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Author Topic: Who Was Gene Berg & Gene Berg Enterprises Today  (Read 12575 times)
Shubee2 (DSK)
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« on: February 06, 2008, 16:14:14 pm »

Who Was Gene Berg & Gene Berg Enterprises Today

Gene’s love affair with the VW Beetle started in 1956. From that time on he worked on hopping up and racing VWs and supporting events all over the world in one form or another. Some of his first experiences were not all that good and even stock VW parts were impossible to get except from the dealer. Everything that was needed had to be fabricated from nothing or another automobile part had to be modified to work. At that time, he was only interested in making his personal VW run faster. He and Dee had been married for a couple of years, and they had 3 sons. Gene depended on his car for daily transportation so it had to maintain its full reliability.

Soon some of Gene’s friends requested that he rework their VWs because they saw that his was far faster and still retained its life. He did this as a sideline from 1957 until 1961. During that time Gene met Andy Knebel. Andy had his own business in Renton, Washington and did work for Gene. Gene then went to work for VW, working his way up to being the service advisor in just 6 months. Then, Gene opened his own VW shop in late 1962 in Renton, Washington. It was called Gene's Service. He did repair, hop up, body, and paint work. Needless to say, it was not long until he had a dream of a fire breathing Ford and Chevy eater. By 1962 Gene was able to hold his own with his 1961 Beetle with a hopped up Porsche engine. Gene soon discovered he could not afford Porsche parts, so he started making the VW engine into a faster engine. He built his all out VW powered racecar in 1963. Gene ran it until he and his family moved to California in 1969 to join the newly formed Deano (Lowry) Dyno Soar as a partner. Gene was unable to fit in with that arrangement so; 6 months later in December of 1969, he moved on to open Gene Berg Enterprises. Gene had been manufacturing the drill press operated flycutter, the boss cutter, sumps, intake manifolds, linkages, close ratio gears, and much more for a number of years even before moving to California. Gene was more interested in the performance products than working on the cars. He soon stopped doing all engine and transaxle assembly except for his own use and those for test applications.

Fortunately, for the industry, Joe Vittone, owner of the original Empi (not Mr. Bug) and Dean Lowry, his R&D manager, had similar interests and dreams in the late 50's. All with one exception, to develop a market and sell products to the consumer. Joe, like Gene, was committed to an excellent quality of products, which provided more performance, longer life and worked properly. Dean who was committed to providing R&D with the same quality supported this. Dean was the head of Empi's race program as well and must be credited along with Joe as the innovator of many of today's products and technology. Many of the original Empi products from years past are still demanding up to 500% more than they originally sold for new in the 60's. Without Empi and Gene and Dee’s early commitments of quality, it is unlikely that this industry would have survived to this day. People would have quickly become fed up with poor quality products and returned to Chevys and Fords.

Through the years Andy & his wife Elaine spent winters in California and worked at Gene Berg Enterprises. During this time Andy developed various tooling and machines to manufacture products. This tooling and the machines he manufactured are still in use today to manufacture our parts. It was always Gene’s wish that Andy would move to California and work full time with him. Andy and his wife didn’t want to leave family in Washington.

In 1988 Gene had his first heart problems. Then in 1995 he had a couple of strokes. He continued to have problems and in December 1995 he needed heart surgery. The surgery went fine but he never recovered and Gene died January 6, 1996.

After Gene died, Dee again approached Andy and Elaine. They made the commitment to make the move in 1996. Andy is an experienced machinist, innovator and an inventor. He has developed his skills using the computer as it applies to the industry today, and has experience in computer operated automation. If something needs to be developed just tell him and he will fulfill the need. Quality has always been very important to Andy too.

Commitment To Quality

Gene’s vision of having more longevity and performance never diminished. The commitment to producing products that fit, work properly and provide as good or better life than the stock part they replace, as well as value for the money, continues today. Fortunately, for VW industry, Gene Berg Enterprises has grown every year since Gene and Dee started it in 1969.

Yes, most companies today are strictly in the marketing business, selling inferior copies (often costing more than our better quality products) that are made to maximize profit margins. Yes, these parts will often run and work; however, longevity and dollar value is at best marginal and often just plain horrible.

Unlike competitors Gene Berg drove and used his products on VWs to be sure they were dependable for daily transportation before he would sell to customers. Gene Berg Enterprises is the only company in this business today that can make the claim of not selling anything they do not use themselves. Needless to say, through research, development and racing programs Gene contributed an extensive number of the products used in the industry today.

Today we are proud that we are the developers and manufacturers of many of our American Made products and that our quality control is superior to all others in this business. The reliability from our race program speaks for itself with not one single failure in our last 2 years of racing and more first place wins and runner ups than any other single VW Beetle in history. Our 1665 pound racecar and Gary held the 1992 VW Super Street record at 10.39 ET. Today this car has been retired and plans are in the works to build another car for racing. We have demonstrated more power per cubic inch from a normally aspirated gas engine than anyone else has. We have developed race products that provide 10 to 15 years of service, some in race applications with tests currently going on, and they still have not failed.

The original modified genuine VW cylinder heads that Gene made for his racecar in 1974 are still running in the 10's today. Our race program allowed us to develop quality products that withstand the rigors of competitive racing, yet are reasonably priced for daily driving. We have addressed  product development with the same view that any successful automotive  manufacturer has. This enables us to provide engines of larger sizes with no loss in reliability. After all, if Chevy can offer 265, 283, 327, 350, 400, etc. cubic inch engines with total reliability, so can we, with a VW engine. By engineering all of our products and combinations, just like Chevy, Ford,  Porsche, VW, etc., we are able to provide this reliability to our customers with strokes up to 86mm and bores up to 90.5mm.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 16:17:14 pm by Shubee2 (DSK) » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 17:20:37 pm »

I have a few Gene Berg catalogs too.
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 17:24:03 pm »

I have a few Gene Berg catalogs too.

Me too... Wink Grin Grin

Frank
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 17:25:02 pm »

I think every one of my Berg catalogues says exactly the same thing too.
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 17:28:12 pm »

I think every one of my Berg catalogues says exactly the same thing too.
NOT Everybody Dose !! Grin Grin
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 17:37:44 pm »

I think every one of my Berg catalogues says exactly the same thing too.
NOT Everybody Dose !! Grin Grin
                                             Translation?Huh
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 17:43:35 pm »

I used to dose. But I kept forgetting to do things.
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2008, 18:07:04 pm »

 I also have a few of them, I just pick-up a  1970 GB catalog.  very cool catalog to say the least..( Note the speedwell linkage )




« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 18:16:17 pm by ST DRAGN » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 18:15:13 pm »

I also have a few of them, I just pick-up a  1970 GB catalog.  very cool catalog to say the least..






Certainly doesn't have the polish of their later offerings.
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2008, 18:26:27 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.

Also a few years later I think Gene was into Kapro Computers and sold them and components along with the VW parts.  I remember this from long time friend Doug (Underdog Owner) Gordon who still works at JPL in Pasadena, CA.  Doug was always affectionaltely known to us as the "MASS"  due to his size.  If any of you ever get the oppertunity to meet him you will see his heart and soul are as big as he is.  If you don't believe me just ask Ron Fleming, aka Big Al Tamming!!   Grin Grin Grin

John Lazenby
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2008, 18:58:25 pm »



     Cool post Shubee. I have a collection of Their catalogues and High Performance parts   including probably one of the very first Gene Berg cross bar linkage.

      Frenchy
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johnl
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2008, 19:26:16 pm »

Well, we've talked about Gene Berg and Deano, but what about Earl McMills (sp).  I remember my first ride in a car with his cylinders.  It was like riding in a Satrun Rocket compared to what we were currently doing. 

Only was there once, but I remember him being a retired machinist from one of the aircraft companies.  He was located in Englewood, CA or that general area.  All of this was done at his home.  You went through his garage to a shop built on the back and there is where he cast cylinders and who knows what elese.

I think Mike Mahafee and possibly Ron Fleming along with Don Crane were there some.  I'm sure Earl has gone to the big VW in the sky as he would probably be 100+ in years by now.

This was a guy that was instrumental in get HP out of the engines, but you never hear much about him.

John Lazenby
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 21:13:08 pm »

There are a lot of folks here that may never have met Gene.  I feel honored that I could call him a friend.  I was devastated when he passed away.  I got to become friends with Andy as well and miss him like I miss Gene.  It was so cool to stop bye the shop and go find Andy to see what he was working on.  He was such an innovator.  It sure would be cool to have both of them there now doing what they did best!!!
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Udo
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 21:21:51 pm »

There are some parts that i don't want to miss , so i hope they can keep on making their good stuff. It is not easy to sell good quality parts in times when all that cheap chinese junk takes the market . I still love most of their parts !

Udo
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2008, 07:24:09 am »

God, I miss Gene. One of the many great people that I was honored to know, back when I had my aircooled cars. He gave me lots of valuable advice when I started building engines. Great family, too... Gene's sons introduced me to English biers. Samuel Smith, at one of their parties. Seems like just yesterday a few of us were there, including Dyno Don Chamberlain(sp?).

GOOD TIMES and AWESOME MEMORIES.
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2008, 18:05:51 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.

Also a few years later I think Gene was into Kapro Computers and sold them and components along with the VW parts.  I remember this from long time friend Doug (Underdog Owner) Gordon who still works at JPL in Pasadena, CA.  Doug was always affectionaltely known to us as the "MASS"  due to his size.  If any of you ever get the oppertunity to meet him you will see his heart and soul are as big as he is.  If you don't believe me just ask Ron Fleming, aka Big Al Tamming!!   Grin Grin Grin

John Lazenby

Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 18:07:44 pm by Sarge » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2008, 18:09:08 pm »

A catalog from 1996...nice line-up out front!
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2008, 18:21:14 pm »

And to MHO, Clyde should be back in the shop and make it work again. Their always out of the most selling parts like pulleys, linkages or sumps. What the hell is Doug trying to proove overthere.
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Rick Meredith
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2008, 18:22:11 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.

Also a few years later I think Gene was into Kapro Computers and sold them and components along with the VW parts.  I remember this from long time friend Doug (Underdog Owner) Gordon who still works at JPL in Pasadena, CA.  Doug was always affectionaltely known to us as the "MASS"  due to his size.  If any of you ever get the oppertunity to meet him you will see his heart and soul are as big as he is.  If you don't believe me just ask Ron Fleming, aka Big Al Tamming!!   Grin Grin Grin

John Lazenby

Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.

Sarge -- The Man of Many Talents!  Wink
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2008, 18:25:49 pm »

Quote
A catalog from 1996...nice line-up out front!

I especially like that catalog, because my car is there on the cover and on the inside cover.  Gene took that picture himself after about 25 cars arrived from Arizona for the '95 Classic.  One of the guys was towing his bus and the tow bar broke.  Gene took it inside and welded it for him personally.
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Don Bulitta
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2008, 20:58:15 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.

Also a few years later I think Gene was into Kapro Computers and sold them and components along with the VW parts.  I remember this from long time friend Doug (Underdog Owner) Gordon who still works at JPL in Pasadena, CA.  Doug was always affectionaltely known to us as the "MASS"  due to his size.  If any of you ever get the oppertunity to meet him you will see his heart and soul are as big as he is.  If you don't believe me just ask Ron Fleming, aka Big Al Tamming!!   Grin Grin Grin

John Lazenby

Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.







That explains why the car is not Black.... Wink


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Frank LUX
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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2008, 21:07:16 pm »

Out of my Collection... Grin Grin Grin

Anyone Ever Seen this Before??? Wink Grin Grin

BTW...I Think this is better and Worth a lot more to ME than the the Oldest Berg...Grin Grin Grin

And this Will never be FOR SALE!!!

Frank
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 21:10:32 pm by Frank LUX » Logged

1960 Ragtop, 2332cc, 48 IDA's, Joe Hunt Magneto, someday it will be back...
1953 Split Window, 1799cc, 48 IDA's, Don Zig Magneto,  OG BRM's...in da works...
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« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2008, 21:12:34 pm »

 Shocked Shocked cool that was a project before the paint scheme ,when you had the car Huh
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Frank LUX
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« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2008, 21:15:24 pm »

Shocked Shocked cool that was a project before the paint scheme ,when you had the car Huh

Hey Fab's Check out the Sign writting on the Doors, that was not intended for the Clyde Car... Wink Grin Grin

If it would have happened the Car would have been Black AND Yellow... Wink Grin Grin

Frank
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1960 Ragtop, 2332cc, 48 IDA's, Joe Hunt Magneto, someday it will be back...
1953 Split Window, 1799cc, 48 IDA's, Don Zig Magneto,  OG BRM's...in da works...
SumFun Racecar, 2332cc, 48 IDA's, Magneto
Sarge
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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2008, 21:33:54 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.

Also a few years later I think Gene was into Kapro Computers and sold them and components along with the VW parts.  I remember this from long time friend Doug (Underdog Owner) Gordon who still works at JPL in Pasadena, CA.  Doug was always affectionaltely known to us as the "MASS"  due to his size.  If any of you ever get the oppertunity to meet him you will see his heart and soul are as big as he is.  If you don't believe me just ask Ron Fleming, aka Big Al Tamming!!   Grin Grin Grin

John Lazenby

Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.







That explains why the car is not Black.... Wink



 Shocked Grin

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Donny B.
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2008, 04:47:03 am »

Quote
Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.

So would they be originals if the address was on Lemon?  If so I have one that Clyde gave me years ago and I do cherish it!
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Don Bulitta
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Ivan
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« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2008, 20:27:39 pm »

I think I'm correct on this one.  Jim Edmiston was the guy that drew up the original Gene Berg sticker back in 1969.  Jim, if I'm wrong on this one please let me know.  He also did one of two signs that were displayed with my car.  I still have them both today.


John Lazenby

Your correct, John...it was me  Roll Eyes Wink  These are re-pops...wish they were originals.


The old NOS Gene Berg sticker I have just dug out of my desk looks pretty much the same - it's obviously very old - but still in good shape. The main difference at a glance is that the shop was located at 784 NO. LEMON and the phone number was 538 - 2067.

Sorry to photos are so terrible, I just shot them on my old cell phone and sent them to my computer via bluetooth.

Does this mean it's one of the 1969 decals?
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Harry/FDK
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« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2008, 21:10:12 pm »

Could we stay to the topic please and stop jerking over catalogs and decals.
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Ivan
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« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2008, 21:23:56 pm »

Could we stay to the topic please and stop jerking over catalogs and decals.


Sorry, have I totally missed the point of the post you've just made? Or...
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Harry/FDK
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« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2008, 19:40:52 pm »

Sorry Ivan, seems i missed the point. Thought this topic was leading to the products Gene has developed over the years, and how things are getting downward since he (and Clyde) are not running the shop. (Gene Berg Enterprises TODAY)
Excuse me.
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