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Mouse Trap.jpg
1- Howard Muse Mouse Trap  |    2- The top chopped Mouse Trap  |   


Howard MUSE is a man who has the distinction of having the world's fastest "Mouse Trap", a VW drag car which began life as a '54 sedan. The Mouse trap's builder spent 3 years testing & changing the set-up to go the e.t.'s down near, and hopefuly under, the present class record. The car's appearance all this time was completely neglected.

Awesome night drag racing shot by Steve REYES... Hard launch... Note that American racing rims were used at back, and the Volkswaffe Racing team signwriting on the decklid.

Some body work was done and a paint job added to dress it up for first Bug-in in 1968. Hood, fenders, and engine compartment cover were all replaced with lightweight fiberglass units made by Mar Mac enterprises. One look at this beautiful pearl yellow machine with its flared fenders and over-all immaculate appearance tells the story of the owner's plan to have ont of the best looking cars at the meet, in addition to going fast.For the go fast part of the car, Howard spent the last 3 years on the change it and try it method that all drag racers use in their quest for more power.

A very early picture that was posted by Pip on a forum a while back. This picture show a very early Mouse Trap (note that the Bardahl lettering was not made on the front wing).

Above picture is the best color picture of Howard Muse Mouse Trap that I know. It comes from an old US magazine drag racing pictorial. You never know what you will find in those books...

Another old picture by Pip and what a picture... I especially like this one because of the stance of the Mouse Trap. The bug looked very very impressive...

Very cool picture provided by Xavier CROS showing Howard wrenching while smoking. All an era!
The powerplant started as a '68 VW 1500cc engine. Now it is far cry from its humble beginnings. The bore was brought up from it sstock 83mm to 88mm, with the stroke increased from 69mm to 82mm.

An SPG roller crank was fitted to the lower end of the case but, before installation, it was fitted with 8 steel pins. SPG rods are fitted with EMPI pistons and Dieves rings. A Moon 340 special cam gives 0,481 lift.

Dual port heads were selected for the engine and extensive modifications were made. The spark plug holes were welded up and new ones drilled at a different angle. Combustion chamber, all ports, and valves are polished to a mirror finish. The valves were made to Howard's specifications and ground to reworked heads.

Bolted to these heads is a special intake manifold made by Howard. Four tubes join to a collector box with a big AFB C-series carburetor mounted to it. The big 4-barrel carb waq worked over so it now has dual-feed inlets and special floats to take the 22lb. of pressure the Paxton supercharger delivers to the carb.

The wild engine is bolted up to a modified '58 VW trans. Howard had a special set of gears made to change the gear ratio to adapt the car's drag potential. To withstand the abuse of the drags on the axles, and just to be on the safe side, some new heavy-duty ones were used.

Howard MUSE is the engine man for Quality auto, Bellflower, Calif., where the car was built. They specialize in VW repair, tuning, and hop-up services. The shop even has its own dyno that Howard put to good use.

Dan GLEASON did the beautiful pearl yellow paintjob and pinstriping by Kelly of Compton. The car's appearance is one of a very shapr show car, more than a drag racer, but its 108,67 mph at 11.05 et tells it like it is.

The owner of the little german bug is an optimist, and with good reason : "although the CC/GS class record is 10.26, I hope to change all that now that most of the bugs are worked out".

Extracts from the May 1970 issue of Dune Buggies & Hot VWs magazine.

Copyright 2008 El Dub - All rights reserved.

E-mail : eldub@cal-look.com



Our cover car is a fantastic CC/GS Volkswagen, owned, built and driven by Howard MUSE of Bellflower, California. It is also an example of the ultimate in wonders that can be worked with the people's wagon. Keeping purity first in his mind, Howard spent 3 years and nearly 11.000$ to keep his Volswagen all VW. He keep very close.

This is without any doubt the BEST cover a VW bug ever made in an Hot Rodding magazine. This one is definitely a must-have for any Nostalgia VW enthusiasm!

Howard started with a 1954 bug. He gutted, removed, drilled and scraped until every unessential piece of excess weight had been discarded. The body is all metal; only the fenders are fiberglass. Keeping the wheelbase stock, Howard performed all of chassis work himself. The only vendor work done to the car itself involved a tube axle, the engine support and some suspension part built by Deano Dyno Soar.

Next came the powerplant. Howard chose a 1968 block for the base of his power source. The dimensions were changed to an 88mm bore and 82mm stroke, producing 121 cubic inches. With only 121 cubic inches to work with, the remainder of the engine had to go together with the precision of an oversized Swiss watch. EMPI supplied the pistons as well as the roller bearing rods. The rings are Dykes. Dual port '68 heads were used in combination wit 34mm exhaust valves and 40mm intake valves to produce a 10.1/1 CR.

Breathing in the heads had been made easier by the steady hand of owner Howard Muse. Dean Moon provided the cam (340 duration and .481 inh lift). Now our plot thickens a bit. Remember, Howard's VW is blown. But, due to the small cubic-inch size, thought of the conventional 6-71 GMC puffer was out of question. Howard jumped into action and designed a special intake manifold. Then, Paxton-Mc Cullough aided him with a super-charger similar to ones used on the Studebaker Avanti. Fuel is fed to the engine by a C series AFB carburetor.

All of the engine parts and frive train were balanced by Balancing Service of South Gate, Calif. On the dyno the mighty-mite produced a wailing 300hp. Did we say wailing? The four-megaphone exhaust headers, built by Mitchell Manufacturing, do just that. They give forth with the most hait-rising whine that has ever made our ears bleed.

In getting the horsepower to the asphalt, Howard retains a majority of VW parts as running gear. Both the transmission and flywheel are VW, while the clutch is Porsche. To twist out the rpms Howard uses a 5,40 rear end gear and Henry's axles.

To date, Howard has pushed his bg throught the timing lights with recordings in the low 11s bracket at 117 mph.

In this maxie world of big-bore monster blocks, it's kind of nice to see a mini motr really smoking it!