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Author Topic: 1990-1993 (FORMERLY 4 YEARS- NOW CONDENSED TO 3)  (Read 89485 times)
Jim Ratto
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« on: September 21, 2016, 21:06:31 pm »

Sept 1989-March 1990, No Direction
I am referring to time period between 1990 and 1994. Some of you commented on my short bit about Mason's '62 and rather than run that thread into the ditch, I thought I'd start a new one, basically about a pretty vivid time period concerning hot rod VW's and what was going on with me at the time. I apologize in advance for the onset of boredom this may cause you.
Not very relevant, but it kind of starts in December 1986 when I got my '67 Bug for Christmas, yeah same car in my garage today, almost 30 years later. It was stock height, ran chrome 5.5" wheels with '67 hubcaps, Zenith Blue, Euro-blade bumpers with short guards, P3 185/70 Pirelli's and a stock motor (except for 009 and gutted stock tailpipes). In about 6 months time the car had a 1641 with Weber 32/36 and an S&S header with dual aluminum glass packs. Early summer of 1987, with a fresh driver's license in my wallet, as the sky turned purple-orange on an early Sunday morning, I set off on a 30 mile drive, alone, to Baylands Raceway in Fremont CA for one of the VW only events held there. I had spent the previous day doing my damndest job on detailing what I had to work with, using my mom's good dish towels and Brasso to polish the chrome wheels and her white vinegar and old newspaper to clean the glass. After 6-7 hours I was proud. Anyway, that early morning drive through the riparian woodlands of south Pleasanton and Sunol, and into the warm smells of hundreds of VW waiting in line along Durham Rd (outside raceway) got my gears turning. By the afternoon I had watched cars like Tan Fastic and Dom's Dragon Slayer car rip through the 1/4. I had heard kids at high school brag about their fast VW's but I had no idea..... so from this day forward there was "Life before seeing VW's race at Baylands" and "Life after seeing VW's race at Baylands." A new mindset, and way to kill time had been introduced.
As I mentioned in my comments about Dave Mason's car, there was another turning point, the night my buddy and I sat across from each other at the pizza place we worked at, eating free cheese pizza and sipping beer from to-go soda cups with lids and straws (we were 18). We each had a copy of Dec '89 Hot VW's and were tripping out on the blue shock of Gary Berg's '67. We each found the car perfect. Both us were tired of what was going on with the VW's we saw regularly. One kid had a very low yellow sedan with the wide-5 lug copycat 911-alloys, and a clear decklid that showed off a chromed, but otherwise stock motor. Another kid had a Ford Grabber blue '69 with pink and day glow green striping and matching colors on his Rivieras. Another guy had an orange '72 Super Beetle with gold Rivieras and a stinger on his stock motor. Had none of these guys been to Baylands and seen what a VW can do? It was frustrating that all the VW guys we knew of were a bunch of guys that knew nothing about building anything that would scaring chicks or their moms (Though we did know one guy that had a 2086cc in a very rat-trap of a '64 Bug that hauled holy ass...). In any case, seeing Berg's car in the magazine, very gleamy blue, with full stock bumpers, a full-tilt 48IDA ("What are Eye Dee Ays?" "Didn't Cobras run those? Maybe Ferraris did?" we used to ask each other, as I had DRLA 36's and Frank had a Cadillac), but the thing that really set that car apart were the EMPI BRM mags.
So at this point I was making pizzas, about to take a new job, baking sourdough bread from 10pm at night until 6am the next morning. The cool thing about this new job was the money at the time. It was good, actually great. I figured in a few weeks I'd have a Kawell Turbo motor in my car and a set of those wheels like Berg's car, no problem. The not so cool thing was those hours. And what all my friends were up to while I was at work. They were out having fun. I was stretching dough in 125F bakery. And just months later, I had been part of a rocky break up after an even rockier relationship at the end of high school. I won't elaborate, but when you're young and heartbroken, you tend to be looking for some kind of direction...
So fast forward 3 months. March 1990. The job at the sourdough bakery didn't work for me. I was tired of getting home at 7am, with flour stuck to my sweat and dead tired. Everybody else was getting on socially, scholastically, and financially. I was making decent $ but never had the gumption to work on my car now. So I quit. Then one day Frank and I were hanging out at the local VW shop, just over the hill from us, known as Buggy House. If you lived in the East Bay and had an air cooled VW you knew this place. There was a great motley group that kept the place running, a big tall guy with a perm and a beard (he always changed my mind for me when I would ask for certain parts: "I need a 200mm clutch disc"/ "Stock?" /"Yeah just stock"/ "You got a stock motor?" / "It's just a 1641 with a cam and Dellortos..." / "Yep, well, listen guy, you need a Kush Lok disc, whyddya think you need a clutch already? All the horsepower is killin that disc, guy...let me get you a Kush Lok.."), then there was a big tall military type that had no idea how to speak in a normal tone or volume level. Everything he said W A S  L I K E  T H I S. The owner was a big tall guy that lived up the street from me, and since we were neighbors, I imagined there to be some kinship there. But he was rarely there. Then there was this guy Jerry. Jerry was then in his mid 40's and was the machinist and authority figure. He had huge hands, a tucked in VW t-shirt, a mustache and was very animated and high strung. He also swore more than anyone I had ever met. Over nothing. Anyway on this particular day, here we were, no money, just wasting our time and theirs, asking how much Super Flow heads were, can I hold a 44IDF, what do you think about CB's turbo kit, all these questions we had with absolutely no resources. Mr Kush Lok Disc was the manager, and after about the 16th dumb question from me, asks me "You wanna work here? You're in here often enough you oughta be on payroll." I thought he was joking, and I didn't know what to say. So I said "I'd work here." That was all I said. So he explained to me that the boot camp guy was going back into the marines and they needed somebody. And could I start tomorrow?
Well of course I could.
By that summer, I was defined by that job. Before I worked there, I thought I knew VW's. Within about 18 minutes of my first day, I realized I knew next to nothing. There were 3 phones that could and would ring every second between 9am and 6pm. The only questions I could answer were the shop's address and what time we closed. Otherwise I was useless. Everything, I had to go find somebody to re-ask the question. "Do we have VW 412 wiring harnesses?" "Do we refill nitrous bottles here?" "Can you line bore this guy's Bus case? In the car?" But being ignorant and green didn't discourage me. I heard Jerry talking about bearing clearances and initial advance and Weber main jets and that's what kept me going. Besides, I was busy and that kept my mind focused and not thinking about the void of the breakup. Full steam ahead. I was even memorizing a few part numbers... 111 298 051A, muffler clamps....   111 198 007A, 13-1600cc gasket set. Too bad people didn't just didn't just need those two things. I would look like a pro already.
At night Frank and I would hang out. We still hung out at the pizza place we had been employed at the previous year. We could walk in the back door, sneak beer and eat cheap. Or we'd drive around and talk about the fast VW's we'd have in a few months.
At work, the shop had two glass display cabinets. One was full of repro vintage crap that didn't interest me in the least. Who cared about flower vases on your dash and mudflaps and stock horn buttons? The other case had the good stuff. A counterweighted crank, a box of Rimco modded VW rods, a black-oxided VW lightened flywheel and a set of DCOE Webers for a Rabbit. For the longest time I thought the crank was stock 69mm, which I already had in my car. Then one day the manager said "Hey Jimmy, if you get some time, will you take that stroker crank and those Rabbit carbs out and dust them? They look like crap." Wait a minute.. Stroker? That crank was a stroker? So of course.... "What size is that crank?" / "It's standard-ten."  WTF does that mean? "No what stroke is it?" /"Oh it's a 74mm some guy ordered and never paid or picked up."   Really...? Hmmm.....

Part 2 tomorrow
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 23:09:59 pm by Jim Ratto » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 22:17:26 pm »

:-) Can`t wait till tomorrow... :-)
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2016, 05:50:02 am »

awesome read thanks. cant wait till tomorrow
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2016, 05:50:26 am »

April-June 1990, the Dream Job, or Was It?
Over the next week or so, I spent my free time walking by the glass cabinet with the performance stuff in it. That set of rods, that crank and the flywheel were going to be mine. I had no idea how all this was going to work, but it seemed real easy in my head. Buy this stuff, get my case and heads machined, spend a night putting it together in a night and stick it in the car and be done with it.
I don't remember exactly how much the crank and rods were, but we got a decent discount as employees. I think I got the 74mm DMS crank, the 12lb flywheel and the rods for under $400. We stocked Engle cams, W100 through W125. Being 19 only the biggest would work. Back then I think I paid $45 for the cam. So what was left? I planned on stripping my 1641 down and cannibalize it for the dual relief case and the 044 Magnum heads it was made of. The 1641 ran dual 36DRLA Dellorto's, which I thought for sure would work fine. One thing I really, really wanted was a true competition merged header. In the 3-4 years I had owned my '67, I had run many different exhausts, but never a real merged header. Nobody I knew ran a merged header. Only the baddest rides in the magazines had merged headers. Only the bad boys seemed to not give a crap about losing heat. I wanted that. Plus that long collector poking out from under the apron looked the business. What diameter would I run? Who cares, just get one.
So the build process seemed super simple in my head. It was as if everything would just go by the book, and free time would just be there for the taking. I'd give the parts to Jerry to machine and hot tank, he'd blow them off, and then I'd take boxes of the stuff home (in my Fiat X19) and that night screw it together. Nothing could be more of a fantasy.

I eventually pulled the 1641 out of my car, which stranded the Bug with its ass in the air, on jackstands. I tore the engine down, now seeing really no value in the poor engine any longer. But just a year or so before, I took great care building it, my first VW engine build. I tore through the top end, with concern for only the heads and case. Stripped the bottom end, stacked the heads and wrapped them in a black trash bag, stuffed the case halves in another bag and the next day brought them to work with me. And on that day, nothing else mattered, other than the heads and case getting machined and cleaned. In my mind, by my 10am donut break, it should all be done. Never mind the full schedule the shop had. Or the cases lined up  needing case saver inserts. Or that my sole concern at 19 wasn't a concern to anyone else at the shop at all. Once I got to work, I carefully placed the heads and case by Jerry's mill. ("He'll know what to do, and since they're mine, he'll do an extra careful job, Jerry likes me"). As the morning wore on (and I never heard the mill on), I was making up reasons to walk back to the machine shop and would sigh when I saw my stuff just sitting. Didn't I forget my pen in my car? Yeah probably. I better go check. Case and heads sitting there, same spot. I'm tired of wearing my sunglasses on my head, I'll got put them in my car. Case and heads haven't moved. By lunch time nothing had happened. And Jerry's taking lunch? How in the hell is he going to find time to do all my machine work?
At 3pm stuff started happening.
From the front counter, I could hear Jerry, now pretty upset, in the machine shop: "Who in the F*%K left this g*dam* crap in my f%*cking way? I want to know which sumbitch stacked all this SH%T right in my F**cking way!" Oh crap. Throat swells up, mouth goes dry. This is going to be torture. I hear the manager say "Wasn't me, I'll ask Jim if he put that crap there."
I didn't understand what the big deal was. I needed the stuff machined, so it could be like the big engines in the magazines. Everybody knew big engines needed machine work. And now that I worked at a shop, it should be no big deal. You just got your machine work done. Right?

Problem was-  I had no idea what "machine work" was.

The case I had intended to use was a dual relief with 10mm head studs and 14mm OD inserts (in 1990 I didn't know what any of this meant). Oh and being 19, only one bore size was going to work for me: 94mm.
So once Jerry came back to Earth after his tantrum about my crap in his way, he summoned me to the mill, and asked me "So what in God's name are you wanting me to do to sh*t? Who's garbage is this anyway?!?!"
"It's mine. I'm building a big engine. A 94 by 74. Can you machine it? Now?"
"What are you doing? A 94 by what? With this fu*cking garbage? Huh? What?"
"Yeah remember? I bought that crank? And the rods?" (Didn't the whole world care as much as I did about my engine plans?)
"You're not building ANYTHING with this junk case. Did you even check the line bore? Did you see these godd@m 10mm case savers? Where in the f*ck are you gonna bore this thing? You think you can just jam a godd@m 94 barrel in there?"

I just stood there, staring at the floor. I didn't know what the issue was, but obviously, things weren't going the way I hoped. Aw man, it was mid-week there was a slim chance that the stroker motor would be in my car and running by the looming weekend.

That night, out driving around in the Fiat with Frank, I spilled the beans. I was totally dejected, what seemed so easy in my head had turned into a fricking nightmare now. Working at a VW shop was supposed to make my life easy. No shipping parts, cheap prices and all the advice in the world was supposed to be available in unlimited quantities. But it seemed the only things unlimited was flaring tempers and me looking stupid. After hearing this Frank said "I have a case. Remember? The Hecho En Mexico Case?"

More later.

Below: a picture of Frank and my '67, December 19 1989, on our way to Los Angeles via CA Highway 1. This is south of Big Sur but north of San Simeon, the car was lowered, had the 5-1/2" chrome wheels, copy 356A hubcaps (no emblem) missing its decklid and a stinger exhaust.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 23:10:39 pm by Jim Ratto » Logged

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vwhelmot
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2016, 07:19:37 am »

Great story.
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2016, 07:36:21 am »

Wow what a great story! And great memory of you jim, thank's for posting! Those are the storys that make this place soooo special.
....
"It's mine. I'm building a big engine. A 94 by 74. Can you machine it? Now?"
"What are you doing? A 94 by what? With this fu*cking garbage? Huh? What?"
"Yeah remember? I bought that crank? And the rods?" (Didn't the whole world care as much as I did about my engine plans?)
...
That really got me into the day Grin
And now go on and on  Wink
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flatfire
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2016, 07:50:30 am »

An inspiring story. Makes you realise that we all have our hills to climb. I just thought everybody else had it easy Wink Grin
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karl h
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 08:19:33 am »

reminds me of the building of my first 1776 in 1989
nice read, go on!
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2016, 10:04:10 am »

You made my day, Jim! Thanks! Cool

Tobi
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stretch
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2016, 13:24:48 pm »

Great story Jim.  Looking forward to the next installment.  Smiley
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Mike P
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2016, 16:46:05 pm »

I'm jumping the gun timeframe wise, but I can still hear "The Voice" yelling up to the counter from the shop.
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Dave Galassi
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 16:58:10 pm »

"being 19, only the biggest would work."

"In the 3-4 years I had owned my '67, I had run many differrent exhausts."  Not true.  You had torn off and had leaks in many different exhausts. 

Great thread.  Unadulterated love of a car.  Who amongst us can't identify with this story.

"No oil spots on the driveway young man!"

"My dad's a television repairman............he's got the ULTIMATE set of tools!  I can fix it! 
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2016, 18:25:30 pm »

I'm jumping the gun timeframe wise, but I can still hear "The Voice" yelling up to the counter from the shop.

Anybody that earned a nickel there has long term effects from that Voice. I still catch it echoing in my head daily... "JJJJIIIIIMMMMMM... where in the F**K are the keys to this godda#n car?!?!?"

or the misboxed Vanagon headlight switches he crushed in the bench vise to "prove a point" to the WD vendor.  Roll Eyes

Or the morning I did the 7500rpm burnout in front of the shop, just before one of the in-house shows and my HP1 lost it's seal. Green Kendall showering most of Cherryland. He didn't talk to me for 8 straight hours that day. Kind of a blessing?  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 19:36:17 pm »

Great stories as always. Thanks Jim  Wink
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 19:39:53 pm »

More to come. You guys aren't getting off that easy. Stick around for the blood and guts, at least.  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2016, 20:24:19 pm »

Loving this Jim. I remember having similar thoughts about timescale when I bought my first crank - if a 1600 is better than a 1300, then a 1776 is great, but why not go for a 2007? And if an 82mm crank is the same price as a 78mm, then that's even better still, right? That crank Sat under my bed for another 4 or 5 years! Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2016, 20:40:20 pm »

Great thread, thanks for sharing! (:
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2016, 22:14:56 pm »

Remember just biting the bullet and going down to Johnny's Speed and Chrome and buying the 2180 kit in a bunch of boxes and bringing it home around 1980 or so... Only had to call Jim Bangs, Reggie Leslie, Kevin Homar and Mark Christensen once or twice to get it together LMAO -- -- awww those were good times........ Keep the tale coming Jim, I can tell more good stuff is on the way!!!!!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 22:24:49 pm by Fiatdude » Logged

Fiat -- GONE
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« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2016, 22:46:14 pm »

Wow great writing Jim! I had to google what 'riparian'. Nice style.  Smiley
We made a couple trips down the I5 from Vanc to LA with my beetle in tow during the 80's. Once I had Small Car Specialties install the J tech lowered spindles. Fun times especially when we couldn't figure out how to bleed the brakes and drove the freeways with only front brakes, yikes! The shops were stellar with their service then, and I bet they still are. Keep it coming.
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2016, 00:35:31 am »

Summer months 1990, Frank Solves the Case
Thanks for comments. I'm glad you guys are enjoying meandering rambling of the good the bad and the very ugly.

So back to the case dilemma and my week and impending weekend being crushed by what I saw at the time as my boss' inability to "cooperate." If I didn't have this 2 liter running in my car this weekend, then it was just going to be another weekend. Work Saturday. Try and find something somewhat legal to do Saturday night that was cheap. More time to look at my car up on stilts in my parent's garage, and more time to re-read article about Rag to Ripper 1800, Galassi's blue Notch, and the article on Berglar.

But my friend Frank mentioned he had a case. I had forgotten about the case he had. Sometime earlier in the year, he heard about some deal on a Claude's 76 crank, where and why now escapes me, but I remember he wanted to build a 94 x 76 motor. All he had at the time was a case, not even a car. One of the cars Frank really admired was also in that Dec '89  Hot VW's it was a green '67 with chrome wheels and nipple caps and some kind of 2.0 liter or bigger motor. I know he dug Berg's car but I remember him going on and on about the green '67 too.
The case was a real sweetheart, especially in context of today, what with seconds, blems, rejects and worn tooling everybody seems to worry about now. This was a AS41 brand new Mexican 8mm stud universal case, fresh from a round trip to Rimco and back. Bored for 94's, stroker clearanced, full-flowed, shuffle-pinned, and still olive green, but twinkling where it had been gone over by Rimco. Secretly I guess Frank had lost steam in his plans to build the stroker, and if I wanted it, the case was mine. Those were the days. A brand new case, not getting auctioned off on the internet. Buddy needs it, there it is. And in 3 years, Frank got his favor back... but that's later. We didn't see monetary value of our stuff, if it came down to a buddy needing it and we weren't using it. It was communal hot rodding at its best.

So I picked up the case from Frank and took it home. I can't believe this, but at 19, after just one engine under my belt I knew to de-burr the sharp corners and chips away in the new case. At my parent's kitchen table. Using a whetstone you'd sharpen a pair of grass shears on. I sat there filing away, for hours, then proceeded to follow up with 400 wet dry. I wish I had pictures on the handwork. I look back at the time I used to take, to do stuff like this, and what I realize is how levels of patience for stuff changes. I had unlimited patience to sit there and basically polish all the webbing etc inside that case, but couldn't be bothered to fix the e-brake that had popped apart a year ago (first gear doubles as a parking brake). Or attach the copper ground strap between the nosecone and the pan. (Why am I constantly replacing throttle cables?). In my mind now it was just a matter of hot-tanking the case and bolting it up with parts inside. Easy.

The next day the case rode in passenger seat of X19 to work with me. Summer mornings in Pleasanton were typically warm and cloudless, but not hot, until 11:00am or so. So targa top stayed in the front trunk. I was flying high, summertime, free bad-ass case riding where a chick should be, targa top stowed, Jane's Addiction live album pouring from the stock hopeless Fiat speakers. Air drumming to "Whores" and living life, on my way to my dream job, gonna get my case cleaned, gonna be running 13's by Sunday this weekend, life was as good as it could get. Mentally I went over and over, the list of stuff that needed to be done. Clean the case, bring home all the bearings, a gasket set ("I know that number... 111198007A, I'm a parts genius"), get my heads bored for 94's, hell- I'll spring for new windage pushrod tubes. Case of non-detergent Kendall. Probably put new cradle mounts in......   Crap... exhaust. I don't have a merged exhaust. And Buggy House didn't stock them at the time. Son of a b-



« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 23:11:13 pm by Jim Ratto » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2016, 05:18:05 am »

Thanks for sharing this Jim. I know how long it takes to put all this down on "paper" and it is totally appreciated. Thank you.
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2016, 05:47:27 am »

"THAT'S ALL YOU NEED!!!" I've driven by said shop every day multiple times for the last 9 years working at their local fire station.  The memories are awesome and Jim the way you're able to put them to words is amazing and couldn't come at a better time.  I've pulled my head out of my @$$ and finally gotten back into the VW scene after about 12-14 years of lurking "The Lounge" and others with no running car.  Keep them coming Jim, it truly is awesome to reminisce.
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2016, 06:46:17 am »

Love the bit about bad ass rides having merged headers - the first exhaust I ever fitted to my beetle was a 1 5/8" Berg merged. The engine was a 1300 single port...
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2016, 07:51:51 am »

Cool reading Jim  Cheesy Grin
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2016, 12:52:46 pm »

cool as always!  Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2016, 16:43:27 pm »

"THAT'S ALL YOU NEED!!!" I've driven by said shop every day multiple times for the last 9 years working at their local fire station.  The memories are awesome and Jim the way you're able to put them to words is amazing and couldn't come at a better time.  I've pulled my head out of my @$$ and finally gotten back into the VW scene after about 12-14 years of lurking "The Lounge" and others with no running car.  Keep them coming Jim, it truly is awesome to reminisce.


Mike, good to hear you've hung around. I talked to Geoff a bunch last week and he mentioned you were getting into trouble with these cars again. Made me feel good to hear that. he mentioned you still have the motor and trans from the '60. Cool deal.

I remember one day, towards the end of my career at the shop, Darrell stopped by with Naval and had dropped off a large Canton-Mecca filter screwed to a big filter adapter with AN10 nipples in it, and a rod bolt stretch gauge. While we were bullsh#tting over the counter, Jerry walked up and saw the stuff and just had to walk over... "What in the Christ are you guys gonna try to do with that stuff? Every time you guys get together, another god#m scheme comes up. Why in the f=ck do you think you need that crap, you're not goin' to god#m Indianapolis!!! And is somebody gonna answer line 3, somebody's dyin' on hold. Where the hell is Geoff?" (pen clicking)

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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2016, 22:29:48 pm »

"THAT'S ALL YOU NEED!!!" I've driven by said shop every day multiple times for the last 9 years working at their local fire station.  The memories are awesome and Jim the way you're able to put them to words is amazing and couldn't come at a better time.  I've pulled my head out of my @$$ and finally gotten back into the VW scene after about 12-14 years of lurking "The Lounge" and others with no running car.  Keep them coming Jim, it truly is awesome to reminisce.


Mike, good to hear you've hung around. I talked to Geoff a bunch last week and he mentioned you were getting into trouble with these cars again. Made me feel good to hear that. he mentioned you still have the motor and trans from the '60. Cool deal.

I remember one day, towards the end of my career at the shop, Darrell stopped by with Naval and had dropped off a large Canton-Mecca filter screwed to a big filter adapter with AN10 nipples in it, and a rod bolt stretch gauge. While we were bullsh#tting over the counter, Jerry walked up and saw the stuff and just had to walk over... "What in the Christ are you guys gonna try to do with that stuff? Every time you guys get together, another god#m scheme comes up. Why in the f=ck do you think you need that crap, you're not goin' to god#m Indianapolis!!! And is somebody gonna answer line 3, somebody's dyin' on hold. Where the hell is Geoff?" (pen clicking)



I just purchased a '63 sunroof Notchback with a 1914 and 40 Dells that is getting 15x 5.5 and deep 6 heart alloys but will be sitting on the Sprint Stars from the '60 while I figure out the brakes.  I couldn't stand it, let alone drive it, with the randar wheels and sitting in the weeds.  Ironically the guy I bought it from lived right around the corner from Darrell's house.  I bought it for a most of the time driver while I do my $100 '65 "barn find" in a more traditional "Cal Look" fashion, BRM's, 48's, Sepia Brown, "fat biscuit" interior.  

Reading that ran chills down my spine, "DRAG HIM OUT TO THE STREET, DONT LET THAT F$&^*R DIE IN HERE!!!!"  Please keep the memories coming.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 22:32:42 pm by Mike P » Logged
Jim Ratto
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« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2016, 19:28:27 pm »

Summer months 1990, Punk Rock and the Fiat
"First rule is: The laws of Germany!
Second rule is: Be nice to Mommy!
Third rule is: Don't talk to Commies!
Fourth rule is: Eat kosher salami!"

Part of the early 1990 "anthem" was certainly punctuated, for Frank and I by the tinny buzzsaw of early Ramones albums. The short 3-chord songs were best played (too) loud and just seemed to meld nicely with the lack of responsibility and the abundance of freedom that seemed to be around every corner. We both were making decent teenage incomes and weren't chained to scholastic endeavors, or worse yet, attention-magnet, remora-like girlfriends. The Ramones made music one didn't need to think about. It was loud and annoyed those that needed to be annoyed. Other choice bands during this time were Jane's Addiction (during their musical peak), Stone Roses, Sonic Youth, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mudhoney, The Misfits, Bauhaus, Syd Barrett solo stuff, in addition to old Stones' albums, very early Pink Floyd stuff (especially soundtrack from More album, and live Careful with that Axe, Eugene track) and The Doors. But I'd say most of that spring and summer was dominated by a wretched excess of songs like Rockaway Beach, Judy is a Punk, Up the Beach, Three Days and Ted Just Admit it. The then new "Goo" album and Bad Moon Rising album, both from Sonic Youth were in the mix as well.

As mentioned when I last posted, the summer was soaring along, money in my pocket, big engine parts multiplying all around me and I was becoming more and more entrenched in the VW parts business as the days went by. Nineteen years old, and now filled with a sense of purpose and hard-headed determination. In my nineteen year old mind, it was simple, buy the right parts, clean them, and bolt them into my car, and it would be that easy. Bring the revs up, step off the clutch and blast off into the 13-sec inner circle. Frank and I had found boxes of 1970's Hot VW's neatly organized behind the counter of Buggy House, all separated by year. I'd ask Jerry "Can I borrow a couple of these for a night?" To be honest, I doubt if Jerry paid attention if they were the newest issues then out or the old dusty dog-eared ones the shop had been saving since about 1970. I'd bring them home and look for mention of fast street cars. Some of the cars I read about not only ran deep into the 13's but were doing so with 1700, 1776 and 1835cc engines! Every once in a while you'd see some old yellow and grey faded picture of a stripped down street sedan wearing those same BRM wheels like Gary Berg's. A rewiring of my brain began to take place. Things that made up my day, which to the casual observer, were as unrelated as they possibly could be, began to link up in my way of thinking. These old black and white pictures of BRM-shod sedans from 25-30 yr prior, lined up in the summer haze, with starbursts of sunlight bouncing from their paint-jobs seemed to conjure an entire environment in my head. Almost like a movie that had never been filmed (but should have). I didn't know who had once owned or raced these cars, but all of the sudden these guys were a band of outlaw heroes to me. Everybody that was into cars, knew a 13 second ET was serious. Anybody in high school that had spent money at Super Shops or Vic Hubbard claimed that either their car was 13 sec material, or would be soon. And being the dorky kid that drove the underdog VW at school, I wasn't about to be outdone. The V8 crowd would be on notice.... and soon.

But as I mentioned a few days back, I was header-less. And more importantly, I had a stock transaxle in my car, and not a healthy one. The previous 1641 in my car was enough to snap the flange off the nosecone, and burn up a few 200mm clutch discs. In my mind the pending 94 x 74 would have no problem chewing the stock, original trans into a paste of 75/90 and gear teeth. Now what?



« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 23:11:54 pm by Jim Ratto » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2016, 01:31:51 am »

Wow, i can literally hear Jerry's voice in my head while reading this.  I wish I had a quarter of the memory for detail you have.  I can't remember most of what i did last year much less 25+ years ago.  I'll say it again, you should have a column in Road and Track.
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2016, 20:03:53 pm »

So, now what? Grin Grin Grin
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