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Hot shoe
26,214 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
particulalry nice piece about one of my heroes - Mark Herbert (RIP)

(taken from the email)

By John Plow

It has been a few months since our friend, Mark Herbert, died in a car crash. We haven't had a newsletter during this period, and wanted to take the opportunity to reflect upon his passing.

When I first met Mark in June 1999, he was already well known in the Cal-Look sect. At the VW Classic that year, I was drawn to the Der Kleiner Panzers' club tent where a crowd had gathered around a small television. The crowd was speechless, with jaws dropped, watching a beautiful black Cal-Look Bug being unsympathetically thrashed through a series of unrelenting "donuts" and "figure eights". As found out later, Mark was behind the wheel of the car in the video, and he simply wanted to see if he could break a prototype Quaife differential in a Type I transmission. Mark put on a driving demonstration in the video that would not be forgotten, making him a star.

I met Mark later that day as I was introduced to a very tall (over 6.5 feet) skinny guy in scruffy clothes, and I immediately liked him. An extrovert on mechanical issues, Mark was friendly and eager to discuss anything related VWs or Porsches, especially if it related to engines. He was by no means a blowhard seeking to bless us all with his knowledge, he was simply a curious soul who took child-like delight in understanding how things worked and pushing the limits to find out where they stopped working.

Mark reveled in thumbing his nose at conventional wisdom in terms of engine combinations, challenging anyone who made an assertion without the experience to back it up (especially on the Forum on Cal-Look.com). It was never from the standpoint of seeking to insult someone or draw attention to himself, but more from the role of playing the devil's advocate, challenging us all to think independently and experiment prior to accepting the word of self-professed experts. While the rest of us talked about doing things, debating them in theory, Mark actually did them.

Perhaps the best mechanical manifestation of Mark's personality was the famous Super Shit Box (SSB) - a well-known car to Cal-Look.com regulars - which manifested as a piece of junk 1965 Beetle that could barely be considered a parts car. In an era of flawless show cars, however, Mark's sense of timing was perfect when it arrived on the scene during the late 1990s. The SSB was appealing because it was the ugly ducking; the mutt from the pound; the slimy frog in a world of princes; a car built with so little money and without regard to build quality that it became the attainable dream of every 16 year old wanting to go fast.

There is a tendency in death to eulogize the angelic nature of us all. In truth, however, few of us are saints, and Mark was no exception. He was a conundrum, often entertaining, kind, quirky, humble and unassuming yet opinionated, private yet extroverted, controversial, unique, intelligent, a great story teller and shit disturber. Mark was what every hobby needs, a true character, and I will miss him dearly.

They also mention that:

With the blessing of Mark's family, and in recognition of Mark's contributions to Cal-Look.com and the VW scene in general, we are changing the name of our famous ET ladder to the Mark Herbert Memorial Top 10/20. Mark was a long-time participant on the Forum, contributed to the Technical Section, and won the first Top 20 back in 2001 (and again in 2004). Mark was passionate about fast street cars that could be driven to the track to race.

He always had strong views on the cars entered in the Top 10/20, and passionately believed that finishing in either ET ladder should be about bragging rights, not prizes. As Mark would have wanted, we will no longer give away prizes to finalists. Aside from receiving a dash plaque, the award will be in knowing that your car hauls ass.


I really must get out more
5,667 Posts
just been reading it now, nice to see you will still marks name on the cal-look site its a nice touch. :hangloose
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