SEPTEMBER 2003 - Volkswagen of the Month


Mark H. – White ’71 Beetle
Vdubber of the Month


- By Bill C.

Mark is our vdubber this month. Ever faithful, he always tries to make it to our meetings and events whenever possible. You will recognize his ’71 Bug with its distinctive “cyclops" driving light mounted on the front bumper and various cargo on the roof rack.

The first bug he owned was, in his own words, “a perfect ’60 model… well, until I made a baja out of it. There wasn’t anything wrong with this bug and it was one sweet cookie! Since then, I have owned eight bugs, one squareback and two Karmann Ghias (plus a ’66 Corvair Monza!). All tolled, I have owned 39 cars to date.”

Mark has done some modifications on the interior and also added a roof rack to his ‘71. He found the roof rack buried under a pile of pine needles in a customer’s back yard while doing tree work there. It had been there for over 14 years. Couldn’t tell it from looking at it today, though

Mark has always been a hot rodder. His previous car pumped out almost 400 HP. Nope, not a bug; it was a Dodge Charger with a 360 C.I. (bored .040” over). It had a Sig Erson cam, ported and polished 340 heads, an Edlebrock intake manifold with a Holley 750 cfm carburetor, Hooker headers and Flowmaster mufflers. Its best run at the Memphis Motorsports Park quarter mile drag strip was 13.02 seconds; pretty good for a small block pushing a 4000-pound car. He later sold it to a friend for a thousand dollars, just to cheer the guy up! Works for me.

Following is some of Mark’s narrative.

“If anyone does not know, I was doing tree work after the ice storm of ’94 (What person was not?). I was doing a friend a favor and cutting down a tree that was leaning over his barn. We did not know it had a hollow spot in it. As it fell it circled around and crushed my skull. I have always wanted a ride in a helicopter, but not that way! I was resuscitated 17 times along the way. The doctor, who, by the way, worked eight hours nonstop on my brain, was the one to thank for me being what I am today.

That had taken place January 5, 1995. But it could not have happened to a more fortunate person. I have brother and two sisters. My brother is senior product manager with Smith Nephew. He goes all over the world, teaching doctors to install knees. One of my sisters is a physical therapist, who owns a clinic in Ocala, FL. My other sister is an occupational therapist who works in the hospital there. Did I mention that my mother is a nurse? She has helped me more than I can tell.

The tree stuck the left side of my head, right where a person’s motor skills reside, paralyzing my right side for three months and causing me to still have trouble using that side.

But let me tell you about my mom. She knew that I did not have air conditioning and she wanted to see what it would be like to ride out to our church, East Shelby Church of Christ, WITHOUT air conditioning on. Well, she went that afternoon to Bill Heard Chevrolet to get me a pickup. Of course, I make the payments, but she made the down payment and helps me with insurance too. Sweet mother!”

The longest trip Mark has made in a bug was in that first baja. He thought that reducing the weight would improve gas mileage. But instead, it got worse (aerodynamics?). He traveled from Memphis to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, camping out about half the time. Oh those were the good old days (1979-1980).

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