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1- Tribute to Bill CLARKSON!  |    2- IGUANA Specs...  |    3- IGUANA Pictures...  |   


It's been a long time we are exchanging emails with Bill and I can easy confess this is a great feeling to be in touch with one of those legendary drag racers of the good old days.

Bill spoted my previous (poor looking...) Iguana section and feeled very surprised that a little frenchy devote a page to Iguana... I was very honoured and so, after an hard work, I decided to revamp the Iguana section and try to do my best making it as good looking and informative as possible... Enjoy!!! And don't forget to tell where you read it ;)

Bill proudly stands in front of the Iguana at the San Gabriel Raceway (CA) with his Crew in this colorized picture. (Picture is a thumbnail, just click it...). From left to right : Bill CLARKSON, Jim CHAPUTA, Gary Mc NEIL and his friend.

Bill wrote some words regarding his car some times ago, and here they are...

I built the car at home and had no professional help except for the paint. I had to guess on the jetting and timing on the engine and had never dyno'd it before the first pass which was a 12.07 et. I was using a modified VW Transaxle which broke after 5 passes. I then had some help from a VW porsche repair shop which loaned me a Porsche transaxle with what porsche racers called airport gearing. It did not break as I made a 4130 alloy steel girdle to support the pounding on the pinion gear.

Best ever ET was 11.56 at the trials of the 1970 Winter nationals. I was always strapped for cash and really needed a dyno to get things sorted out. I finally gave up when the flywheel came loose at the San Gabriel valley drag strip during testing. I just did not have the money to continue as I had family obligations that were more of a priority.

I would have continued as I really felt that I could have made some changes to the engine and gearing which would make 11.40s a reality. Drag racing takes cubic money! I enjoyed every minute and cherish the old days very much.

Bill was friendly enough to remind the good old days at the track for us... So, here are his comments regarding his involvement with VW and the Iguana... Thanks so much Bill. Enjoy!!!

Bill, how to you get involved with Drag racing a VW?

My Family had several VW's and a VW microbus and I liked the design and function of their products. I had a machinist's background and had built several cars (not VW's) from the ground up. These included a 1941 Chevy coupe, a 1949 Chevy, a 1951 Chevy with a 350 cu. in. V8 with 3-2bbls carbs and headers. I built a model A with a Chevy drive train which included a close ratio Corvette trans and a narrowed Chevy differential etc. It was shortly after that I was at the Irwindale Raceway and Dean Lowry was there running the "Inch Pincher". After I saw one run I decided to build the car. I just could not get over how fast it was just blasting by a Corvette in a heads up race.

Where in earth did you find the name Iguana for a VW?

When I was looking for a wild paint job I came across a shop that would do it for me if I paid for the paint and I advertised them on the car. They did mostly custom cars. I told them to do it in green and surprise me. They did not let me down either. After getting it home it just came to me. "Iguana". Now I realized that I need to find a good lettering shop or graphic painter that lettered cars. I asked around and finally found a guy who was fairly new at it but was well thought of and got it done. I look back now and realize that I was very lucky to find the people to do the paint and lettering and have it turn out all right. The gold leaf went real good with the lime green too.

What's your best memory racing the Iguana?

I was racing at the 1971 Winternationals at Pomona, CA and Dean Lowry was racing his new purple Car "Deano Dyno Soars". He had an experimental 5 speed and was really running good and then "bang" it broke the trans axle. He then put in his spare Porsche transaxle and broke it. In the semifinals he was loaned (against his better judgment) the the Schley Bros. "Lightning Bug" transaxle which he broke against the Iguana and then I lost against the record holder of H/Gas in the final called "The Hummer" which was a GMC straight 6 in an english car which I can't think of the make. I lost that race on the top end after leading almost all the way to the traps. Dean lost a bunch of money that day on transaxles. I really felt bad that he had all that trouble and cost. It was bitter sweet and an exciting time.

Do you know what the Iguana became?

No. I dismantled the car when I moved to Oregon and sold some of the parts. I sold the body and chassis to a person in El Monte and that was the last I ever heard of it.

Do you remember your work at Competition Engineering?

Like it was yesterday, We made all kinds of parts for VW as well as Porsche customers. Head porting, cutting heads for compression, large valve seats and combustion chamber shaping. Relief's in pistons, line boring of crank cases, 8 doweling crankshafts. We did it all. We sold a large amount of speed products too. There were up to 8 or 9 employees in the shop. Ray Litz did most of the customer service and ordering. He did some of the work when he first started but it grew too big and he did not have time any more to do machining.

Are you aware of the current interest all over the world for old VW Gasser?

No not really...

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E-mail : ldubois@calixo.net