Neither Dave Kawell nor Kawell Racing Engines are affiliated or associated with Volkswagen or Volkswagen of America, Inc., General Motors, Inc. or DaimlerChrysler.
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Kawell Racing Engines
787 Miller Loop, Friendship, TN 38034

All photos on this site are the property of Dave Kawell dba Kawell Racing Engines
~ Critters Negotiable ~

Black Moon Rising Blackie
Photo courtesy Dean Kirsten, Hot VWs

Driving home from work one day, we spied a '63 VW Type III sitting in the very back of a used car lot on Harbor Blvd in Garden Grove, CA. U turned and went back. She sure wasn't a looker, oxidized flat black and the original owner had just traded her in on a used car the day before. Salesman told us the guy was disgusted with it as it wouldn't run right. Dave starts it up while the salesman was telling us their mechanics thought it had a burnt valve. Dave looks over at me and is trying to hide a smile, they wanted $75.00 for her, we couldn't get the money out fast enough. In the glove box were the receipts for a brand new 1500S KD engine and transmission plus installation from Green Motors VW Agency dated a week before. Blackie had a plugged idle jet which of course made her run on two cylinders at an idle.

Got her back to the shop and Dave cleaned the idle jets and changed the oil while I gutted and refurbished the interior with every Bugpack option Ed and Gary Fulton had to offer. Didn't do anything to the exterior but touch up the "paint" with flat black spray paint and of course doll up the exhaust tail pipe and wheels with silver spray paint. We flogged the crap out of Blackie for thousands of miles and she never missed a beat with little or no maintenace other than changing the oil....until she stopped on me at Harbor and First Streets in Santa Ana. Anyone familiar with that area back then would know that is NOT the place you want to be and have your car stop running mid fast lane. Fortunately Mike Kuhl of Kuhl Blowers, had a shop nearby where I called Dave from and he came to see what was points left, literally worn down from age. I drove my '65 squareback back to the shop, Dave "cleaned" what was left of the points and was able to drive Blackie back. Conversation when he got back to the shop went something like "damnit, you need to keep whatever I have to drive running or get yourself another parts runner". Part of my ill mood was that I HAD a perfectly good European delivery '65 ( 2nd owner ) bitchen Type lll 1500S, dropped in the front, perfect for me....that is until Dave decided to build a 2180, Engle V26 cam, DCNF carb, torquey engine for it which made it hard to drive in the city due to the tall gearing. It was a Freeway Flyer from 60 mph on up, just what I needed to run parts in town...duuhhhh !

Blackie, oil changed, tuned up, the whole nine yards, was put back into service. Eventually we started to leave her outside the front of our shop at night for anyone working in our complex that had car trouble. By then we had a way cool thing going on, our landlord stupidly gave me the keys to all the units and put me in charge of renting out the buildings for a discount in our rent. If any prospective renters were not automotive orientated, they did not get a building.  5 doors down from our shop, our complex had our own paint shop, Freddy Valdez's Kustom Kreations, several times winner of the Oakland Roadster Show, Phill Whetstone of Miracle Design, who worked with Kenny Youngblood on Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen and countless other A and B Fuel Coupes, T/F, T/A Dragsters and T/A FC right next door. Bill Savage, T-Mag Welding, Score chassis builder extrordinare 3 doors down, Orange County Materials Test Lab, where we could get any and everything tested, for free, down next door to Kustom Kreations, Bobby Thompson, Thompson Transmissions builder of most winning V8 Powerglide equipped cars of that time, the "Biker", Al Golokner who was invaluable mechanically as well as being able to lift or move just about anything AND provide unquestionable security around the complex most of the time, Fred of Jersey Metal Spinning, who would spin any of us anything we needed as long as we kept his Peugot running, two excellent machine shops, one Aircraft Certified. Greg Peterson, Peterson Fabrication, was 2 streets over for chassis and roll cage fabrication. The only thing lacking was a VW transmission shop. Grabbed Sam Shackleford by the ear one day and convinced him to move into one of the units where he opened The Gear Box Shop, along with Rick Stanchfield, both formerly of Small Car Specialties in Anaheim, CA. A customer, literally of all of us, laughed one day and said all we needed was a turnstile down by Kustom Kreations and a pay window at the other end of our complex for people to have a complete VW dune buggy or drag car built.

Know all of this may sound like I am getting way off track here but you have to understand the mindset and what all was going on around us to know how Blackie came to be. Got into work one morning and Blackie was not in front of our shop ? Wasn't until later that afternoon we realized that everyone was in to work and no one had borrowed Blackie ? She had been stolen....turned up weeks later at Santa Ana Towing. We did contract work for them so I asked them to bring her on home, the answer was "towing and storage has to be paid before we can bring it down". Seemed strange but we went down and paid and then saw her, bummer, interior gutted, engine, tranny, wheels/tires gone....Who in the world would risk GTA stealing a 1963, oxidized, stock appearing, stock engine, stock tranny VW Type III that looked that bad ? Found out awhile later it was some kids that thought we had a built engine in her as Blackie, off the light, could whip most 1776's around....Was it her new tuneup or the Type lll gearing ?

We had Blackie flatbedded home and parked behind our shop. Once again our landlord told us to either put it inside or get rid of it.... Waahhh ? Get rid of Blackie ? Never ! So the "Brain Pool" around the complex came up with the bright idea of turning her into a racecar. Blackie is the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time AND of being around a bunch of Gearhead Boneheads and I was further convinced that I should have married for money....
and not for love.

Off to Kustom Kreations for a major makeover.


More of Blackie's Story and Pictures

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