An afternoon with the Schley Brothers


The Schley Brothers may have been identified everywhere in the world
for his or her ace tuning on Fords.

Paul Schley says, “We selected to race the Volkswagen just because it was the one automotive we owned in 1963. We had been 17 and in highschool. Our first automotive was a Mannequin A Ford, and we might have cherished have purchased a muscle automotive, however our mother determined in any other case. She was scared that we might be entering into hassle. If solely she knew what we might be doing with our small VW afterwards. Our first ever Beetle was a model new black 1963 sedan, with white shoeshine lettering on its sides. It was nicknamed the “hairless Beetle.”

However as a substitute they’re identified for tuning the primary Volkswagen Beetle to run within the 10 second time within the quarter mile – the fabled Lightning Bug. V-Dub fans worldwide put the engineering feats of Paul and Mark Schley amongst the legends within the higher automotive tradition. They had been a part of the enduring 1960s tuner tradition in Southern California that made the covers of each scorching rod journal within the nation.

Being buddies with Chad Schley, CEO of BOXO instruments, I scored
an invite to his dad and uncle’s store/museum in Orange, California. What a
deal with! Past the depraved automobiles – together with a recreated reproduction of the famed Lightning
Bug, there have been many automobiles to see, together with quite a few shows that instructed the
story of constructing Beetles and different air-cooled dragsters scorch the strip.

The unique was crashed closely by Mark in October 1969 at Orange County Raceway. Paul and Mark usually took turns working the automotive and it was technically Paul’s flip, however he was tied up with some exercise within the pits.  Unbeknownst to Mark, he could be the sufferer of a damaged weld on the entrance axle.

The bug rolled a number of instances earlier than flipping over the guard
rail. Mark luckily escaped unharmed. Contemplating the “racing seat” was a
cafeteria chair from Loyola College in California, it was a miracle that he wasn’t
killed, but it surely was the top of that incarnation of the Lightning Bug.

Unique door panels from the automotive – together with the unique motor – are on show. A practical reproduction of the automotive, that runs in occasions everywhere in the world, sits within the storage with numerous different quick automobiles. The brothers have since found street racing and have a number of automobiles, together with a contemporary Corvette ZR-1 that take to the monitor often. In addition they campaigned a Dodge Viper efficiently in a number of occasions.

Paul and Mark Schley are additionally the founders of Schley
Merchandise, higher referred to as SP Instruments which manufacture OEM specialty instruments for
Snap-On and different well-known software truck manufacturers. The innovation that the Schleys
have dropped at racing — and the automobiles all of us drive on the road – are all on
show within the massive storage.

The partitions are lined in footage and show instances. Driver’s
fits, helmets, crew shirts from a number of completely different seasons adorn the partitions and
instances within the museum together with memorable pictures of an unimaginable period of scorching
rodding and drag racing. Two of the automobiles particularly stood out as we walked
round: rails powered by air-cooled four-cylinder VW engines – able to sub-10-second
runs. That may not appear so uncommon for at the moment’s 1000 hp tuned fours, however for
the late 1960s and early 1970s, this was digital magic.

For the automotive man who grew up studying all of the magazines will acknowledge a lot of what’s on show. However for sure, a historical past lesson is there available. A particular part is devoted to the brothers’ grandfather, Conrad Werra, who found the method of aluminum casting and constructed a foundry devoted to the craft. They’re very happy with their roots as a lot as they’re happy with their very own accomplishments in tuning, trade and racing.

My tour was led by the uber-friendly Schley Brothers themselves. They’d many tales to inform. For me, it was an unforgettable journey, deep into Southern California automotive tradition, which set the bar for all who adopted.

I attempted to absorb as a lot as I may. However, in all honesty, I feel I might have one other go to to the Schley Brothers’ storage to set it in concrete for my thoughts.

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