|The Frenchy Interview, page 4
|The ones that got away, and I wish that I had kept!
|The first of many articles. Click on the magazine to see it.
|My favorite article. What can be better than being on the cover? Click on the magazine to see the article.
|The 1967 Beetle on display at the World of Wheels show in Phoenix, Arizona. Click here to see the '67's page.
|Click here to see a Hot VWs article about Dean.
|The motor that Mike & I helped him with.
|You can see those trophies in the VolksWorld article. Click here to view.
You have owned and restored many Volkswagens over the years. Does one stand out from the others? Is there one you regret
selling and wish you had kept?
I would say two that I regret selling are the Ghia and the 1961 Bus. I wish I had kept them. I can't even remember why I sold the bus,
but I sure wish I hadn't. We had to sell the Ghia because we were expecting Marc and we needed to move out of our small apartment.
Still, I can't help wishing that I still had it. My dream is to locate it one day and restore it back to it's former glory.
You are well-known for being very detail orientated when restoring a car. Why is this important to you? Is it something you
learned or is it a natural talent?
My mom was the same way, so I guess I inherited it from her. When I went into the Coast Guard, I was always called a perfectionist. I
used to keep my boat nice and clean. The captain would point this out to the other guys and told them that he wanted the engines in
their PT boats to look like mine. It was all nice and clean and detailed and this was just how I liked it, however, the other guys didn't
like it. The captain eventually didn't even look at my boat for an inspection because he knew it would be clean. I had my 1969 Beetle
when I was in the service. They would all comment on how clean the car was and how the engine compartment was spotless. I've
always liked for my things to be nice and clean. A lot of people don't like having to detail a car, but to me it is the most important
thing. When you go to a car show, this is what the judges look for. For me, the windows always have to be nice and clean, and never,
ever any streaks!
You have been called "The King of Old School". What does this mean to you?
This title was given to me by Dean Kirsten. To me It means I am keeping up the tradition. Dean meant that I am still restoring cars the
same way I did in the 1970's, which is in the Cal Look tradition.
You have a garage full of plaques and trophies for the many cars you have restored. This is quite an accomplishment. Is there
one that stands out as being more special or memorable than the others?
The Bug-In Best of Show are the most special to me as this was quite an achievement. It's a big dream to win a Best of Show.
Your cars have been featured in many VW magazines and books. What was it like the first time you saw your car in a
It feels pretty good because it is an accomplishment. I felt a lot of pride and I couldn't wait to show it to my friends and family. Back
then, it wasn't easy to have a car featured. The car really had to stand out. I think VW Greats picked the Ghia because of the look of
the car. The Ghia had a sporty look about it and it really stood out. The Ghia also won several trophies at American car shows I went
to. I think it is because it has nice sporty lines which appeals to everyone no matter what make or model of car they are into and it also
had a lot of detail.
What article is your favorite? Why?
I think the one that VolksWorld did is my favorite because it is on the cover and the photography was excellent. It was done by my
good friend Stephen and he did a great job.
Of all the VW shows you have attended, and I know there have been many, is there one that stands out from the rest?
I have always liked indoor shows. You have people there that like all kinds of cars. I enjoy shows like the World of Wheels. Your car
gets a lot of recognition because people may have owned one, and they enjoy talking about it with you. I have found too that with
indoor shows the lighting is better and this makes the car display better. Of course being that it is climate controlled is a big plus too
as you don't have to worry about the weather. The spectators seem to appreciate the cars more because you can have a nice display
with your car and the cars aren't parked in a lot next to each other as they are at an outdoor show.
Dean Lowry was an icon in the Volkswagen hobby. Can you share a memory of him with us?
At the Bug-In days I remember him in the pit area. He was always working on his car. Prior to him passing away, he was building a
high performance engine for his Bonneville race car. Mike Fischer and I helped him with his motor. We would go to his house to
drop off parts or he would do some work for Mike and we would sit around the dining room table and talk about the Bug-In days. He
was very technical and he always took the time to explain to us how things worked. I could tell he really enjoyed talking about this.
He lived in Santa Ana, then moved to Tucson and finally to Glendale, Arizona. I have a nice collection of Dean Lowry items. He
gave me some DDS high performance parts to add to my collection. I have his time slips from when he raced at Bug-In. Dean gave
me some and then his wife Peggy gave me the rest. I have letters people wrote to him when he was working on their heads. He would
do a lot of head work as this was his area of expertise. When I told Dean I was collecting some of his parts and I was looking for just
the right purple paint, he gave me his last can of purple spray paint, which is the right color if you want to paint anything DDS. I
know he is missed by us who have been involved in the hobby for a long time and I am grateful for the knowledge that he shared
with me. It was a privilege to be able to spend time with him.
You know many people, some very well known, who are, or have been, involved in the VW hobby. Who has influenced you
the most? Share a story about that person with us.
I can't name just one, so here they are:
I would say one person at the top of that list would have to be Rich Kimball. He influenced me to get deeper into the hobby. Back in
the 1970's Bug-In was the only VW event around. I got to know Richard quite well as he was one of the promoters of the event. He
knew that someday I would build a show car and he knew what it would be like. He had a lot of faith and trust in me. To this day, he
is a very good friend, one that I enjoy being around and spending time with. My kids are astounded when I tell them that we have been
friends for 35+ years.
Another person is Ron Fleming, the owner of FAT Performance. He has inspired a lot of people to build big motors for the Cal Look
scene and he is the one who encouraged me to build my big motor.
Dyno Don is another person who influenced me. When we went street racing he would beat me every time. I couldn't figure why as
his motor was smaller than mine. Then I met him at one of the rallies and we would race together. I got to know him better. He is a
very funny guy and he made people laugh. We are very good friends to this day. He does the announcing at Drag Day and Bug O
Rama. They call him the voice of the VW events. He also has a car detailing business and he is very good at that.
Mike Fischer is also a good friend who helps me out. He is very knowledgeable and gives me a lot of good ideas pertaining to engine
building. He is always there when I need help and always willing to go out of his way to help me any way he can.
Steve Tims has to be on this list too because he taught me everything about building engines and about Volkswagens in general. I
worked for him at the Royal Bug-ee House in Bell, California. He was so patient with me and I am so grateful to him for imparting his
knowledge to me. Everything I know about Volkswagen engine building today is because of him. And to top it all of, he paid me for
working at his shop. How cool is that? Talk about your ideal job! He really made me want to become more involved with the hobby
Three of your current projects are a 1932 Ford Hot Rod, a 1963 Toyopet and a 1959 NSU Prinze. Why the departure from
After a while I find myself focusing too much on Volkswagens and it is easy to get burned out or bored. I needed something that was
a little more daring and challenging. All three of these cars are very rare cars and they are all good investments.
Why do you think the Volkswagen has retained its popularity?
First of all, they are very economical and easy to work on. I doesn't take a genius to figure them out. Volkswagens are very basic and
you just need a good repair manual as a reference. I think one of the reasons why people like them is because there are so many VW
shows and events to go to. There are also a lot of clubs around to join and this is one way to get to know people who share your VW
passion. Volkswagens are popular worldwide and because of the Internet we can connect with people everywhere who share our
hobby. A Volkswagen is also a fun car to personalize to the owner's taste and personality. In a way, they become part of the owner
and this makes it much more than just a car.
What advice would you give to a young person about to embark on their first restoration project?
I would want to sit down and talk to them and ask them why they want to restore a Volkswagen. I would be very positive and give
them all the facts about VWs. I hear stories of how some people are getting out of the hobby because they have had a bad experience
with some work that was done to their car. My advice would be if you are getting in the hobby, learn to do everything yourself. I
would say buy a good basic repair manual and start reading it. Call people that are in the hobby and find someone who will help you.
Those of us who have been in the hobby for a long time enjoy passing on our knowledge to the younger generation.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I am looking forward to spending the next ten years with my beautiful wife and I would like to travel around the country together
attending all the major VW shows. I would say that I will still have some of the cars I am working on today. I know I will still have my
1952 Split. I want to enjoy my granddaughter and take her to car shows with me. Hopefully, there will be more grandchildren in my
future. I may be building another Cal Look, maybe that chop top oval window I have always wanted to build. I will still be promoting
the hobby and working VW shows. Who knows? Maybe I will have located my 1967 Ghia and be out driving it around. Yes, I have a
lot to look forward to.