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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I've been lurking here for a little while, hitting all the links posted in search of more information on a car I will be bringing home on May2nd. I've found some fantastic pictures and stories following the links posted in various threads, none of my car but nonetheless, some great period photos as well as some very interesting information. I've found on Rally Racing News some records of where the car finished in some rallies, which is cool. Let me give a little background, sorry if this rambles. I'm a VW nut who started looking for a project car back in 1998 (I've since had 2 of them and still am working on them) when I joined the VW usenet group RAMVA. I posted something along the lines of 'looking for project VW to work on with son' and got an interesting reply. A man a few towns away from me up here in NH had a 73 Super Beetle that used to be a rally car and wanted it out of his yard, was I interested in it? We communicated back and forth a few times and I made the trip to see it. The car didn't belong to him, he used to be an occasional navigator and was storing it in his yard for the owner who had retired to NJ and now he was looking to get it out of his yard. Sitting under a tree was this orange and black Super with old SCCA and Uniroyal logos on it (and this strange crazed duck sticker too). Closer inspection showed this wasn't just an any old VW but was actually a competition car. It had rally gauges, full cage, competition seats and harness, etc. The man, Bill, and his wife Stef were wonderful and I really enjoyed talking to them. They told me some history about this car, how it was campaigned in the early 70s in the USA and worldwide in professional rally racing and was even in a photo in a magazine. Since they didn't actually own the car, they couldn't sell it to me directly but they thought the owner would do so inexpensively so they put me in touch with him. He was a wonderful character and spent several hours on the phone with me detailing the history plus the cache of parts he had stored. He wanted it to all go as a package for about $2500, more than I had or was willing to spend at the time so I had to pass on the deal. I really fell for that car and thought about it often over the past 11 years, wondered if any of the members of RAMVA that I tried to put in touch with the owner ever got it.

Last week I'm on Freecycle looking to get rid of some stuff when I come across a post for free firewood with an email address that looked familiar. I took a chance and shot an email to them asking if they were possibly the same people from 11 years ago, and if they were, whatever happened to the car. Well, if you couldn't guess by this point, they are the same people. The car is still there. The owner passed about 6 months ago and just this past weekend they were talking to his widow and she just wanted them to get rid of it. I could have it for free as long as I did something with it. I couldn't say yes fast enough. I've thought many times over the past 11 years about this car and never thought I'd see it again, let alone own it.

So, I got to go up and see it last week. Spent some time talking to Bill and Stef, got a little more info on the car. Not a complete history because so much time had passed and Bill was the navigator, Al the owner (since passed) wrenched on the car more...but had a great talk with them anyway. Bill told a few stories about running in the Alcan with this car and a rally in Mexico. The car was photographed for an article on the Alcan in Road & Track, I believe some time in the 80s. Bill hoped I wouldn't be disappointed because the stock engine isn't in the car, it is still down in NJ with the rest of the parts, or that car would take some work to return to stock:). He seemed pleased I didn't want to return it to stock and instead wanted to restore it to its competition days. The motor in the car current was 'really warmed over' but the details not known. I guess I'll find out when I get it home and dive into it! Bill did mention the brakes were upgraded, I looked and could see disks on the front with Porsche on the calipers. Under the hood (getting crumbly along the bottom edge, after releasing the rubber clamps, is a custom strut bar and connections for the calibrated odometer. The car has a nice heavy front skid plate and mounts for a tow bar plus hard points for driving lights. Inside are two old-school (but pretty nice) racing buckets, several custom gauges (couldn't see what they were in the fading light, roll cage,no back seat, racing harnesses, and surprisingly solid floors. Other parts of the body, not so pretty, the running boards are shot, the rockers look soft, the fenders need love, etc, but overall, for a car that has sat outside under spruce trees for over 10 years, not that bad of shape. Bill and both think because the tires are not flat due to having tubes in them, the car didn't come into as close ground contact as most cars that would have sat like this, helping keep some of the rust at bay. I've talked to Bill, who's full name is Bill Todd and the former owner was Al Schmit, many times over the past week and he remembers some basics but the details not so much. He only rallied with Al on occasion. I've found many results of rallies from the mid-70s to mid-80s for the car. I'm hoping someone might know more or even have a picture of two that might have my car in it. My plan is to restore it to how it was when it rallied. Beyond that, I don't know but this car is going to be part of my family now:) If anyone can help, I'd greatly appreciate it. I know it ran the Alcan in 85 and 86 with Bill and Al as well as a couple of 24 Hours of Mexico. I've found some results where it ran in the Big Bend Bash in the 70s, as well as a couple of POR up through the 80s. I used to follow rallying when I was in high school and got Pickup, Van and 4wd regularly. Once I got my license, I got bit by the drag racing bug and drifted away until I found this car. Thank you for taking the time to read this long post and thank you in advance for any info you might have to share.

Pulling up the drive:


I really need to find out the deal with the duck decal!


Uniroyal.


Tires still have air!


Umm, I think these flares are not going to work any more...


Looking back










 

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Old Fart
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I codrove in this car

When I started to read this article, I wondered whether this could be Al's (AJ) car. It wasn't until the end that you confirmed it was. I codrove in this car for three rallies. One was the 1977 Criterium Du Quebec, and the other two were the 1980 100 Acre Woods and Northern Lights. I have some photos of the car in competetion I will send you. AJ was from Luxenburg and lived in Fort Lee, New Jersy and worked for Pan Am airlines. He competed all through the 70's and early 80's. In 1970 I believe he ran a Porsche 911 in the POR. After that he ran VW bugs. I don't know how many, but AJ didn't destroy cars, so it probably wasn't very many different cars.

The 77 Criterium was on the World Rally Championship. At this Rally Fiat entered a 5 car team of Fiat 131's and Ford had two escorts for Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen. Timo Salonen won in a Fiat. We came up early and made pace notes for the rally. The Beetle was pretty quick and we were well placed among the private entries after the short stages of the first two days. The highlight of the rally was a stage around a lake in the Village of St Agathe. The school kids laughed at a beetle, but they were impressed with the speed when they saw it on course! Unfortunately, we lost the engine on the second stage of the third day and DNFed. This rally had one stage of 33 miles (repeated 3 times) and one of 70 miles repeated twice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
When I started to read this article, I wondered whether this could be Al's (AJ) car. It wasn't until the end that you confirmed it was. I codrove in this car for three rallies. One was the 1977 Criterium Du Quebec, and the other two were the 1980 100 Acre Woods and Northern Lights. I have some photos of the car in competetion I will send you. AJ was from Luxenburg and lived in Fort Lee, New Jersy and worked for Pan Am airlines. He competed all through the 70's and early 80's. In 1970 I believe he ran a Porsche 911 in the POR. After that he ran VW bugs. I don't know how many, but AJ didn't destroy cars, so it probably wasn't very many different cars.

The 77 Criterium was on the World Rally Championship. At this Rally Fiat entered a 5 car team of Fiat 131's and Ford had two escorts for Roger Clark and Ari Vatanen. Timo Salonen won in a Fiat. We came up early and made pace notes for the rally. The Beetle was pretty quick and we were well placed among the private entries after the short stages of the first two days. The highlight of the rally was a stage around a lake in the Village of St Agathe. The school kids laughed at a beetle, but they were impressed with the speed when they saw it on course! Unfortunately, we lost the engine on the second stage of the third day and DNFed. This rally had one stage of 33 miles (repeated 3 times) and one of 70 miles repeated twice.
Thank you so much for posting, I really want to put a scrapbook together with the history. I never met Al in person, only talked to him on the phone, I was impressed with his knowledge and now I wish I had written down what he told me. Bill is going to put me in touch with his widow, she is pleased someone is going to save the car instead of junking it so I hope if she is up to it, she will share some information as well. Bill said the same thing you did, that Al was very good with saving his equipment. Again, thank you for filling in some blanks, I hope to do Al, his co-drivers/navigators and the car justice when I'm done. Have a great rest of your weekend!

Wow great story. The car looks a bit rough. I hope you can get it put back together.
It is actually better in person than in pictures. The majority of the rust is in bolt on parts like running boards and such. The pan and heater channels are solid. My rally knowledge is limited, but fortunately my VW experience is much more substantial, this will be my third resurrection and it is actually in better shape than most New England Bugs. Thanks for the input!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OMG!!!
THANK YOU!!!

This is awesome! I spoke with Bill Todd over the weekend and he is sure the car he ran with Al in '75 is the same one he ran in '85 or '86 though the motor was different. That would make this the same car.

Thank you so much for finding those pics and putting them up. You have made my day.



 

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Spectator Wrangler
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Now we know what happens to road flares after 30 years.

And yes, that is a real live FIA- legal ( 1977) cage. You'll have to add a few (dozen) tubes to meet current rules. Those Scheel seats aren't legal anymore either. I'll come pick those worthless thing up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Now we know what happens to road flares after 30 years.
I'm surprised the squirrel that made a nest under the hood didn't try use them for warmth one of the past winters.:D

And yes, that is a real live FIA- legal ( 1977) cage. You'll have to add a few (dozen) tubes to meet current rules. Those Scheel seats aren't legal anymore either. I'll come pick those worthless thing up. :)
I figured the cage was legal at one point, amazing how far we have come. I have a couple of Beard seats from my drag Mustang that might find their way into this, but I saw crazy prices for those Scheels online, Porsche people can be a bit...ummmm...nuts (no offense intended to any Porsche people reading this) but on the Samba a set from a 914-6 GT just went for $1200!! I much prefer VW and Ford prices, thanks!!

Belts are way past legal and the are mounted about 3 feet behind the seats all the way back at the firewall. My IHRA tech inspector would hang me if I showed up with my belts mounted like that, but I remember 25 years ago showing up with a 12 second Chevelle and only having to have a lap belt and no helmet, so yeh, times have changed. For the better. I was watching the 'Dega Cup race yesterday and was floored that Edwards walked away from that wreck. Anyway....

My first goal is to get it structurally sound and running, cleaned up and cosmetically to where it was 30 years ago, then decide what to do from there. I'd love to give it a go at some vintage events after getting it safe and legal, though all my experience is in a straight line.

I'd give to you but I like the duck on the back too much to part with it now:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Ok, the more I think on it, I'm thinking I'm going to do a restoration and not a build. While this might not be a significant historical piece like a Lancia or a factory Audi, it does have a history and I think I'd be doing Al and those who rallied with him more justice by 'preserving' the car as it was when it was active than to change a bunch of stuff to make it 'rallyable' (is that a word???). Part of what draws me to this car is its history and uniqueness. The more I thought on it, if I came into an abandoned gasser, I wouldn't be cutting it up to make it NHRA-spec and bracket racing it. Dunno, maybe I'm being foolish but that is the way I'm leaning at this point. I appreciate all the feedback I've received so far and hope to gather more information on this particular car as it is found.

Now, all of that being said, I've been reading and reading here and on other sites and I've got to say I'm getting sucked in so I might just have to do something about that. Being the type of person I am, I would probably go with a VW just to be different and I know where there is a Type 181 for little $, and of course I have 2 other Bugs in my yard right now, several transaxles/beams/engines/body parts to draw from so that might also be an option. I guess I have a lot more reading to do, huh? Anyway, thanks for all the input.
 

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This car needs to be restored. Then add some ham radio equipment and run it as a course-opening car at the East Coast rallies! In a course car, the seats and cage will be fine. The fans would LOVE it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
This car needs to be restored. Then add some ham radio equipment and run it as a course-opening car at the East Coast rallies! In a course car, the seats and cage will be fine. The fans would LOVE it.
That is what I'm talking about, something like that (though I'm such a novice, I didn't know such a role existed) where it could be out there and active without major modifications to its original configuration. I'm not a car show car guy, mainly because I loath the thought of trailerqueens, it is a car therefore it must be DRIVEN. I just didn't know how, once it is finished, to get it the audience that would most appreciate it. THANKS!

It comes to its new home in 3 days, then the work begins. I have a line on a complete donor car if needed for any of the stock VW parts that I do not already have in my collection. The only piece kept by Bill is the odometer since he is now thinking of getting back into TSD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I got it home yesterday, the condition is about what I expected. It has rust but I've dealt with a lot worse. The motor is of unknown condition so I am considering it junk and will be happy with anything I can save off it. I have another long block I'm not using so that is good. It smells BAD of squirrel and I there are a TON of little nests everywhere. I'm having fun:) I took a ton of pics, the whole album can be found HERE.

I have a question, does anyone know the purpose of the two tubes sticking out of the top of the strut brace?



Some random shots of it now at my house. I hope to start work on it in the next week or so. I have another VW I'm trying to finish up, a tribute to the original Baja Bug by Gary Emory of Emory Motorsports (http://www.emorymotorsports.com/). That should be done in the next month, then I can seriously concentrate on this car.

It's pretty cool seeing the period safety equipment like the little 2" belts and minimalist (and bolted together in some places) roll cage. I'm having a blast!












After its first wash in over a decade









Thanks for looking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My guess is for another spare tire. See if the spacing lines up with the bolt pattern of the wheel. That's how I have my spare mounted in my rally Bug.
DUH! Thanks! That is exactly what it is. I checked after you posted this and not only does it match up the spacing, you can see a faint outline of a tire on the underside of the hood. One mystery solved!
 

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Bingo! Spare tire mount! Does the car still have old Pirellli rally tires? I remember that the sidewalls were so stiff it was difficult to tell if a tire was flat without measuring the tire pressure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
They are Dunlops on there now despite the UNIROYAL logos. Poor things are dry rotted badly, if it wasn't for the tubes, this thing would be on rims. I did notice the Pirelli logos on the pics you put up. I contacted Uniroyal about the decals on the car to see if they had them available since I'm pretty sure they are not going to come off in one piece and are tattered...they pretty much told me to pound sand. Looks like I'm gonna have to resurrect it to your era!

My first thought was to do a off-pan resto, but as I was looking it over I could see spots where it had been patched in places for various reasons by Al years ago. Thinking about this, I've decided to restore it in the same spirit. I don't want to lose any of the 'repairs' that have become part of its history and secondly, this is a rally car, not a show car and really should be restored as such. I'm going to replace what is bad, patch what is shot, clean it up, paint it orange and black again...and roll it in all its splendor. I've touched bases with my local Ham club and hope to get involved with the radio side of things soon. I'd like to volunteer at a few NE rallys this year...both for the education and for the fun of it.
 
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