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 ~

The 2nd or Red  The GhiaThe 2nd or Red The Ghia

Seeing the success Dave was having with  The Ghia,   a well known VW performance shop, also in Santa Ana, CA started a Karmann Ghia tube chassis car and due to workload, were unable to complete the project.  Stopping by there one day, they asked Dave if he wanted to buy it, well of course he did but with what ?  In conversation, Dave told Ed "Pappy" Riddle, owner of Rimco/Riddle Machine Co., about the chassis and Ed wanted to buy it if Dave would build/finish the car and campaign it for Rimco. Talk about a mega pipe dream coming true !

The chassis was brought down to Bud Van Mannen's shop who graciously provided Dave with a place to work on the car and which was right next to Rimco on Halladay and work began.

On one of the first outings at a Wednesday night "test and tune" at Orange County International Raceway in Irvine, Ca on a single due to it being a new car, Dave was allowed to stage and leave from the spectator lane.  Unfortunately, of the pair sent off right before Dave, the guy in the tower lane had lost his driveshaft and was parked  ON  the track, right at the last 1/4 mile mile per hour markers. Being dark and a black '55 Chevy with the driver wearing black pants and a white t-shirt, the first Dave saw of him he was walking across the back of his car towards the center of the track to check his car for "damage".  Dave, thinking he was going to walk across the track, lifted and tried to correct his line to avoid hitting him.  The Ghia   got out of the groove and into the marbles and did a full 360 and commenced to bounce of both guardrails before coming to a stop.  At OCIR, this mishap resulted in all cars being required to run at least one rear red light whenever on track.  It was also found out later that the ambulance personel, which was purposely parked at the big end and responsible for letting the tower know when the track was clear for the next pair or car to run, had gone on "break".  The driver of the '55 Chevy was banned from running or competing at OCIR and Dave went back to repair the new  The Ghia.

At Irwindale, CAAt Irwindale

Few had built "tube chassis" for VWs at the time and when the rear wheels and tires turned out wider than the stock body steel fenders would allow, Pappy Riddle hand built flat rear wheel "outter halves" and mated them to DDS "inner wheel halves" to solve the width problem which put all of the inset inboard. The extra rear "width" was a result of the chassis having been being built with a Formula car style rear suspension.  You can see in the picture above the "flat" rear wheels.  This picture was taken after the car was repaired from the OCIR fiasco and the front has not been re lettered.   Where the hell are you Shakey ?  Once again, good friend and drinkin buddy  "Shakey Jake"  did all the fantastic Gold Leaf and other lettering and striping on the car.  Damn we had some good times at the BoatHouse, least what I can remember of them....

RIP Shakey, many still fondly think of you.


Crew member Jim Fincham kneeling beside the car in the hot car staging lanes at OCIR

Bakersfield, CA March Meet 1975Bakersfield

The law of Karma ?  The crash at OCIR ?  NHRA re indexing the VW Gassers ?  Dave's best friend, his Mom, terminally ill ? Formula style suspension ?  Our fledgling business growing ?  Could have been any number of reasons but this car was never comfortable nor performed as anticipated and Rimco sold the car to Marv Hillard of  Lil Boozer  I/G fame and Dave and good friend and now partner Jim Fincham, lead counterman at Rimco, began work on the Rimco sponsored  Hot Sauce  car.

In Loving Memory
Arletta Crocker Kawell
1914  ~  1975

We were Blessed and honored to have the car on the cover of Hot VWs magazine as well as a full coverage story inside AND in VW Trends magazine. To our knowledge, this is the only car featured by both Hot VWs magazine and VW Trends but I very well could be wrong on that.  Unfortunately I cannot give credit to whoever took any of the above pictures, if anyone can shed any information, I would be most happy to give proper credit or remove if desired, thanks....

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