WAS "Back in the time of RAMVA" - SCCA Rally UPDAT

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Sneaks
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WAS "Back in the time of RAMVA" - SCCA Rally UPDAT

Post by Sneaks » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:19 am

I know some here remember the early days of RAMVA (rec.autos.makers.vw.aircooled) newsgroup, back in the early days of the internet. I was a member there along with people like John C of AirCooled.NET, Scott H, Jan (Bugfuel), SpeedyJim, etc. I joined up when I first wanted to find a project VW after many years away from the hobby. 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 had a 73 Super that used to be a rally car and wanted it out of his yard. 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 a crew member on the team 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 OLD 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 with a crew and driver of VW and Porsche staff and was even photographed and discussed in an article in Popular Mechanics. 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. IIRC, the cache of parts included 8 complete sets of rims/tires of many configurations, several engines, transaxles, front beams (disk), body parts, etc. I do remember him saying it was a storage container full. I THINK he said something about disks for the rear as well but I really can't remember now. I documented the whole experience on RAMVA in a thread called 'One Special Super.' 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.

Yesterday 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'm picking it up in the next week. Free. Now, it has been sitting for 10 years outside so I expect it might not be easily restorable and could possibly complete junk, but I really don't care. Call me crazy, but I still want this car. The last message from her also mentioned the parts in NJ but I don't want to get my hopes up. I told my wife and she was like 'Oh. Great. <sigh> Ok.' I will get pictures as soon as I can. My neighbors are going to HATE me. Oh well. Just thought I'd share this with everyone, especially the members that remember the thread.
Last edited by Sneaks on Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by doc » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:58 am

Neighbors may not like it, but everyone here will love it. Great story! We'll wait anxiously for pics and the continuing story. Please don't pass up the parts stash. That might be the gem in the whole deal.

Keep us posted!! 8)

doc

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Post by bugninva » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:24 pm

i remember that Sneaks... been a long time... long time...

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Post by Sneaks » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:10 pm

...and you still have the same sig if I remember correctly:)

I googled the old threads and the follow up to the original post started in 1998, I couldn't find the original post, unfortunately but I think on one of my servers at home I have the archive of the old LEVW site with the full story. I'm not sure who is more excited, me for getting it or keepers to have it out of their yard finally!

I have to come up with a trailer (Uhaul, here I come) but I think I'm going to try to run over in the next couple of days and see what I'll need to get it home (and to take pictures!).

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Post by bugninva » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:12 pm

Yes, I was Bugninva back in those days on RAMVA.... RAMVA is still alive, but not so much "alive and kicking"....

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Post by Speedy Jim » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:58 pm

Speedy Jim chimes in.

Go get 'em, Sneaks!

(How well I remember downloading RAMVA messages on my then new XT computer! How time does fly. LOL )

Best luck on the new project.

Jim

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Post by Bugfuel » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:21 pm

Congrats Sneaks! Better late than never huh!
:)

Don't forget about us still in Ramva. Many are still there, quietly hiding in the shadows. And I never left :)

Jan

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Post by namelesswonder » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:56 pm

This sounds like it's already an excellent project. Keep us posted, and congrats!
Franz the Thunder Pumpkin!
Permanent member of the "Baja may not be running" club

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Sneaks
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Post by Sneaks » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:19 pm

I didn't even know RAMVA was still alive until today when I googled the thread. I will have to stop by and check in. Remember getting all twisted up because someone was inconsiderate and posted pics? LOL. Did Travis ever cut up that Bug he got after the might camobug was sold?

I am going up to scope out the condition of the Super and see what I'll need to get it home on either Saturday or Sunday. I have the camera charging. I have no illusions about its condition but I'm still excited. The cool thing is since so many people consider Supers junk, donor cars are pretty cheap and easy to come by still!

Thanks for all the support.

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Post by bugninva » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:11 pm

nope, shag has been resisting the urge to cut that car... it's still stock...

good to see you still are excited about that car after all these years... hope you aren't dissappointed, but it seems like you aren't expecting much so you really can't be dissappointed!

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Post by Sneaks » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:27 am

Wow, I'm impressed. I need to drop in and check things out. I miss Shaggy and his stories, his adventures were some of the best reading. His antics are part of the reason I started my baja project.

The hard part once I get it home and (hopefully) start the restoration, should I post the thread here, in Off-road or Racing forum? :) I've decided that in the event the car is beyond help, I'm going to use what I can off it to build a replica/tribute. I did get an email back last night letting me know they went out to look at it last night and the trunk won't open but they were able to get the ebrake to release. Doesn't mean the wheels will actually turn, I strongly suspect the drums are going to be frozen. Uggg, is it Saturday yet?

I have a friend who has all the Popular Mechanics since some time in the 50's, he's going to see if he can get me some scans of the article it was featured in.

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Post by bugninva » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:17 am

the whole story (saga?) with this car and you is very cool... I hope you can salvage the car and get it back to what it was... that would be awesome....

RAMVA is a bit slow these days, but still there... Shaggy only posts sometimes and not much about his vw because he doesn't do anything to it.... like I said, he's been very good at resisting the urge to baja it... I told him just cut it and be happy!

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Post by fusername » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:38 am

i can smell the promise from here...
give a man a watch and he'll allways know what time it is. give him two and he can never be sure again.

Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously.

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Post by MNAirHead » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:33 pm

I wouldn't own VW stuff it it wasn't for Speedy answering my dumb questions on RAMVA.

Seemed like magic back then

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Post by vw505 » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:07 am

what ever happened to shaggy he had a web page for a bit with a sand rail in it and i argree he a a great story teller.
It's what you learn after you know every thing that counts.

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