Inch pincher baja off road historical info...

Sandscorcher

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Hi there Folks!:)
Anybody of you...oh great vintage racers... could help me about the history of the Inch Pincher baja bug from Empi?

I don't need any info I can easily find on the web...I mean...anybody here knows any news about curiosity...desert racing.."car anatomy" and so on that normally is unavailable with a normal research?

Maybe anybody of you was the person who drove this baja into late 60's?
Or maybe anybody of you knows the person who drove it in those dusty days?
All of these info will be helpful to a friend of mine who is trying to write an historical article about this buggy...
Thanks in advance!!!:cool:

Cheers!
 

Rory

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Hi there Folks!:)
Anybody of you...oh great vintage racers... could help me about the history of the Inch Pincher baja bug from Empi?

I don't need any info I can easily find on the web...I mean...anybody here knows any news about curiosity...desert racing.."car anatomy" and so on that normally is unavailable with a normal research?

Maybe anybody of you was the person who drove this baja into late 60's?
Or maybe anybody of you knows the person who drove it in those dusty days?
All of these info will be helpful to a friend of mine who is trying to write an historical article about this buggy...
Thanks in advance!!!:cool:

Cheers!

A picture of the car would probably help LOTS! Not sure I know what the Inch Pincher is and Im pretty up-to-date on the vintage stuff.
 

Sandscorcher

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Hi Rory!

Some members here know the Inch Pincher...and posted some pics of the revell plastic modell in other thread...

Anyway...here a couple of pics! Hope this help you!

Thanks again!
Cheers!
 

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Sandscorcher

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As I wrote....I'd like to have any particular info about it...but not the ones I can easily find on the web typing the name on google search bar...
Better thing...from a person who drove this bug....or knows who drove it...or anybody who worked together with the Inch Pincher team at those days...

Thanks!
Cheers!
 

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Bro_Gill

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Sandscorcher- Inchpincher was many bugs back in the day. It was the name of the first EMPI drag car and every drag car out of their shop in the 1960s and 1970s. The name was applied to many other race cars around the world that used Empi parts. It kind of just caught on and because people liked it, they used it too. It was almost a brand name back in the early 1970s.
 

Sandscorcher

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Hi Bro!Thanks for replying...
Well....til some days ago I didn't know almost anything about it...but surfing on the web I got some info like the ones you told me now...
Mind...I'm talking about the off road version of the inch pincher not about the drag race one...
Anyway...are you saying that there is NOT a particular inch pincher off road bug for reference?
Opposite to Funco's..Chenowth's...Manx's etc...is the inch pincher just a sort of "patchwork" of "one brand" auto parts on a vw bug???
No particular inch pincher from the past worthy of prise that made something special?

Thanks!
Cheers
 

Sandscorcher

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If so...we could talk about a particular inch pincher that run in a Mexican 1000 or a Mint 400 in the late 60's...
No info about this?

Thanks again!

Cheers!
 

HDRA1

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well i can tell you this Sal Fish drove one of the inch pinchers the CEO of SCORE int

one thing you got to remember a lot of these cars were never brought back to the states after the race cause they were so beat up and not worth bringing home

the cars were very primitive back then very little internal support they might have only raced one or two times then crushed the inch pincher was a promotional thing with empi and revell model company so mabey check with revell and and see what they might have
 

Sandscorcher

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well i can tell you this Sal Fish drove one of the inch pinchers the CEO of SCORE int

one thing you got to remember a lot of these cars were never brought back to the states after the race cause they were so beat up and not worth bringing home

the cars were very primitive back then very little internal support they might have only raced one or two times then crushed the inch pincher was a promotional thing with empi and revell model company so mabey check with revell and and see what they might have

Hi HDRA1!
Nice interesting info...These are useful ones...
I could also try to contact Mr.Sal Fish and ask about inch pincher driving experiences...
Thanks so much for your help...

Cheers
 

Sandscorcher

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Hi Folks!Any other info about the Inch Pincher would be welcome if you have...

Thanks!
 

germancarsonly

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As far as I know the last years the Inch Pincher off-road car was raced it was driven by Don "Plax" Plaxco. Maybe all the time it was raced. He was my boss at the EMPI engine division in 1973 / 1974. I was the buyer or purchasing agent. Even though there were some very good off-road racers around Riverside that he was friends with he never seemed to figure out desert racing. Those guys were also my friends. Malcolm Smith, Don Roundtree, Dub Smith, and others. I don't remember who prepped the Inch Pincher off-road car for sure, but I think it was Dale Perry. He was an excellent fabricator and understood what was needed to build a desert race car that could be fast and win. Plax just over drove the car all the time so it didn't do all that well. By then FDI who owned EMPI and sponsoring the car was just another perk to one of the top managers. EMPI could have cared less how well the car ran at the races. The class this car raced in was totally dominated by Dick Lee in those days anyway. I ask Plax a few times to let me try the car out and show him how I could drive it and not break it. There was no interest in doing that at all on his part. A year are so after EMPI was closed down FDI brought me back as a manger at another of the after-market companies they owned (ET Wheels) and this time I was the one that got the race car sponsorship. Steve Kelly was there before me, but he left to start his own wheel company and the sponsorship that had been his went to me. I never heard what happened to the EMPI off-road car.

There are a ton of stories on the Internet about EMPI. The truth is that both Joe and Darrell made some really bad business decisions. When VW didn't like his dealer installed EMPI GT kits he should have backed away and just sold the parts via EMPI and not as complete cars through the VW dealers. Then the huge screw up was he sold EMPI to Filter Dynamics International. FDI was about as crooked as any large corporation can be and it wasn't a big secret. They came into Southern California in the early 1970's and bought up a bunch of automotive after-market companies. If Joe Vittone had done much research on FDI he never would have sold EMPI to them. Vittone got hosed big time.

And then Darrell. He was given the top spot of VW racers and he totally screwed it up. He could have probably cut a deal with FDI to get title to the Inch Pinchers and the name, but he didn't want to do that. No, he built a VW powered Fiat drag car. Yes, it was quick. But he alienated 1000's of VW fans by running the Fiat. What a stupid fool!

I worked both at Joe Vittone's Economotors in the early days and later at EMPI during the FDI days with the Schley Brothers. Those guys were so much smarter than Darrell Vittone and their race records prove it.
 

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Sandscorcher

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Thanks so much for the info Mr.Bruce! ;)
Very interesting story...
It is always a pleasure to get a piece of history from a veteran...

This is definitely a very good deepening about the off road Inch Pincher...

Cheers!
 

MultiScaleRacer

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Haven't been online for a long time and just saw this thread. Here are some pictures of the Inch Pincher Too that was driven by Don Ernst and Tom Bates (my dad). I remember that some of the pictures have "'69 Baja 500" written on the back, the others are either the 1000 or the 500 again.
IMG_0023.JPGIMG_0021.JPGIMG_0022.JPGIMG_0016.JPGIMG_0015.JPG
 

BajaTriumph

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We are building a tribute Empi/Revell Bug for Sal Fish’s 50th Ann. of his first race, the Norra Mexican 1000 in 1970. Details are few, Sal or Marty Fiolka are the best source, we all need send our prayers for Marty to pull through, with a full recovery ASAP!!!!
 

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Alvinapm

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Bruce Smith, Always good to hear about the early years of the VW aftermarket .


Sent from my iPad using race-deZert
 

OldGoat65

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Sorry for coming to the topic extremely late, but I found some old photos of my dad driving the Inch Pincher Too at an off-road race near Phoenix, AZ, circa 1969-70. My dad was a VW dealer for Tucson, and he knew the Vittones. I remember he had an area in the parts department that was devoted to EMPI products. Anyways, I hope the photos help you out.

Inch Pincher Too [1].jpg

Inch Pincher Too [2].jpg

Inch Pincher Too [4].jpg

Inch Pincher Too [3].jpg
 
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