Neither Dave Kawell nor  Kawell Racing Engines are affiliated or associated with Volkswagen or Volkswagen of America, Inc., General Motors, Inc. or DaimlerChrysler.
Any references to VW, GMC, Chevrolet or DaimlerChrysler and their vehicles or products are for descriptive or reference purposes only and do not imply any association.    So there !

Kawell Racing Engines
787 Miller Loop,  Friendship, TN  38034    (731) 677-2160

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

Hot Sauce Hot Sauce

Somewhere in the middle to late 70's, the NHRA reindexed some of the classes in Modified Eliminator and made it extremely difficult for the VW's to be competitive.  They reindexed mainly because the VW's, in prior years, had been kicking butt on the V8's and some of the So Calif NHRA V8 "Gurus" ( DL for one ) bellyached so much to the NHRA about the VW's that zap, there we were, indexed right into oblivion.

What to do, still want to race but senseless to try to compete in Modified Eliminator after the index change.  Good friend Jim Fincham, head counter man at Rimco, came up with the bright idea to build a low budget, tube chassis, stock axle beam, stock rear torsion bar, center driver bracket car.  Built on the floor in Fincham's garage, utilizing empty beer cans to uh, hum... "meticulously" set the rear torsion housing angle,  Hot Sauce  was born.

Hot Sauce - Carlsbad    Hot Sauce - OCIR

Not much to say about  Hot Sauce  other than Jim and Dave ran the Holy crap out of her.  Two, three, four times a week, whenever or wherever anyone was holding time trials or a bracket race,  Fincham and Kawell's  Hot Sauce  was there, Irwindale, OCIR, Carlsbad, even got talked into towing up to High Desert Raceway where the car literally bounced off the track, we never went back.  Jim told Dave they had well over 500 time slips in a shoebox with many others lost or unaccounted for.  Hot Sauce  was a kick in the shorts ! Any and everywhere, a 1/4 mile 10.60 to a 10.64 e.t. at 124-125 mph, time and time again.  The engine was an 82mm Tony Mance welded stroker x NPR 92s, 48 IDA's, stock, welded, ported/polished (by Dave of course) 42 x 37 heads, Stoddard #7 cam, tried the AC 1.4's but they were breaking back then so bushed some Sig Erson 1.5's and that's about it folks.  Lothar Sturrmer, a heavy duty mechanic from Don Burns VW, built the VW Type I gearbox which  never  failed in well over 800 + runs.  Lothar passed in the early 80's.     Rest in Peace Friend Lothar.

Went to help Dave and Dianne Vanderbeke move one week end.  "Dirty Dave"  had been out of VW drag racing for awhile so Fincham and Kawell talked Dave and Dianne into going to Irwindale with us the next weekend.  Got there, untrailered,  Kawell made a shake down pass and then nagged Vanderbeke into making a run.  Fortunately they were about the same size so Vanderbeke grabbed Dave's fire jacket and helmet, got in  Hot Sauce,  we all jumped in  Rimco's   van and off to the staging lanes we went.  Vanderbeke legged it pretty good, typical Vanderbeke style.  When we got down to pick him up, he was still lauging, said it was the most fun
he had ever had in a VW drag car.

Wherever you are Dave Vanderbeke, we hope you're still laughing about that pass in  Hot Sauce.   RIP

Jim Fincham went into a ski boat, river rat phase so we bought out Jim's half of  Hot Sauce  and continued running it any and everywhere we could.  Dave got in Jim Dutcher's face and Dutcher got in Dave's face, it was really a good time, a lot of good racing,
a lot of laughs and way too much BS bench racing.  Hey Dutcher, no way I'm goin in that pool myself, you're goin in too !

Well crap, the one I live with decides he wants to build a dragster. When I overheard him on the phone with Steve Rhoades of  The FrameWorks,   I knew I was in for it....again.  *sigh*  UPS truck starts backing up to our back door due to size and volume of cartons arriving, got to get a phone lock for our shop phone, complex neighbors needed to help unload volume of cartons, damn, how did Dave get that phone lock off ?  So we're building a dragster.  Way long time good friend, Marv Hillard, of I/G  Little Boozer   fame, hears Dave is building a dragster and wants to buy  Hot Sauce  .  That'll help this new financial disaster, so Dave agrees to sell  Hot Sauce   to Marv with the condition that Marv can't have  Hot Sauce  until the new dragster is finished, Marv agrees.

The new dragster 84 x 94 Hilborn Alcohol Injected, Turbocharged engine is done, dynoed and ready to go. Dragster frame is not .... Well what would you do ?  Call Marv of course and ask him if he minds if Dave puts the engine in  Hot Sauce   to see what it will do. Marv says cool, (note from me: They're all a bunch of freakin idiots if you ask me) so into  Hot Sauce   the engine goes and off to OCIR we all go, "Uncle" Marv included.  Couple of shake down runs and Dave feels it will handle well so they all get themselves revved up to see how quick and fast  Hot Sauce  will run.

Hot Sauce mit da Turbo




Dave was able to gather it up and keep it off the guardrail, the rest of them were all laughin and hootin.... told you they were a bunch of freakin idiots AND they're going to do it again....*sigh*

Leaving soft so it wouldn't blow the tires off the line, Dave ran a 1/4 mile e.t. of 10.15 at 144+ mph, it was his last pass in  Hot Sauce.
Marv Hillard took possession of  Hot Sauce  and developed the first VW Bus Full Automatic drag transmission coupling it with a torque convertor from  Continental Convertor.

Last pass in <i>Hot Sauce</i>

Looking close you can see the front wheels are off the ground, this picture was shot at the 1000 ft marker at OCIR, Dave didn't realize the front end was up as  Hot Sauce  always handled so well, well at least she did when he wasn't being an idiot. When Dave clicked and the front tires bumped down is when he realized they had been off the ground.

Marv Hillard's  Hot Sauce

Marv's Hot Sauce - OCIRMarv's Hot Sauce - OCIR

Marv and Hot Sauce - OCIR

Sadly the only pictures we have do not show the magnificent paint job and Gold Leaf lettering that Marv did on  Hot Sauce.  In the mid 80's, Marv's best 1/4 mile e.t.'s were in the 9.50 or 60's ? with a 78.4 x 92 Hilborn Alcohol Injected turbo engine that we built. Note to self: Call Marv and verify his times and mph.  Marv worked tirelessly and achieved great success developing the VW Bus full automatic transmission for a drag race application, just because he could.... and he could, and he did.  Marv eventually sold the car
to Scott Laughler, now of  VW Paradise  fame, and went back to 1/4 mile V8 drag racing with his son Roger.  We all remain good friends.  Lothar Sturrmer and "Dirty" Dave Vanderbeke are both still missed.

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