
first dual 48ida motor, an 1835cc, Engle 130 cam, and Dynosaur heads that
pulled 162hp on Dean's dyno. I still have the dyno sheet for it, but you
have to know that Dean used a correction factor where a new bug had
50hp advertised horsepower but only put out 36 hp on the brake dyno, so if
a motor showed 70 real hp on the dyno, he figured you had 100hp.
Perhaps my motor really had 122 hp but it's just a number and the car ran
mid 13s and it was more fun than the Corvair.
When Gene Berg left Deano Dyno Soars and opened his own shop, I opted for quality and bought all my stuff from Berg from then on. Although I have always had the utmost respect for Dean's knowledge and abilities and appreciate all of his help, the business, for whatever reason, was conducted with questionable integrity. It was at Bergs that I met Ron Fleming. I had expressed a desire to build a race car and he asked if I wanted to be a partner in the Underdog II with him and Doug Gordon instead. I did and it was a great learning experience and some great adventures.
|I was a letter
carrier (mailman) and regularly had 2-3 hours for lunch (I could easily
fill another website with Post Office stories and the wonders of
Government mismanagement and yes the job was that easy) and so killed time hanging out at various
businesses in La Habra.
It was during several of these hiding sessions that I met a young VW factory mechanic, Bruce Lawrence, doing odd jobs for a small local shop. I felt sorry for him as he was being taken advantage of and told him that if he wanted to do work for himself, he could use my garage. He took me up on the offer and while I built performance motors, he worked on stock VWs and put the money in his pocket rather than someone else's. It didn't take long for the neighbors to start complaining about all the cars and noise. Reluctantly I leased a 3000sq ft shop on Cypress St in La Habra and we were in business. Buehler and Lawrence Enterprises was an instant hit and we had turn away business. My wife at that time hated my involvement with cars and was terrified that I might quit my "respectable" and secure Post Office job so during those lunch periods and after work, I would head to the shop to work on cars. During this time, I became involved in building motors for all kinds of VW racing. I must have been doing something right as the back log of motors to be built kept me working all hours of the night. I also attended all the VW events I could to support my customers, so to say I was busy is an understatement.
We did well and invested a lot of money back into the business. With a plan to be self sufficient, we bought a valve grinder, a mill, lathe, a Stuska engine dyno, a SuperFlow flow bench, line bore bar and anything that allowed us to work all night without having to wait until the next day to get something done somewhere else. That meant we needed a nice stock of parts so I started hunting down suppliers and then started doing some light manufacturing. I found I could make money without getting my hands dirty (well almost) so I looked into buying an Auto Haus franchise.
My plan was to have an Auto Haus store with our shop in the back, but my partner, Bruce, wanted no part of this. Someone had already opened an Auto Haus in a perfect location in La Habra and the only open franchise areas were too far away. I had just about given up when I heard that the La Habra store owner had under funded his franchise and needed someone to help him out. I jumped at the chance and was now involved in another business.
There was a dirt lot with a 'Build to Suit' sign next door to the La Habra store and so I started working with the owner on designing a new store with a shop behind (my dream) but Bruce did not want to move the shop, wasn't happy with me working with Bob and Bob wanted a percentage of the action from the shop. Jealousy, greed and my stupidity for thinking I could pull this off was my downfall and I gave up the dream. Not long after this, Bruce had a "melt down" and decided to bail, meaning he took 1/2 of everything (including the light fixtures) and just walked away. As I was the only one of legal age, everything was in my name so I was left with a lot of issues. Buehler and Lawrence was no more, not because we didn't have any money or lack of work, but because Bruce and I had different ambitions.
Did I make mistakes?....sure did! Would I do things differently if given another chance?....Yup!
|Although I was hanging around with DKP members, went to several of their club meetings, even bought a "DKP car", I never joined the club as they were viewed as "immature drunken hoodlums" by some people and I knew I would end up in divorce (ironically it was due to immature drinking that led me to marriage in the first place). The problem was that the only performance orientated VW car club was DKP so several of us started DRA (Der Rennmeister Association) with similar standards as DKP. Like DKP, DRA members were voted in.....and out, dependent on their integrity, car looks and performance.....and many times after a demonstration.....or what some would call street racing. Probably the most notable picture of the club is the one with my split window and Ed Craig's split window with the club banner at a Bug-In|