Limited-Edition Print of 350 (13x19) prints
Signed and numbered by the Artist.
Although the magazines at the time, always captioned images of this car as "Everyone's favorite," in reality this was the "Most-Hated" car in Drag Racing at the time.
This little bug was hated for two reasons... In 1967, Hot Rodders didn't even consider a Volkswagen bug to car at all, So it was hated was because it was a Volkswagen. The second reason for this hatred was, no one could beat the "Bad" little bug!
As a kid, I couldn't have realized how lucky I was to grow up in the shadow of Riverside Raceway, and to be able to experience the myriad of Championship forms of auto racing that it displayed...I could hardly wait for January's "Motortrend 500" Parade to march through downtown, celebrating Nascar's first race of the year...My hometown of Riverside could always be proud of those days, and of coarse, our hometown hero will always be, a man whom I consider to be one of the "Greatest" drivers of all time, "Dan Gurney!" But without a doubt, the most famous race car to be born in Riverside, was the protagonistic little "EMPI Inch Pincher" VW bug!
In 1957, Joe Vittone developed a new valve guide kit, for the then little known Volkswagen Beatle. This revolutionized head maintenance for the little bugs, and low and behold, Hot Rodding the V-Dub had begun...
That year, Joe formed "Engineered Motor Products Inc." ("EMPI"), and began selling the valve guides. EMPI then began to market a new stroker crank kit boosting the bugs Hp from 36 to 44....EMPI also developed a anti-sway bar, which became a standard on all VW bugs...
Joe soon hired Dean Lowry to build a Drag Racing version, as a test bed for new performance ideas...They built, what would soon become the scourge of So Cal Drag strips!
In this painting, we find Dean Lowry in 1967, maintaining the lead over "Jon's Speed Shop" highboy, and winning the " Street Eliminator" class, at the prestigious "Hot Rod Magazine" meet at Riverside . Dean ran a 12.92 et. at 102mph.
High performance Volkswagen fans everywhere, owe a debt of gratitude to these boys for starting all. Who knew Riverside would be the birthplace of the "Hot VW"?
As a kid in the grandstands, I can remember all the old dudes moaning and groaning whenever the little orange bomb rolled to the starting line. They would boo and hiss, and ultimately cheer-on the little menace, as time and time again it took the Win light. Through the handicap system, the "Pincher" would get a head start, and if Dean managed to get to 3rd gear before his rivals light went green, then it was all over. I know for a fact, there were some awfully pissed-off drag racers at the time that thought the bug had an unfair advantage! In reality it was only unfair in their minds. After all, " how could that bug with less then 100hp, beat my "Big Block" Hot Rod?" But it did! Over and over again!