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Author Topic: The Mark Kessenich thread!  (Read 14063 times)
John Rayburn
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« on: September 05, 2008, 06:10:16 am »

Mark, can you give us the history and incarnations of the orange '66. In my opinion, one of THE best Cal Lookers ever built. A bunch of photos would be nice , too!
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Fastbrit
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2008, 08:28:21 am »

Yeah, show us your cats!
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So it took some guy 17 years to run 0.31secs quicker and he boasts about it? A case of All Talk and...
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 12:51:07 pm »

Mark WHO?? Huh Grin
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javabug
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2008, 13:14:35 pm »

Who the fk is that???   Huh Wink
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Mike H.

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John Rayburn
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2008, 00:55:03 am »

Hey Mark! You have a thread here that needs some answers from you!
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Sarge
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2008, 04:08:47 am »

Quit stallin' and get the scanner fired up!!! Grin
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2008, 17:11:03 pm »

earth to Mark........
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John Rayburn
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2008, 04:12:00 am »

Mark!!!! Just reminding you !!! There's a thread here that needs your attention! Keith didn't do you in on that last raid, did he?
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Rennsurfer
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2008, 04:16:43 am »

Dang, I was hopin' that this would become forgotten about. Okay... I'll fire up the scanner.

Stray(sic) tuned.
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John Rayburn
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2008, 05:19:50 am »

Drum roll sound effect............................................................................................. Mark?Huh ( Echo )
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Sarge
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2008, 05:37:30 am »

I can't hold my breath much longer... Roll Eyes Grin
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Rennsurfer
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2008, 07:57:05 am »

Well, John... you asked.

 Grin

I was 17 years of age and in 11th grade in high school. One day, in class, my best friend was sitting behind me & taps me on the shoulder and hands me a local newspaper classified section. For Sale: 1966 VW Bug $1,700. I told him that was too much money for my first car. Remember, this is 1979. I was already working at Lakewood skatepark, Bellflower Schwinn, and Der Weinerschnitzel. Making good money for the the era... but I needed $500 more. So one night, my Mom and I drive to Long Beach Press Telegram newspaper where the seller was one of the chief editors. He had the car in the parking lot. I saw it and instantly wanted it. I borrowed the money from my Mom and had her paid back in a couple of months.



At first, I had the car with a single Holley progressive 2 barrel carb, 1,679cc, stock cam, and factory '66-'67 chrome plated wheels with the correct hubcaps. Also had a flat black Talbot side view mirror. The interior was just a basic brown vinyl  with brown carpet and a Grant steering wheel. AM/FM standard issue radio and a black chrome Hurst shifter with the wood knob.





S&S header with single quiet pack and alloy t-bars. The front beam had the Select-A-Drop (hated that thing) with super stiff front shocks. Rode like crap, but it was my first car and I drove it EVERYwhere. The car came factory painted white with a brown interior. I'm guessing that someone special ordered the interior color... I'm basing that on the fact that I haven't seen a lot 'em that way. The heater panels below the rear seat and the metal bar above those were factory brown. So I left 'em that way.

Later that year, I met Dave McNew and Mark Ramirez. Mark was president of Der Kleiner Kampfwagens at that time. As time went on, I found a set of used Kadron carbs, 5 Lilligard 8 spoke wheels, VW1300 badge on the decklid, had Suzy at Vee-Dub Seatcovers redo my interior in dark brown naugahyde. Also added European spec headlights. What many people don't know was that the car came with a plexiglas moonroof. Horrible aluminum framed sunroof that got converted to a non-opening eyesore. I hated that thing, so I had Bob Hawley Body Shop in Bellflower remove it and he ended up doing a beautiful job, making the car look like it never had a hole in the roof. Thank God! He used no Bondo... all lead. He was Danny Gabbard before there was Danny. HAHA!! Even did a super trick job on filling the exhaust ports on my rear apron.



At this point, I had the body how I wanted it. So another friend's Dad painted it in his garage. I went to K&K Kolor Automotive Paint in Bellflower and had them mix me a custom orange. Also added a Formuling France steering wheel, European bumpers, dual FourTuned quietpacks and header. My friend, Jim, was stationed in Germany at that time and he'd send me European license plates, headlights, tail lights, manuals, and speedometers. So I took out my U.S. mph one and had my kph one re-calibrated to mph. Painted the needle orange to match my VDO Cockpit gauges and painted the bezel black. Then, I got voted into D.K.K. I was beyond STOKED that day! They were so cool, they even let me in with no headliner. Suzy hadn't done that part yet, because I was having the hole filled in on the roof. A few days later, I had her install a brown matching naugahyde headliner and I put in a black carpet kit on the interior and trunk. Then, I put the club stickers on the quarter windows. I was on top of the world and so happy with what I'd done in a short amount of time. D.K.K. was all about having fun, joking around, and enjoying fast Cal Look Volkswagens. Because of that, I instantly became good friends with many of the members. Just a bunch of young kids havin' a good time. Whether we were cruising Whittier Blvd., racing at Nabisco, at a car show, car rally, or causing mayhem at a swap meet... GOOD TIMES! I painted the 8 spoke wheels Chevy Engine Block Orange to contrast with the body color. Then, I painted the wheels beige, along with the inside of the bumpers and guards.



For a short while, I had 5 Porsche/Fuchs 914 2 Liter wheels and gravel guards, too. What was I thinking? HAHA!! I've always liked those wheels, but never understood why such a great looking forged wheel had such a lame center cap. So, I did what McNew did to his... bought some early Fuchs 911 center caps, removed the clips, and had the lip on the backside milled off and polished along with the wheels. Then, JB Welded the caps onto the wheels and painted the embossed crest and outer ring in dark brown to match my interior. I also painted the inner sides of the spoke holes. You really couldn't see that part unless you were right up on the car.



I added a locking glove box door lock and a locking trunk release knob from a convertible. Also removed all of the EMPI wood knobs, handles, window cranks, and e-brake cover and put in '67 black rubber ones. Changed the shifter knob to a black one, too. Found a set of N.O.S. VW embossed factory rocker threshold trim pieces. I never saw another set like those. After I blew out the original transmission, I replaced it with one from my friend's '67 Ghia. Then, I added reverse lights. Later, I removed the right side one.



By this time, I'd been a mechanic at Les Purnell's German Car Repair, then a parts salesman at Steve's Foreign Car Parts (where Bill & Steve's VW Parts is now), and manager at Long Beach Auto Haus (John Rayburn's second home... HAHA!!) Speaking of John, one of his old friends, Dave R. had a set of early EMPI 5 spoke wheels for sale. So I paid $500 for five wheels. They were pretty worked. The entire wheel finish was just raw & gray... even the lips, so I took them to Les Purnell's shop and he let me borrow his bead blaster. I blasted the centers then sent 'em off to Crystal Polishing in Paramount to have the outter lips re-shaped and polished. I bought a set of original chrome center caps and orange EMPI stickers from Shubee. Gary Berg sold me a N.O.S. EMPI GTV wood steering wheel. I scored a brand new in the box EMPI glass filter (still have that). Found a boat load of N.O.S. EMPI bumper bars at the main Auto Haus warehouse in Buena Park during one of my parts orders for my shop. John came in and picked many sets. Also painted a set of headlight rings to match the body color and added early Porsche 911 European headlight lenses. Also got a set of better riding front shocks. HUGE improvement. Girls actually wanted to ride in my car... finally!



Down the road, I took a stab at building engines in the back of Auto Haus. I built my friend, Al, a fast 1914cc with 48IDA Webers and an Engle 120 or something like that. Anyway, we were blown away at how well and long it ran. After a couple of customer's engines, I decided to build me one from scratch. So I talked to Gene Berg at a VW event and told him that I wanted a mild 1700cc. I took his advice and had everything that I could balanced, blueprinted, cc'd, whatever. That engine ran SO smooth. Upgraded to Treuhaft aluminum manifolds, blueprinted factory oil pump, very mildly ported heads, FourTuned merged header and very tucked dual quietpacks that looked great. Only lightened the flywheel a couple of pounds. Since it was my main daily driver, I wanted a heavy flywheel for climbing hills. I plugged the fresh air ports on the fan shroud and put factory hoses and grommets on. People tripped out on that when I displayed the car. They'd look underneath at the merged header with no heater boxes then back at the engine compartment. PRICELESS! Keep in mind, that even with a few VDO gauges, a 12v Sony stereo (with converter), and tungsten 6v Euro headlight bulbs... this car was 6 volt. The more people that told me to covert it to 12 volt, the more I laughed and told 'em to quit allowing it to affect their lives. HAHA!! Another side note about this engine... there was no chrome on it. What you see that looks like chrome is highly polished raw metal or aluminum. I hated chrome on my engines and still do. The coil was something I was experimenting with, too. I took it over to a friend's shop and bead blasted the blue paint off. Then, clear coated it and added a real N.O.S. Bosch 6v coil sticker. Had tons of compliments on that. The polishing was a pain to keep up with, but totally worth the effort.



It was a very reliable and only car for me from 1979 to 1985. Took it on many roadtrips up and down the west coast. Robert K. Smith approached me at one of the VW events back in the early '80s and he gave me his business card. He wanted to feature the car in Hot VWs. I was beyond honored and flattered that he even considered it. All excited, I detailed the car out. Went cruising on Whittier Blvd. Afterwards, I raced a couple of cars at Nabisco over on Beach Blvd. and Artesia. My last pass, I broke a rocker arm shaft on #3 cyl. Oh well. I limped the car home on streets and stayed off of the freeways. That night, the car was stolen. Thank God that I had a hidden kill switch in the car that no one knew about. Lakewood Sheriff found the car on the next block in the middle of the street. They had taken my spare EMPI 5 spoke, my black chrome Hurst shifter, stereo, and $100 worth of cassette tapes. They also kicked in my hood, decklid and quarter panels. The Sheriff made sure that I got the car home safely. I fixed the rocker shaft. Repaired the body damage the best that I could. It turned out okay... but it was never right again. Eventually, the thieves made a lame mistake by asking my friend, Ray, if he wanted to buy an EMPI 5 spoke. Ray recognized the wheel as being mine. He called me and I traced the guy to Mr. Bill's VW Tow & Repair in Downey. Got my spare wheel and tire back. Bought a new chrome Hurst shifter, replaced the stereo, and called Robert K. Smith. Told him that I wasn't going to go forth with the photo shoot. Thankfully, Dyno Don was a big part of getting Mr. Bill's shut down for good. The cops went in there and found out that it was a full blown father/son theft ring going on. Complete with bodies and pans laying around with the v.i.n. tags all being swapped. You reap what you sow.

Like an idiot, I woke up one day... looked outside at my newly tricked out brand new 1984 VW Rabbit GTI and sold my orange '66. Something I'll never forgive myself for. My original plan was to put that car in storage, then pull it out when I had kids that were old enough to enjoy it with me again. (sigh). It was a stupid rash decision that I made and a couple of days after the car was gone, I realized what I had done. Right before I sold the car, I removed the EMPI steering wheel, fuel filter, and 5 spokes. Sold the steering wheel to Rich Kimball for $200 and the wheels went for $800 for all five without tires in The Recycler... they were gone in two days. I was working at Circle Porsche+Audi in the Parts Dept. with Don Metz at that time. They let me have a 3 spoke Porsche 911 steering wheel and a set of N.O.S. 356B wheels that were still in the factory silver finish. Those items went on the car when I sold it. I took out an ad in The Recycler and in two days, it was gone.

Last that I checked, the plates are still in use. Both of my '66 Bugs had their original black CA plates. I'd love to find that car and see what condition it's in. Back in 1985, I said that if I ever got another Bug, I'd get a '67, '68, or a '69. Restore it stock, lower it, and build a 1914cc engine for it. Thanks to Schwimmer, Meredith, and Rayburn... I got a second chance. They pulled me outta air-cooled VW retirement and now I'm YOUR problem. What's really bizarre is that my same friend, Bob, (the one that found my '66 for me) also happened to be on the computer right when my '67 popped up on The Samba. I was stuck in traffic, after work, and he called me. Told me about it and we ended up going out to the desert and bought the car the next day for $3,850. But that's another story for another time. The point is... Bob and I have known each other since I was 9 and he was ten. He's literally had over 100 cars, most of 'em old VWs that he's restored. We've been through everything together and it's weird that history repeated itself, this year, when I scored my current Bug. Thanks again, Bob!







« Last Edit: February 03, 2010, 04:50:39 am by DKK_Fred » Logged

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Fastbrit
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2008, 08:40:27 am »

Very cool stories, Fred, er, Mark, er, kitty kisser.  Grin
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Der Kleiner Panzers VW Club    
So it took some guy 17 years to run 0.31secs quicker and he boasts about it? A case of All Talk and...
Rennsurfer
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2008, 08:41:35 am »

Very cool stories, Fred, er, Mark, er, kitty kisser.  Grin

HAHA!! Thanks, Keith. You're alright... even though you like cats.

 Grin
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Diederick/DVK
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2008, 09:11:20 am »

thanks for the good read mark! cool story!!

i'd even like to see more pics of it!! Grin
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Diederick
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Sarge
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2008, 13:03:02 pm »

WOW, worth the wait!  Nice job, Mark. Cool Cool Cool
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DKP III
javabug
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WHAT'S UP WID DA BOOM BOOM???


« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2008, 13:21:46 pm »

Cool write-up and pics.
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Mike H.

Sven was right.
TeroV
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2008, 13:32:41 pm »



Cool car and cool story  Cool One of the very few times that 4-lug Fuchs look really good, somehow shiny wheels compliment this car better than gray 5-spokes.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2010, 11:21:24 am by LuftsickTero » Logged

| Cal&Resto | Publishing own mediocre Cal Look photos since 1995 in interwebs.
speedwell
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2008, 14:10:31 pm »

cool car mark  she rocks  Cool Cool
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 20:26:05 pm by speedwell » Logged

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oldspeed 61 standard empi/speedwell
Jim Ratto
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« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2008, 15:29:56 pm »

if only every guy could write so well about their cars! Very cool Mark, felt like I was there. Glad to see you're back in the thick of things. See you on the 20th. Super cool cars you had/have.

your bud,
Jim
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DER KLEINER PANZERS

Who was fitted with collar and chain?
wolfswest
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« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2008, 15:45:31 pm »

indeed, keep the super cool stories coming mark!  we love it.  Wink

Dem
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louisb
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« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2008, 15:45:46 pm »

Great story and what a cool looking car.

--louis
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Rick Sadler
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« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2008, 16:02:10 pm »

Very cool story Mark. I love the car. Did anyone else notice that even way back then Mark knew how to take great photos? Grin
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Der Kleiner Panzers
John Rayburn
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« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2008, 16:39:57 pm »

Great stuff , Mark! Mark may or may not remember the girl I was dating back then. She had just bought a 71 bug in primer and wanted to paint it yellow. I kept taking her to Auto Haus to see Mark's car, or to the rallies. I ended up talking her into painting the car orange, and fitting it with 2 Litre alloys. I hope you have alot more photos of your car , Mark. This is a big time machine!
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Rennsurfer
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D.B.O. Not a club; a state of mind.


« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2008, 17:45:31 pm »

Wow... I'm surprised. I honestly didn't expect this response. Thank you, all.

John, here ya go... some memory lane for ya.



Later, I removed the Tornado side view mirror and painted a Vitaloni California (Ferrari 308GTSi replica) one orange. So many people were running the Tornado ones, that I wanted something more unique. Also, I added the early Porsche 911 Euro headlight lenses and painted the headlight trim rings. I went from working at the Porsche dealer to Long Beach airport, which is where I shot this photo. God, I miss flying private aircraft. What a rush.



In this picture, my best friend, Bob, took some shots of me as I drove by on the 405 freeway. We were on our way back from Bug-In 29. I remember rolling down my window and getting real close to his car and handing him my camera as we were driving on the freeway. He knew what do to. He ended up taking a three frame sequence of me. This was number three. He was passenger in Dave McNew's old Squareback that he'd sold to his younger brother. That was one sweet Type 3. I have a few pics of that one, too.



I'll have to scan those all together and add that.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 17:49:59 pm by DKK_Fred » Logged

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Stephan S
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2008, 17:47:02 pm »

Yeah, that Mark-Fred guy is OK...
John Rayburn too!
Thanks for the great story, Mark
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Der Kleiner Panzers
Sarge
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2008, 18:28:44 pm »


Yeah, that Mark-Fred guy is OK... John Rayburn, too....


AWWW, ain't that sweeeet!! Grin
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DKP III
Rennsurfer
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D.B.O. Not a club; a state of mind.


« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2008, 19:30:36 pm »

Stop it, Sarge... you're makin' me blush. HAHA!!

Thanks, Fabian & Stephan for those pics. Stephan's image doesn't reveal the conversation that John and I were discussing. At that precise moment, I was saying, "Just think, John... all of these cars will be yours, if you simply hand over your engine & transmission." Sadly, he never complied with that.

Oh well... I tried.
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"You can only scramble an egg so many ways."
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Fastbrit
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Keep smiling...


« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2008, 22:43:05 pm »

Stop it, Sarge... you're makin' me blush. HAHA!!

Thanks, Fabian & Stephan for those pics. Stephan's image doesn't reveal the conversation that John and I were discussing. At that precise moment, I was saying, "Just think, John... all of these cars will be yours, if you simply hand over your engine & transmission." Sadly, he never complied with that.

Oh well... I tried.

Oh I think I know what was really being said... Just check a certain "Cat lover" thread! Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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Der Kleiner Panzers VW Club    
So it took some guy 17 years to run 0.31secs quicker and he boasts about it? A case of All Talk and...
Dave Galassi .
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« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2008, 01:17:46 am »

Great thread and pictures Mark.  I wish I could turn back the clock and go through the pile of "take offs" at Circle again.  Wow.  Spent many a paycheck there with Metz to buy goodies to finish my cars.

The Auto-Haus photo.  Crazy.  Can we still order those parts?.............................. 
 

Not often you get to see a photo timeline of a car.  Thanks again. 
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