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Author Topic: SOME VW HEADER HISTORY  (Read 3736 times)
johnl
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« on: July 11, 2012, 17:48:35 pm »

I've written about my friend Rich Kugel (Jerry Kugel's brother) http://www.kugelkomponents.com/bonneville/bonneville.html  that was my first VW friend.  Rich had a beautiful gold '58 sedan with "Jardine Headers" on his 36hp motor.  This was the very first VW I ever saw with headers on a street car and to make it better Rich should be credited for being the first guy to have a header name painted on his rear fenders.  In white lettering it simply said "JARDINE HEADERS".

At the time Jardine was located on Nelson St. and Garden Grove Blvd. in a "shack" next to Ray Alley's Engine masters.  Today this hallowed ground is covered by a HomeDepot.  Years later I would end up living just a few blocks from that site and trust me there is not a time that I don't drive by there (usually daily) that the memories don't stir.

I was the first person to have fresh air Fourtuned (Bob Sanches out of Riverside) Headers but that came much later than the Jardine set on rich's car.  You ask what brought this topic up in my mind?  Well, I was on the H.A.M.B looking for old drag racing names that I rememberd having an impact on me way back then and Jardine of course came to mind.  After a bit of research I came up with this from Jerry Jardine's site.  Yes, he is still at it some 49 years after I saw my first VW set.

HISTORY OF JARDINE


Jerry Jardine started Jardine Header Co humbly in 1958  from his parent’s back yard in Pasadena California. He was working at Pearly’s Muffler Shop prior to this and building some custom headers. Word traveled and a demand for more and more header work followed.
 
Jerry studied the European sports car header designs and adapted these theories to American cars with great success. The ’58 348 Impala that he owned was the test bed and the first part number. Up until this time headers were custom built on your car. Jardine was the first to produce a header in a box. His headers were all TRI-Y designs which are better suited then and today for the heavier street driven car were a broader torque curve is wanted.
 
Through out the 60′s his headers were run by many top teams and drivers in many facets of racing. The list is long and distinguished. Don Nicholson, Don Schumacher, Chris Karamasines, Tom McEwen, Jon Mulligan, just go through our hot rod gallery and you’ll get the point.
 
In the early 70′s Jardine switched gears and moved into the street bike market. This came about as a fluke. Jerry built some custom Harley pipes on a few bikes that got into the magazines. Same song second verse. A demand grew from this coupled with the many competitors in the automotive arena producing low quality ill fitting headers for cheap. Well, the writing was on the wall. Jardine Header Co was soon the biggest market share holder and an O.E.M. for Kawasaki. Here too our pipes were with some of the fastest riders giving them the edge over the competition. Gene Romero, Dave Aldana, Mark Walker, to name a few.
 
Jerry sold Jardine Header Co in 1984 to Summit Ind who still builds quality motorcycle systems today. After the sale he opened a little shop  next to John Wayne airport in Orange County CA and started over again building custom headers.
 
In 1988 he made a bold move and took the operation to Jackson Wyoming. This came about after helping Betty Thorley of Doug Thorley Headers design pickup and motor home headers. Jerry also has many relatives throughout Wyoming and Montana and spent his summers in this part of the country as a kid to mainly keep him out of trouble.   Jackson is one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park and sees a tremendous amount of RV traffic. Soon we had customers planning their trips around having headers and exhaust installed.  As the R.V.s moved into using the turbo diesel as a power plant we adapted along with them, supplying them with 4″ systems.
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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.
Dyno-Don
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 03:24:11 am »

Being that I work in the Header business and am a bit of a history nut, I have to point out a few discrepancies on Jardine's history. Although Jerry was certainly a pioneer in the industry, the first off the shelf boxed headers are pretty much recognized as being Sandy Belond's. Sandy had been doing custom headers before the war at his Sandy's Muffler Shops. After the war he started up again and came up with some production models around 1951. Sandy had learned the muffler business from Archie Porter of Porter Muffler fame, the second Hot Rod muffler after the Smithy that had been around since the 20's (and we still produce today). At Porter's, Sandy also worked with a young Bob Hedman (more on him in a minute). By 1953 there were over 2000 Belond "dealers" around the country and he got so big he actually set up his own steel mill to produce the tubing. In 1958 he retired and sold the muffler division to A/P and the header side to Bob Hedman who promtly changed the name to Hedman Hedders. At the same time Doug Thorley started making headers as well, in 1958. Doug went thorugh some crazy times as he also raced Gassers, A/FX cars and later Funnies. He got divorced and Doug's Headers had become Doug Thorley Headers which his wife Betty ended up with. That is the company that Jerry talks about above and it also ended up being owned by Summit Enterprises when Betty passed, the company that had bought Jardine. Doug still had his own company that we bought when he retired, the Original Doug's Headers, which we still build in conjunction with Patriot Headers which is the original Ermie Immerso Ent. header company that also produced the VW Thunderbird line (which we own as well and are going through some reorganization with).
Just thought I'd fill in the blanks a little bit.
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Sarge
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2012, 18:36:16 pm »

At the March Meet this year...
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DKP III
Dyno-Don
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 00:55:00 am »

Jerry has re entered the business with his son Jerod, doing custom header work again. They are up in Dubois, Wyoming if I remember correctly.

It's interesting that Jardine may have been the first to make commercially available headers for VW's, but it was Frank Sanders of S&S that probably made the most of them! I still remember the stacks of them that we had at the Costa Mesa A-H store and it seems that every week's warehousese order just had dozens more. Frank left S&S, but they carried on for years -they moved to Arizona, but they went out of business last year and the equipment was auctioned off.  The next most popular was probably Ermie Immerso's Thunderbird line, but we out sold those by what seems like 10 to 1 with S&S. LOL
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johnl
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 16:17:35 pm »

Being that I work in the Header business and am a bit of a history nut, I have to point out a few discrepancies on Jardine's history. Although Jerry was certainly a pioneer in the industry, the first off the shelf boxed headers are pretty much recognized as being Sandy Belond's. Sandy had been doing custom headers before the war at his Sandy's Muffler Shops. After the war he started up again and came up with some production models around 1951. Sandy had learned the muffler business from Archie Porter of Porter Muffler fame, the second Hot Rod muffler after the Smithy that had been around since the 20's (and we still produce today). At Porter's, Sandy also worked with a young Bob Hedman (more on him in a minute). By 1953 there were over 2000 Belond "dealers" around the country and he got so big he actually set up his own steel mill to produce the tubing. In 1958 he retired and sold the muffler division to A/P and the header side to Bob Hedman who promtly changed the name to Hedman Hedders. At the same time Doug Thorley started making headers as well, in 1958. Doug went thorugh some crazy times as he also raced Gassers, A/FX cars and later Funnies. He got divorced and Doug's Headers had become Doug Thorley Headers which his wife Betty ended up with. That is the company that Jerry talks about above and it also ended up being owned by Summit Enterprises when Betty passed, the company that had bought Jardine. Doug still had his own company that we bought when he retired, the Original Doug's Headers, which we still build in conjunction with Patriot Headers which is the original Ermie Immerso Ent. header company that also produced the VW Thunderbird line (which we own as well and are going through some reorganization with).
Just thought I'd fill in the blanks a little bit.

To clarify this what I posted was lifted directly from Jardine's site and not my verbage.  The other item I'd like to clear up is I don't know if Jardine built the first set of VW street headers or not, but it was the first set I ever saw and that was in 1963.

I suspect that Rich Kugel went there from a suggestion via his brother Jerry Kugel who probably had dealings with Jardine, plus Jardine was local for Rich and myself which both lived in Anaheim.  At that time Jerry worked for Ak Miller http://www.hotrod.com/thehistoryof/hrdp_0606_ak_miller_history_best_hot_rodder/viewall.html

Don also mentions Ermie Immerso and as I recall Bob Sechi, DKP I (AKA The Harbor Bomber) was related to Ermie.  I don't remember exactly how but I definitely remember Bob saying this more than once.
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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.
Dyno-Don
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***
Posts: 104



« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 16:43:59 pm »

John,  I wasn't suggesting that you were claiming the history, but that "Jardine's History" (or at this maybe someone's memory, we all are getting a bit fuzzy on stuff from 50+ years ago  Grin) was not quite accurate. I know those weren't your words and I apologise if anyone took it that way.

For the same reason I said it was inserting that Jardine "MAY have been the first to make commercially available headers for VW's" because I'm not sure on that fact either. but they certainly were a player in the beginning.

I didn't know that about Bob Sechi and Ermie. For the younger guys, not only was Ermie VERY successful in the Exhaust business - including Thunderbiird VW headers, he was also the only 3 time America's Most Beautiful Roadster winner at the Grand national Roadster Show - the Oldest and most Prestigious indoor car show in the world for hot Rods. He won it in 1988 with Orange Twist, his Ardun Powered 32 Ford, then came right back in 1989 and won it with The Golden Star a 1925 Ford T that he and Don Thelan built, powered by a 4 cam Ford Indy motor. Then in 1991 he won it Again with the Golden Star. These 2 cars were considered so significant that when Ermie passed, the folks from the Peterson Museum said at the auction that they would not be denied these 2 cars, regardless of where the bidding went!.
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johnl
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 16:51:12 pm »

John,  I wasn't suggesting that you were claiming the history, but that "Jardine's History" (or at this maybe someone's memory, we all are getting a bit fuzzy on stuff from 50+ years ago  Grin) was not quite accurate. I know those weren't your words and I apologise if anyone took it that way.

For the same reason I said it was inserting that Jardine "MAY have been the first to make commercially available headers for VW's" because I'm not sure on that fact either. but they certainly were a player in the beginning.

I didn't know that about Bob Sechi and Ermie. For the younger guys, not only was Ermie VERY successful in the Exhaust business - including Thunderbiird VW headers, he was also the only 3 time America's Most Beautiful Roadster winner at the Grand national Roadster Show - the Oldest and most Prestigious indoor car show in the world for hot Rods. He won it in 1988 with Orange Twist, his Ardun Powered 32 Ford, then came right back in 1989 and won it with The Golden Star a 1925 Ford T that he and Don Thelan built, powered by a 4 cam Ford Indy motor. Then in 1991 he won it Again with the Golden Star. These 2 cars were considered so significant that when Ermie passed, the folks from the Peterson Museum said at the auction that they would not be denied these 2 cars, regardless of where the bidding went!.

Don, no apology necessary.  I only wanted to advise the readers where the data came from.

What I do think is important is that the information gets recorded for history.  Should discussions like this not occur all is lost for 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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