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Pink Panther K/Gasser.jpg
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Before goin' any further, let's send a Big THANK YOU to Ole ENDLER for his precious help in compiling and updating this section...

What better way to detail an historical car than copying what was written back in the days... Well, this was not an easy task to find something interesting regarding this car in my Nostalgia literature... Sure, the fact this car was built in Mexico city help to explain why it was not so covered... By the way, if anyone remember seeing a picture of that gasser in Hot VWs, don't forget to tell me in which issue...

So here is the complete story written back in February 1975 issue of Volkswagen Greats, along with some AWESOME pictures coming from Ole ENDLER, the current owner who was lucky enough to track down the history with period never seen shots coming direct from Mexico, where the car originated! When I saw those pictures, I thought that those were real treasures, as this car was never really documented!

Action in the streets of Mexico. Hey Ole, what about the same scene on the german autobahn ;)

"The Pink Panther is not only the name of a classic Peter Seller's movie, it is also the name of one very fast beetle which was built for racing by a team of Mexico city VW enthusiasts. Owned by Armando Gomez NORIEGA, the car was built in Pancho MENDOZA's shop, which is called Cunicas Automotices de Mexico.
Action street action with the Pink Panther. Note the period american cars parked along the road...

The engine was built by the Race Shop in Riverside, California, to a displacement of 1947cc. It has a 89mm bore and 78.4 mm stroke. The cam is by Engle and the rockers and valve covers are by EMPI. Joe HUNT made the Vertex magneto and the carbs are dual 48IDA Webers.
Collection of trophies looked impressive...

Since one of the team member is an engineer for Perfect Circle in Mexico city, naturally the team runs Perfect Circles rings. Although the exterior of the Pink Panther is relatively stock in appearance except for wheelie bars and the absence of bumpers, the interior more closely resembles a Top Fuel Funny car than a stock VW.
A proud Memo MORENO, second owner, stand by the Pink Panther!

All the interior panels have been replaced by sheet aluminium, and four gauges are installed to replace the inadequate stock instrumentation. Only one bucket seat for the driver has been fitted.

The mexican team ran into trouble at the Bug-in at OCIR in October '74 with their carburation, they were used to running at the mile high altitude of Mexico City. After re-calibrating their Webers, they turned their best ET of 11.34 seconds at 116.27 mph.

We should add that the Panther crew spared no expense to make it to the 13th Bug-in. They flew the car over 1000 miles just to attend the event!"

Sure, this is a very informative article! But Ole managed to find additionnal infos using local investigations made by his friend Ulli UMSTAETTER... Before the mexicans bought the car in 1971, the car was owned by...Dave ANDREWS... Small world... and was called "Baby Hippo"... Crazy...

Well, read on the full history compiled by Ole himself on the right column to know all about the car and don't forget to show your true respect to that gasser at the next show! It's definitely a real piece of history!

Period pictures of the Pink Panther appearing in VW literature are very rare... If you ask me, I would say that the only pictures you can expect to find today are from Bug-in 13 in October '74... Talk about rarity here... So, I'm sure you will enjoy the above picture by Mark SCHMIDT! Awesome no? That's the one and only period color picture I have ever seen... Enjoy it as much as it desserve ;)

Below pictures show the B&W pictures by Wally Wyss that came with the Volkswagen Greats article! I thought they were cool and decided to put them here for you all to enjoy!

Above picture shows the Panther leaving hard at OCIR starting line. Compare this picture to the present pictures at right to see that the car remains very very original all these days...

Rear view reveals the Race Shop engine. Heads came from Darrell VITTONE's VW based Fiat Spider (not an unknown car for the Nostalgia corner regular...).

A way cool color picture of the engine! Note the location of the Mobil oil filter...

Pancho MENDOZA, owner of the shop where the car was built.



- Mario GAMBOA

- Guillermo MORENO

Very special thanks go to Ulli UMSTAETTER as she was the one who met Mario and Memo at Mexico City and investigated all the Details of the car's history.

1956 : Car was built in Mexico and exported to USA (California)

19??-1970 : Owner: Dave Andrews, car was called "Baby Hippo"

1971 : Armando Gomez bought "Baby Hippo", the car was damaged (Accident). On the way back from LA to Mexico City the Mexicans decided to change the Name in "Pink Panther" (Peter Seller's Movie was very popular these days...)

1971-1973 : Car was repaired and prepared for racing at Pancho Mendoza's Shop (Cunicas Automotices de Mexico)


1974 : Bug-In 13, OCIR, California. K/Gas Winner, ET 11.81sec at 110.02mph, Runner-up was Lee Leighton. Drivers: Pancho Mendoza and Armando Gomez. The mexican Crew took the Long Distance Award. During this trip the Car stood in the shop of Ron Fleming and Greg Aronson (FAT Performance). Mc Peak/Riverside did the Pinstriping. The car was air-freighted by Aero Mexico (Plane DC10).

1975 : Owner: Memo Moreno


1978 : The stock doors were changed against fiberglass-doors. (where the oldones are now...)

1975-1988 : Memo Moreno took part at several races: Copa Bonanza, Autodromo Hermando Rodriguez, Toluca, Aeropuerto, Copa Challeyes, Campeonato Nacional Monterrey (1985). He was very successful and Overall National Champion.


1988 : Last Race, Copa Marlboro, Engine broke.

2000 : Car was exported to California, for sale at Pomona Swap Meet and VW Classics.


2001 : For sale again at Pomona and VW Classics, car ended up at the Berg's Shop.

2004 : Ole bougt the car from Clyde Berg, car was shipped to Bremen/Germany

2005 : Ole attend the DDD#3 at Bitburgh!!!

Best ET ever: 11.34sec at 116.27mph @ OCIR 1974

Best ET in Mexico: 11.60sec (Testrun, engine broke at race)

Average ET's during 1980's 12.40sec