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Author Topic: Reggie the Rag Top  (Read 6188 times)
johnl
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« on: August 21, 2011, 17:36:18 pm »

Recently I'd written this article and thought today would be an appropriate time to post it to the site.  Why you ask?  Well today is our 40th wedding anniversary and this car was such a big part of that I just that now was the time.  

In the past few days I've been doing serious research to locate the car should it exist.  If by a slim chance I locate Reggie I'll definitely make an effort to return him to our garage.

Shortly after returning home in April 1969 having completed my Navy obligations I started to continue my life and of course this meant being once again being involved with Volkswagens.  By August or September I decided that I wanted another car to use as a daily driver and only have the ’63 (Butternut car) as a toy.  I had $$ saved from my Navy pay and was working with more $$ coming in.

I was still single yet spending most of my free time with my then fiancée Christie.  She was actually in the decision making even back then.  I’d always liked the look of the VW convertible and some years before I’d spend a good amount of time with my friend Bob Wilson (Schneider Motors employee) and his ’59 white vert.  I remember trip like going to Riverside Raceway in that car and camping out for the following day’s races.  It was only a 36hp engine, but none the less it go us where we needed to go.

My problem was I couldn’t use the car with the top down much as “Mr. Sun” has never been my friend.  But with that stated I thought and still do today the look is really cool with the windows down.  In later years I’m continuing to pay the price for the exposure I got in my youth with serious ongoing skin cancers.  I’m continually having surgeries for this and urge all of you young people to take heed.  Wear sun block, hats and take care of your skin.

Finally the decision was made to order a 1970 white vert.  Christie and I drove to Plunkett VW in Sunland where my parents had purchased their black sedan from salesman Don Neisenwagner in 1966 and thus the relationship began.  This place wasn’t around the corner from us, but we both enjoyed “road trips”.

A deposit was placed and we were on the way.  Shortly afterwards Don phoned to say there was a problem as “white” was no longer available.  I wanted a light color for ease of keeping clean.  Neither of us liked the light blue or yellow, so that left about only one choice of Savannah Beige.  We began the waiting process which seemed like it took forever.  Christie and I would drive to different dealerships when we had the time just to see if any ’70 verts had arrived.

By mid October I was getting pretty impatient, but on a cool night we drove by the local VW dealership, Ballard Motors on Lemon St. in Anaheim.  This dealership was the closest to my home and I think opened in late 1963 or early ’64.  This was the place I went to get parts and they had a great access road at the back that entered onto Harbor Blvd. just above the original Carl’s Jr.  There were a few drag races done there over the years and were always at night.

There it was sitting in the showroom which of course was CLOSED for the evening.  It was the exact car we’d ordered and the first ’70 vert either of us ever saw.  The next morning I phoned Don at Plunkett VW to advise him of our find and asked if he could do a dealer trade.  Soon thereafter the deal was made and “Reggie the Rag Top” as Christie named it was on its way to becoming ours.

I’d told Don I wanted 5.5 chrome wheels and 165x15 Pirelli Cinturatos.  I had some connections at Don Burns VW in Garden Grove and actually picked the rims and tires up there and transported them to Plunkett VW.  Once delivered to Plunkett they were installed on the car.  Like a dummy I never asked for the originals to take home as they actually belonged to me.  At my direction they also installed a custom wood steering wheel from their parts accessories.  Once again I never thought to keep the original wheel.

The deal came to pass on Friday, October 31, 1969 and yes I was frantic to get the car home without someone egging it because of Halloween.  Don, Christie and I went to lunch and by the time we came back the car was ready to go, but it was getting late in the day.

We’d taken the ’63 to get there so this meant that two VW's needed to hit the road.  Christie drove Reggie with me following in the '63.  I vividly remember going through downtown LA and then down the 5 freeway.

By the time we arrived home Christie told me the car really had a front end issue.  My first thought was the tires were out of balance.  The following morning Christie arrived at my house about 8am as we planed to drive back to Plunkett and have it checked out.  Once we arrived all was inspected and found to be just fine.  The problem was I’d never experienced and body flex of a convertible and I think the wheel – tire combo compounded it.  The dealership offered to take the car back if I wasn’t happy, but after some thought I said we’d keep it.  Over time I got use to the “shake” especially when the top was down.

This became our go places car and soon after I added a header system, 010 distributor, Bosch blue coil (the original stock black coil is on our ’63 sedan and has been for 30 years) and a 32 NDIX Zenith with an isolated manifold.  Of course all of these parts came from Auto Haus.  Previously I’d installed Koni Shocks and all corners and had a 4 - 8 track with a cassette for FM installed below the dash.  I still have that player stored in my garage.

We drove it everywhere and really enjoyed it.  To my memory it was the first vert in DKP and all seemed to enjoy it.  We have video of (the mass) Doug Gordon in the back seat with the top down going to San Diego with the club.  I think that was one of the San Diego Zoo trips.  

Another trip we’ll always remember is a day out to Busch Gardens in the San Fernando Valley with our friends John & Skip (Marsha) Burk who were our best man and bride’s maid.  It was summer and HOT.  With the top down I let John drive home and Christie and I sat in the back for about 60 miles.  Once we arrived between the wind and sun we all looked like lobsters.  Side note; John & Skip lived directly across the street on Whiting from Bill Schwimmer’s home today.

Another time I remember of the car associated with DKP was drag day at Carlsbad.  For some of you that have seen old home movie footage of those events look behind the trailer on the hill that was the timing tower.  You will see Reggie parked there next to Ron Fleming’s Westy type II and Christie on the hill waiving her arms frantically as someone took the footage.

Christie and I took our Honeymoon in that car and drove to San Francisco and surrounding areas including a stop in Modesto where her grandparents lived, Yosemite and San Simenon.  Reggie was safely locked in a garage across the street from our wedding reception so the “DKP hoodlums” who were in attendance couldn’t get to it and ad their special touches.

Soon after returning and beginning our married life Christie pretty much took over its use as her daily driver.  We lived within a block of her work, so that saved some miles.  

One time I remember was she went to Wimpy’s Burgers over by Gene Berg’s original shop on Lemon St. in Orange.  While there ordering some food for some of us to bring back to Berg’s shop as I recall a lady backed into the right rear fender.  The lady didn’t want to report it to her insurance and said she would pay out of her pocket.  Soon there after the car went to Becker’s Bug House and Leonard Becker made it perfect just as before.

Within a year of being married we moved to Westmont Dr. in Anaheim and by that time had purchase our ’51 split window from Doug (Underdog) Gordon.  The split and our ’63 lived in the garage so that meant Reggie had to rough it outside.  I purchased a Hypolon “water proof” Covercraft cover to act as the garage.  What I didn’t know, but learned within a year that was the cover wouldn’t breathe at all and destroyed the top.  Brad’s (the famous interior guy Don Bradford) replaced the top and all insulation and the car was under three years old.  Covercraft paid for the top and soon discontinued that product.

By 1973 for what ever reason we though we wanted a new car and ended up with a ’73 Ford Grand Torino Sport.  Ed Craig soon named it the “Grand Tortigo” and soon there after I named it the ‘Grand Toileto’.  It was the worst car we’ve ever owned and to this day we both regret selling Reggie.

Reggie ended up moving to Corona Del Mar just up the street from Five Crowns Restaurant which for years has been rated as one of the top eating places in the country.  As I recall that was Poppy Street right off of Pacific Coast Highway.  Periodically we’d drive by and see him parked and as the years went on Reggie always looked well kept even living at the beach.

Years later Reggie was gone from Poppy Street and we never learned of his fate but often wonder if he is still out there somewhere.  He would be forty one years young at this writing.  In recent times of converting old slides I’ve found some of him and will share them with you.

Reggie was one of those special cars in our lives and although he is no longer with Christie and myself those wonderful times and memories live on.  We wish for Reggie a peaceful rest if he is gone and if by chance he is still roaming the roads somewhere we wish to thank him for those times.  Should you see a ’70 vert out there with a California blue plate (164ANP) please contact me so I can bring him home.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 17:39:35 pm »

More photos the next morning.  Christie sittling in the car with my parent's dog Ginger.  We were heading back to the dealership to address the front end issue.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2011, 17:42:43 pm »

One more shot of Christie in the driveway.  This was November 1st with typical SoCal weather...
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2011, 17:46:57 pm »

A few shots on our Honeymoon.  The first two are at Christie's grandparents home in Stockton, Calif.  You can see the rear end of Reggie and one with me standing there.  We both really like the house across the street.  The final shot of these is Reggie in the parking lot at Yosemite.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2011, 17:50:56 pm »

A fews later we drove up to the local mountains and I took these shots.  Oh God, my wheels are getting dirty.   Shocked Shocked
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 17:58:46 pm »

Although I have more photos these will be the last I'll post for the article at this time.  There are a couple shot in Gary M. Huggin's (DKP founder) driveway in Orange with the Zenith carb and headers.  Note, one is done in Sarge style on the angle.   Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

The last is taken at our Best Man and Maid of Honor's home, John & Skip Burk.  The irony of this shot is it is directly across from where Bill Schwimmer lives today.  Small world................   Shocked Shocked Cool
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
jonathan
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2011, 18:11:21 pm »

Excellent reading as ever John.Thanks for posting.
I hope you can find Reggie and bring him home.
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lawrence
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2011, 18:57:24 pm »

Very cool story, John, and I really love all the old pictures. Sarge angle Roll Eyes Grin Thanks.

-Lawrence
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Matty c
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2011, 21:11:41 pm »

Cool story, thanks for sharing John & good luck in tracking down reggie.
Matt.
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67heaven
Bill Schwimmer
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2011, 22:51:42 pm »

It still blows me away to see that shot across the street. You must have almost been standing in my front yard 25yrs before we bought this house.What a very small world we live in. Great photos of the vert. Congratulations on the Lazenby's 40th. Something to be very proud of in this day & age.  Bill
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Wink's1966
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2011, 23:57:26 pm »

Happy aniversary.... and Great Read i love your stories and old pics  Cool
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edcraig
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2011, 04:38:19 am »

John...great pictures.  I really like the one of Chris' car with the window sticker and paper plates.  What a great looking car!

...Ed..

Legendary DRA
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So.Cal.Life
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2011, 10:53:23 am »

     John , go to the Poppy street house and ask the people who live there if they are the same people who owned Reggie , if it was the previous homeowners , ask if they might have a forwarding address , if not, ask about long time residents of the neighborhood who possibly were friends of Reggies owners , etc ,  just let your curiosity take you where it will , anyway that is what I would  try , it will probably be an interesting adventure at worst, and at best, you find Reggie . I really like this story so far, lets all hope for a happy ending .  Good Luck ,     Keith 
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speedwell
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2011, 11:17:34 am »

happy wedding birthday john & christie , and another cool storie to read

thx for sharing john

and is this greg aronson  63 aside yours

 Wink
fabs
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Nico86
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2011, 13:32:33 pm »

And another great thread, and cool car!  Cool
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johnl
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2011, 16:00:42 pm »

     John , go to the Poppy street house and ask the people who live there if they are the same people who owned Reggie , if it was the previous homeowners , ask if they might have a forwarding address , if not, ask about long time residents of the neighborhood who possibly were friends of Reggies owners , etc ,  just let your curiosity take you where it will , anyway that is what I would  try , it will probably be an interesting adventure at worst, and at best, you find Reggie . I really like this story so far, lets all hope for a happy ending .  Good Luck ,     Keith 

Hi Keith,  All that you mention are in my plans, but at the moment I have some other people doing research for me and only want to do one thing at a time.  Further info on this story is that Christie remembers we sold Reggie to the Assistant D.A. of O.C. and I have some friends in law enforcement checking on this for me.  My fear is that the ADA back then might have passed away due to the time that has lapsed.

Last, please PM me with your contact info as we have other things to discuss.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
Hero Member
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Posts: 1533



« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2011, 16:05:27 pm »

happy wedding birthday john & Christie , and another cool storie to read

thx for sharing john

and is this greg aronson  63 aside yours

 Wink
fabs
Hi Fabs,  I'm a bit confused on your last statement regarding the Aronson car.  The car parked next to Reggie in the dealership photos is what became "Butternut".  Shots in my driveway show Butternut (in green) parked in the garage and my parents black '66 sedan sitting next to Reggie. 

There will be photos of Aronson's and my car posted in the future along with a story about the black '66.  I still have many stores and photos to share.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
speedwell
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2011, 16:37:10 pm »

i never know that you've those wheels on the car before you have the american racing , i know you had chromies wheels

john i'm talking about this one


 i was talking about greg's car before she comes white  , that's why i asked that  Wink and on the black and white picture the car is similar(greg's car on the left) to yours and that why i was thinking that


« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 16:48:55 pm by speedwell » Logged

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oldspeed 61 standard empi/speedwell
johnl
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2011, 17:25:29 pm »

i never know that you've those wheels on the car before you have the american racing , i know you had chromies wheels

john i'm talking about this one


 i was talking about greg's car before she comes white  , that's why i asked that  Wink and on the black and white picture the car is similar(greg's car on the left) to yours and that why i was thinking that

My '63 had many configurations of fender, wheels and the list goes on and on.  I'll share some of those photos, sort of an evolution of the car.  Also, I've now located photos of the "Butternut" car with some interior shots.  All will be posted as time permits in the future.


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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2011, 20:36:29 pm »

Thanks for sharing John. T

That's always great readings   Smiley

Take care.
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Fritter
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« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2011, 20:56:53 pm »

Great read and pics, thanks!  Happy anniversary!!
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Mike F.
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« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2011, 07:34:55 am »

    Hi John , PM sent ,info and more.     Keith
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johnl
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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2011, 04:06:00 am »

    Hi John , PM sent ,info and more.     Keith
guy
Another + for this site is the way one can contact folks and share memories and stories.  Today was such for me as I finally had a long phone conversation with Keith Goss.  He says we met at F&A, pre FAT when I had the Butternut car there.  I didn't remember such but he did. 

Keith was at the DKP Reunion, but with all of the people there we never hooked up and then the previous Bug-In we were to meet, but I ended up not going.  He is really and interesting guy and I'm looking forward to shaking his hand and spending some quality time together.  He would like to relocate back to SoCal and I'd like to see this happen.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
So.Cal.Life
Full Member
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Posts: 207


« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2011, 11:38:58 am »

    x2 , John thanks again for the encouraging thoughts,good talk, looking forward to more and the hand shake.
    Hi John , PM sent ,info and more.     Keith
guy
Another + for this site is the way one can contact folks and share memories and stories.  Today was such for me as I finally had a long phone conversation with Keith Goss.  He says we met at F&A, pre FAT when I had the Butternut car there.  I didn't remember such but he did. 

Keith was at the DKP Reunion, but with all of the people there we never hooked up and then the previous Bug-In we were to meet, but I ended up not going.  He is really and interesting guy and I'm looking forward to shaking his hand and spending some quality time together.  He would like to relocate back to SoCal and I'd like to see this happen.

        Keith
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Zach Gomulka
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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2011, 17:06:02 pm »

Dig how you left the '70 only reflectors, just relocated them Smiley Thanks for sharing, good luck in finding him!
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Born in the '80s, stuck in the '70s.
johnl
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2011, 18:55:09 pm »

Dig how you left the '70 only reflectors, just relocated them Smiley Thanks for sharing, good luck in finding him!

Zack, you are a "detail guy" and that is what I like.  Yes, I flipped them over for a couple of reasons.  The look was cleaner and less likely to be bent as they were more protected.  I'm thinking they were needed to meet USA standards for the year.  That was also the first year of the side reflectors on the tail light housings
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
Zach Gomulka
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Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.


« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2011, 01:59:58 am »

Details are everything Wink
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johnl
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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2011, 02:07:26 am »

Details are everything Wink

In my world of cars details are the ONLY thing................        Wink Wink
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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