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Author Topic: Earl McMills  (Read 12339 times)
Sarge
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« on: November 05, 2007, 23:58:48 pm »

All of us have heard of Dean Lowry, Berg, Vittone but what about Earl McMills?  I was talking to Mike Mahaffey last night at Nick's and Earl's name came up and it brought back a few (very) old memories.  The very first stroker crank Mike bought was a welded piece that lasted only a few runs before giving up.  Ron Fleming knew of Earl...that he had "stuff" in his small garage to make VW's haul ass.  So, Ron and Mike paid Earl a visit and Mike left with an 82mm SPG stroker crank, and in later trips, dual port heads and even a limited slip differential.  I made the trip once and bought an intake manifold for my newly aquired Zenith 32NDIX.  I ran into Ron at Drag Day last weekend and he showed me some old stuff he'd dug up out of the atic recently...one was a picture of Earl.
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 00:12:19 am »

was that the guy up in Van Nuys?
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Sarge
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 00:26:44 am »

was that the guy up in Van Nuys?

Yes...could have been Inglewood, too.  Hard to remember.
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nicolas
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 08:34:15 am »

there should be some good stories about him as well. there are probally some people who have done a lot for the callook-scene in general without being really a part of it, by being in clubs and having a callook. it's nice to see that these people are not forgotten

btw, that looks like a very nice white sunroof notch next to him. makes me drool a little.

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johnl
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 21:13:43 pm »

was that the guy up in Van Nuys?

Yes...could have been Inglewood, too.  Hard to remember.

Earl McMills was located in Inglewood when I was there.  It was a home built in the 1920-s or early 30's with a machine shop on the back of his garage.  This was a guy who I'm sure has passed on that should have been given more status for what he offered back in the early days of VW performance. 

I've heard that Earl was instrumental in putting Tom Leib (SCAT) into business.  Maybe someone can add to this??
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
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JS
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012, 21:34:28 pm »

I believe Keithīs first book mentions him briefly along the lines of what Sarge recalls and places him in Inglewood?
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johnl
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 21:50:33 pm »

I believe Keithīs first book mentions him briefly along the lines of what Sarge recalls and places him in Inglewood?

Yes, Earl is mentioned briefly in Keith's book BUT he offered much more than he has ever been credited for.
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
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JS
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2012, 22:42:44 pm »

I believe Keithīs first book mentions him briefly along the lines of what Sarge recalls and places him in Inglewood?

Yes, Earl is mentioned briefly in Keith's book BUT he offered much more than he has ever been credited for.

Letīs hear it!!!

Ronīs pic above is the same as in the book as I recall, anyone with some New Old Stories?  Cheesy
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sn0tjockey
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2014, 23:47:36 pm »

I'm Earl's grandson and joined this group specifically so I could see the photo above.  It's amazing and brings so many memories.  I always enjoyed our time together and "playing" in his shop.  I usually spent summers at the house and some of you probably saw me running around if you had stopped by in the 70's and early 80's.  I was too young to fully appreciate how my grandfather contributed to the early days of VW performance.  I had a few VWs but unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to work on them with my grandfather.  The things I remember the most were visiting a bigger shop with a dragster, maybe Dick Herr?, and "Speedy" who drove an early model 911.

If anyone has any other photos or anything interesting to say, please chime in. 
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Sarge
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2014, 04:33:20 am »


I'm Earl's grandson and joined this group specifically so I could see the photo above.  It's amazing and brings so many memories.  I always enjoyed our time together and "playing" in his shop.  I usually spent summers at the house and some of you probably saw me running around if you had stopped by in the 70's and early 80's.  I was too young to fully appreciate how my grandfather contributed to the early days of VW performance.  I had a few VWs but unfortunately didn't have the opportunity to work on them with my grandfather.  The things I remember the most were visiting a bigger shop with a dragster, maybe Dick Herr?, and "Speedy" who drove an early model 911.

If anyone has any other photos or anything interesting to say, please chime in. 


 Shocked I'm speechless!  WELCOME! Cool
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nicolas
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 08:03:58 am »

hello, welcome!

maybe someone on here as more picture and info, but can i ask you start digging in the old family albums? maybe you can find some pictures and stories as well.
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johnl
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2014, 16:22:41 pm »

Ditto on the Welcome.  Your Grandfather was never given the credit for his efforts in VW performance that he should have been awarded.  Can you tell us of his life prior to becoming involved with the VW world?
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
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sn0tjockey
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 20:21:37 pm »

As to the past, my grandfather was originally from Chicago but relocated to Inglewood and retired from Northrop as a machinist.  His specific occupation was in the manufacture and inspection of aeronautical parts.  I think his biggest involvement was with the F5-B Freedom Fighter.  He retired from Northrop and had two homes in the Inglewood area.  One was closer to an industrial area and used for storage.  I remember a blue Manx beetle parked stored in the garage, I would give most anything to see that again.  The other home was located near the intersection of LaBrea and Fairview, and this is the location of his personal residence and machine shop.  The photo above was taken in the driveway between my grandparent's house and the neighbor's house with the garage/shop behind the person working the camera.  The Squareback and beetle on the left were his, the dune buggy on the right was probably belonged to a visitor or the person taking the photo.  I have another photo of myself in their back yard on a 2-stroke Maverik trail bike, and the same Squareback is in the background.

My grandparents gave me a 71 Beetle when I turned 16 y/o.  Fantastic car and a pleasure to drive, but the gift came with strings.  Granddad wanted me to keep it stock, which isn't exactly what a teenager wants to hear.  It shouldn't have came as such a shock but his VWs were stock as well, which was certainly ironic given his involvement with VW performance.  We drifted apart a bit during a time which could have been spent digging through VW engines, then he suddenly passed away 3 years later.  My grandfather didn't boast, my grandmother wasn't nostalgic, and I was too young.  I have the feeling there was a side to his life I didn't fully comprehend or appreciate.

I've been toying with the idea of getting a VW for my 50th and talked with my mother about granddad, which is how I started down this path.  She mentioned he was talked about online and mentioned in a magazine article, probably Car & Driver or Hot VWs.  It seems he was mentioned in one of Keith Seume's books as well.  I'd appreciate it if anyone could point me in the direction of an issue or book title.  Photos like the one above would be great too, but I know this is like a needle in a haystack.  I'm happy with what I've found so far. 

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Rick Meredith
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 22:56:35 pm »

This is the book we're talking about .
California Look VW by Keith Seume.

It's commonly called "The Cal-Look Bible."
It's no longer in print but you can find used copies of it.
Usually around $50+ depending on condition.

[ Attachment: You are not allowed to view attachments ]
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sn0tjockey
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2014, 02:32:03 am »

Thanks Rick, I had been looking on Amazon a few days ago and had a feeling that was the book.  I'll find myself a used copy.

I think he may have worked on some of the charter or early members VWs in the DKP car club.  I'm mostly guessing because of timing and the fact he wasn't very far from Santa Monica.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone had a story attached to the framed photo above.
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Jason Foster
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« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2014, 06:06:55 am »

So cool.  WELCOME

Nice to see the Lounge still has "it" this stuff here is what this place is about.
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Neil Davies
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2014, 09:30:38 am »

Rick, it's the second book that has the story of Earl McMills in it! The one with Sarge's car on the cover!
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2014, 10:08:08 am »

Rick, it's the second book that has the story of Earl McMills in it! The one with Sarge's car on the cover!

Found here on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Story-California-Look-VW/dp/1906133085/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419844015&sr=1-1

pages 12-13 has the photo and some history about buying a SPG crank etc
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Sarge
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« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2014, 15:37:48 pm »


Thanks Rick, I had been looking on Amazon a few days ago and had a feeling that was the book.  I'll find myself a used copy.

I think he may have worked on some of the charter or early members VWs in the DKP car club.  I'm mostly guessing because of timing and the fact he wasn't very far from Santa Monica.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone had a story attached to the framed photo above.


For what it's worth, you might want to attend a DKP cruise night at Farmer Boys in Fullerton.  These are held the first Sunday of each month.  You might get
the chance to chat with Ron Fleming or Mike Mahaffey; two guys who are seldom on this forum but had dealings with your grandpa back in the day.  I do remember
a visit like I mentioned at the start of this thread but that's it; it was a long time ago! Wink  You can find find more cruise night info at  http://dkpcarclub.com/blog/home/
I hope to meet you one of these days....
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nlvtinman
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2014, 17:55:01 pm »

Along with this interesting topic, it's good to see you back here Sarge.  So many of those who can tell the real details of times gone by have left this forum.
Steve
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Sarge
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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2014, 19:14:58 pm »


Along with this interesting topic, it's good to see you back here Sarge.  So many of those who can tell the real details of times gone by have left this forum.
Steve


 Wink Thanks, Steve!
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2014, 23:52:11 pm »

Along with this interesting topic, it's good to see you back here Sarge.  So many of those who can tell the real details of times gone by have left this forum.
Steve

I second that. Nice having the guys here that started this whole mess.  Smiley
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WCB Hitler's Hot Rod
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2014, 01:05:11 am »

Its great to go back in time to see how all this originated and reading about the involvement between the founding fathers ; if you will. Great thread! Thank you!
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Rick Meredith
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2014, 02:11:47 am »

Rick, it's the second book that has the story of Earl McMills in it! The one with Sarge's car on the cover!

Crap... sorry about that. I remembered reading it but somehow I thought it was in the first.
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2014, 03:54:38 am »

Sarge, thanks for the invite and I'll try to swing DKP at Farmer Boy's some day.  Got a baby on the way and some other things to take care of, but I'll get around to it in due time.  I may drag along my mom along as well as another friend who used to have a Ghia which was an early project car of Chris Addington.  We both are talking about getting back into vintage VWs.

Here's a link to a YouTube of Chris Addington's Ghia.  The Ghia was featured in VW Trendz and it was a big deal here in Bakersfield at the time.

http://youtu.be/ClbSpALMGGE

As for the book, I bought the 2nd copy off Amazon.  It'll be really nice to see even if the reference to my grandfather isn't very lengthy.  I'm sure the rest will be a good read too.
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Sarge
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« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2014, 14:32:37 pm »


  ...."Nice having the guys here that started this whole mess."  Smiley


  Kiss  Smiley

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sn0tjockey
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2015, 04:46:57 am »

I just received my copy of The Story of the California Look VW and read through the pages which included a couple paragraphs about my grandfather.  Thanks to everyone here who took the time to remember Earl and to point me in the right direction.  The book also mentions Isky, who was a friend of my grandfather and lives nearby. 

On a side note, I sometimes advanced the bit when my grandfather was boring and honing engines.  I was just a child turning a wheel, but I was there.  I wonder if some of those engines are still on the street...

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johnl
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2015, 04:50:59 am »

I just received my copy of The Story of the California Look VW and read through the pages which included a couple paragraphs about my grandfather.  Thanks to everyone here who took the time to remember Earl and to point me in the right direction.  The book also mentions Isky, who was a friend of my grandfather and lives nearby. 

On a side note, I sometimes advanced the bit when my grandfather was boring and honing engines.  I was just a child turning a wheel, but I was there.  I wonder if some of those engines are still on the street...



Glad you found a copy but sad there isn't more about Earl within.  Possibly you can share how he became involved with Volkswagens and making more power.
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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 #28 on: January 01, 2015, 05:41:42 am »

I've found this for those of you who have any interest.  I believe this to be the correct person.


Earl D Mcmills was born on June 03, 1912 and died on October 03, 1988 at the age of 76. Earl last resided in Inglewood, California in Los Angeles County.
 
Name Earl Mcmills
Find Earl Mcmills Death Records
Date of Birth June 03, 1912
Date of Death October 03, 1988
Age at Death 76
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
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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.
Fastbrit
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2015, 12:11:46 pm »

Glad you found a copy but sad there isn't more about Earl within.[/i][/b]
That's probably because the old guys never told me anything more. In fact, Ron and Sarge were the only guys who mentioned Earl when doing my original research – I have it on tape (along with about 16 or more hours of interviews with everyone including Dean Lowry, Gene Berg, etc). Wink
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