El Dub's Nostalgia corner.
Treasures from the past.
Memories, people, meets.
EMPI, Auto-Haus, R/S...
THE RACE SHOP : A Historical Perpective by Glenn MILLER.
With Dean LOWRY leaving in late 1968 to start his own shop, Deano Dyno Soar with his brother Ken in Santa Ana, Joe Vittone was starting to consider selling the company and get back to his other ventures, Joe had the Econo VW dealership going full tilt, he also owned the building Revmaster was in, he owned the EMPI Roberta Street property, as well as many others Irons in the fire!
At this point in 1968, Darrell decided it was time to go off his own and left Roberta Street to start EMPI - R&D some refered to it as Research & Development, we called it EMPI Racing Division. Darrell comments "The first small shop was on 8th and dwight started in late '68 and was called EMPI R&D shop". Darrell was tired of hearing people say the the Inch Pincher was the car that Dean Lowry built... By 1970, so many changes were made to the Inch Pincher little represented Lowry's work, things like that Wild Paisley Top, new body parts in fiberglass, wild paint work with flames, and many others changes. That shop being too small, a larger building was found just up the street 5 blocks! That larger shop up East 8th was still EMPI operated until F.D.I. took over. In fact, it still was and EMPI R&D facility until the end of '71.
This second site was where the building of the new race the "Inch Pincher two" took place, consisting of a fresh '59 bug chopped top body installed on the old Inch Pincher Pan. With many others mods like a new leading link front suspension, more lightweight parts installed and topped off with a wild Molly paint job, the car was soon setting records with times in the 11's.
Picture above (provided by Glenn Miller) shows Darrell and Bob Hibberedon the Race Shop engine assembly room. Note the Weber 48 atop EMPI manifold... Picture on right shows Darrell (with hat) and Dave testing an engine on the shop dynometer (Picture by Jere Alhadeff).
EMPI was sold in 1972. Thats when The Race Shop started life, same location, new name. Since the Inch Pincher two was now property of the new EMPI-F.D.I., Darrell had to leave the car behind that he had spent so many years working on. The Inch Pincher two was turned over to the FDI guys and after a brief stint with another driver, no one knows for sure what happened to either the body shell or the engine. If you see it, please call! LOL...
The new Race Shop saw many cars built and maintained here, the main one being the Off-road bug also called the Inch Pincher two, il was built for off-roaders from Mexico, and Darrell's VW powered Fiat 850 that went on to be a NHRA Record Holder, Dave Andrews fast week end warrior 12 second daily driver. The Race Shop Ghia that was owned and built by John Preston had a Race Shop built engine and a deal was struck for R/S sponsorship. And the well known EMPI slalom Car. Others cars were built and/or maintained at the first Race Shop on University East 8th street.
This advert for an hi-performance oil pump with filter is the only one I have ever seen for the Race Shop in my old literature. Price was a cheap 34.95$... Did you already saw some Race Shop adverts?
Darrell comments "The ones you listed and Preston's Ghia engine was built at the University Shop. We also built engines for John Smith's Bug as well as the Anderson Brothers. Plus Engine/Trans for bug Ed King's Juve Turkey VW. At the University street Shop we worked on the Schley Brothers. Engines both dragsters and sedans, as well as did Dyno testing for Lee Leighton when he tried the VW hemi heads. Also remember we tuned up the East Coast NED Bug and gained about 20hp. He then went on to win his Class at the Winetrnationals and then won the next race for modified Eliminator at the Gator nationals. We also worked on Audley Campbell H/G Sedan Stutt Bee. You jog a lot of memories for me, Regards".
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