The Frenchy Interview, page 2
Your Ghia won Best of Show at two consecutive Bug-In's. Tell us about that.
To win a Best of Show award, it's a dream come true for anyone who is in the hobby. It seems like after winning the award, I was finally
able to take a deep breath. It felt like I had finally achieved my goal of winning a Best of Show. Back then, it wasn't easy to win. You
needed to work hard and have a lot of patience and dedication to reach that point. Every week, my entire paycheck went into the Ghia.
I was living home at the time, so I didn't have to worry about room and board, otherwise I would not have been able to do it. I bought
it in January 1975, and it took me three years to complete it. Once I won Best of Show, I wanted to win it again. My main competition
was Roger Grago, a member of DKP, who had a grey Ghia. Roger won Best of Show the year before me. Roger inspired me to build a
Ghia because I liked the sporty look of his car. It reminded me of an early Porsche sports car. To win Best of Show, you have to win
1st place in your class and then you have a chance to win Best of Show.  Not only did you win a trophy, you also won a check for
$100. After winning Best of Show, it took me a while to drive the Ghia on the street due to nervousness. The first time I really drove it
on the street was when DVB participated in an event at an Orange County park where all the area clubs got together for a day. When
people saw me pulling up in the Ghia, they couldn't believe I was actually driving it. I could hardly believe it myself.

Who and what are your favorite racers/race cars of the early days?
Darrell Vittone, Dean Lowry and his brother Ken, the Schley brothers, Gene Berg, Jim Silbey, Steve Tims, Kris Klingman, Roger
Crawford, Jim Abdon, Mike Smith, the Mad Pineapple, the Mouse Trap, the Iguana, Turbo Bob (Bob McClure) and Papa Bear.

The Bug-In has returned. How does Bug-In 32 compare with the early ones?
The quality of the cars has improved. The drag cars are faster. It's overwhelming how many vendors there are.  It was amazing to see so
many cars in the car show. The enthusiasm was still as strong as ever after 20+ years since the last Bug-In. There were rumours floating
around that the crowd would be a large one and we were not disappointed. I saw a lot of my friends from the past and it was a weekend
of reunions. Richard asked me if I would be in charge of calling past Best of Show winners and VW racers to ask them if they would be
able to attend a get together at the host hotel. A lot of them came from all over the USA and the get together was a huge success. I was
also a car show judge at this Bug-In and it was like the good old days.

You have been friends with Richard Kimball for many years. Share some stories about Richard with us.
First, let me start out by saying that Richard is a great guy. He has always really been into the hobby. He also had his own business,
which was called Periscope Productions. We would sometimes get together prior to Bug-In and we would talk about how to improve it.
We met often socially as well over the years. He is a good representative of the hobby. If it wasn't for Richard, many of the VW shows
that are popular today wouldn't be around. With the emergence of the Bug-In, Richard set the standard for large VW events worldwide.

n the 1970's, you were a member of the DVB VW club. What was a typical meeting like?
We had a club meeting every Sunday starting at 6 p.m. We met at a place that we had rented, which was in a small office complex. Our
dues were $1 per person, which was collected at every meeting. The dues were used to pay the rental fee. If you were late you had to
pay a $1 fine and you also had to pay .25 for every time you cussed during the meeting. This was a family club and we didn't want the
kids exposed to any foul language. We had our own refrigerator and we had sofas which had been donated by the members. The
meetings lasted about two hours. Prior to becoming a member you had to attend eight consecutive meetings and the board would give
you duties to do, such as cleaning the rest rooms or picking up trash. After attending eight meetings, you were voted in by the club. On
the day that a potential member was being voted on, that person would be told to stay outside so we could discuss their membership.
Once the person was accepted into the club, they would have an initiation. We made one person go into a neighborhood and collect a
bra, ladies high heels, a skirt, sunglasses, and a wig. He had to come back into the meeting wearing everything he had collected and we
all had a good laugh at his expense. After that, he was accepted into the club.  For my initiation, they made me stand inside an empty
trash bin. A few members poured syrup all over my head. Then they took a feather pillow and emptied it all over me. I looked like an
ostrich, but I made it into the club. I had my
1969 and my 1956 Cal Looker. Everyone was a bit nervous about leaving their cars out in
the parking lot, so one of the duties of the Sargent of Arms was to patrol the parking lot to check on the cars. Prior to the meeting
starting, we would gather in the parking lot and check out each other's cars and what we had done to them that week. The hobby was
really big back then and we always we had a lot to talk about that. Every month, one of the local clubs would sponsor a rally.                
 (Click here to see a VW Trends article about DVB.)

How did you recruit members and how large was the membership?
There were so many clubs in Orange County, that people made the rounds to various clubs to see what would be the best fit for them.
People saw our cars at the Bug-In and other car shows and rallies. They would then come to a meeting to check us out and to see if
this was for them. We had a membership of 30+. Some of the clubs in Orange County were
DVB, DKP, DRF, DRA and DZK as well
as the
Volks Chancellors, which was based in Central LA. Each month a different club would host a rally, which involved checkpoints.
The rally would end at a pizza parlour, where there would be a huge raffle. After the raffle, we would do burn-outs in the parking lot
and after that we would go street racing.

DVB and DKP were two of the clubs during the 1970's. Tell us about them.
The Cal Look started to become popular around 1971. Everyone was trying to make their car into the Cal Look style. The Cal Look
became a lot more popular after the February 1975 issue of Hot VWs was published. Basically all the clubs liked to do rallies so we
could see other clubs cars, and at the end of the rally we liked to see the HP of some of the cars. We did a lot of burn-outs. DVB and
DKP were two of the   clubs in Orange County.
Two long-time VW buddies, Richard and Frenchy, Father's Day June 2006.
The Ghia on display at one of the Bug-In's. Click here to see the Ghia's page.
Steve Tims' race car, "The Mean Machine".
"The Mouse Trap"
DRA club house.
Click here to see the article.
Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4
Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4
At a DVB meeting. It's initiation night. Notice our logo;
we painted that onto the wall.
DRA was the host club for
Bug-In 14.
Click here to see more race cars.
My DRA club shirt.