15- and 16-inch Porsche rims contribute to the Notchback’s slight rake.


Mark Souza came to appreciate Notchbacks while growing up in Hawaii; but it took him another two decades to fulfill his dream of owning one of these desirable models!
By Stephan Szantai | January 29, 2015

Volkswagen Notchbacks have never been officially imported to the USA and thereby remain a rather unusual sight in our neck of the woods. Sure, you might find one or three at your local Vee Dub show, but most were "gray market" cars, i.e., they were legally brought in from Europe through different channels than VW’s official distribution route.
Brown detailing of the gas tank in detailed trunk matches the color of the upholstery – neat touch!
If you think a Notch is a rare bird on the United States’ mainland, try finding one in Hawaii, as Mark Souza will tell you… Growing up in Honolulu, he had become accustomed to all sorts of Volkswagens, thanks in part to two of his brothers, who owned a Squareback and a Ghia. At age 16, he landed a job as a valet parking attendant, which allowed him to drive a fleet of unusual rides. One of the them was a Type 3 that left him puzzled, as it had different lines from the Squarebacks and Fastbacks he had grown accustomed to – what proved to be a Notchback.
Dash lost its padded top and now incorporates Royale Cockpit VDO gauges.
He soon longed to own one, but their scarcity forced him to purchase a more common VW, a ’70 Beetle which quickly morphed into a typical early ’80s Cal Looker. Dechromed shell, bright white paint job, 1776cc powerplant, chromed “steelies”, the works… however, the birth of his son in 1983 made him quickly realize that the lil’ sedan was far from the ideal family car, hence the decision to sell it a year later.
NOS accessory headlight gravel guards came all the way from Australia.
Like many of us, life got in the way of Mark’s VW passion, with priorities being to raise his family and build a career as a police officer, leading him to eventually move to Seattle, Washington. And then, the unexpected happened… while driving on patrol in 2001, he spotted a ’65 Notchback parked on a lot. A conversation with the owner ensued, but the latter didn’t seem interested in selling it; still, both parties swapped phone numbers, just in case this gentleman changed his mind. Change his mind he did, a few months later, and Mark finally found himself the owner of his first Notch! Another unexpected encounter with the Volkswagen world took place soon after, once again during his patrol duty; he stumbled upon the renowned Northwest Vintage VW Meet, after following a group of Vee Dubs! This incident allowed him to witness the local scene at its finest and make some new friends, especially with members of a club called Eastside Air Cooled.
A small switch located in front of each seat base activates its heating system!
As time passed, Mark began to realize that his Notch required more work than he cared for, so a search on a popular classified website in 2003 led him to a 1500S of the same 1965 vintage, in pieces but in much better shape. While the body was sent away for a thorough sand blasting, work began on the undercarriage with help from good friend Bruce Fredriksen. Martin Magnia at DDB provided a needed pan half, soon welded and ready for a few coats of semi-gloss black with Caramel Brown accents – Bruce handled the paint gun. All components went back on the floorpan nicely, including the refurbished front beam, drop spindles and Type 3 disc brakes, complemented with CB Performance disc brakes in the back. The previous owner additionally supplied Mark with a KCR-built gearbox. Equipped with a 3.88 ring-and-pinion, it conceals a Super-Diff, welded third and fourth gears, plus other hi-po tricks to survive the abuse of the 2110cc motor.
American-spec bumpers were used in front and rear.
The latter came to life after Mark filled his shopping list with CB Performance parts, where he purchased the VW AS41 Super Case, 044 heads with 40 and 35.5mm valves, 82mm forged crank, short Type 3 intake manifolds, and more. Tim Hancock of Tim’s ACVW Service assembled this powerhouse, using other time-honored products along the way, such as a Bosch 010 distributor, Weber 44IDF carbs, Cima 90.5mm pistons/cylinders, Scat 5.5-inch H-beam rods and an Engle FK-44 camshaft. Other incidentals include a ceramic-coated 1-5/8-inch Kymco header and a Magnaflow muffler, in addition to a Berg Type 3 full-flow oil kit.
Fed by a pair of Weber 44 IDFs, the Tim Hancock-assembled 2110cc engine offers plenty of grunt.
It took 18 months for the shell to come out of the body shop, but it certainly looked the part once beautifully painted by Derek Deterding, in DuPont single-stage L41 Black. Lon Corley (Mark’s father-in-law) and members of Eastside Air Cooled then helped mate the body to the pan. The main deviation from stock relates to the dash, now devoid of its padded top and equipped with Royal Cockpit VDO instruments. Three more gauges reside in a custom pod located around the steering column. The command center features factory low-back seats (now upgraded with a heating system!) and Sewfine covers with matching side panels, installed by Doug Fife at Doug’s Upholstery. A TMI carpet kit and cocoa mats adorn the floor, while other interior amenities include a Flat-4 GT steering wheel, a Scat shifter, plus a custom passenger grab handle in the shape of a Hawaiian Koa wood surfboard. Just a reminder of Mark’s love for Hawaii!
Upholstery kit from Sewfine Interior Products and mixes Caramel Brown vinyl with Espresso-colored tweed inserts.
He also went on a hunt for a few more accessories to dress the exterior, leading to the installation of Type 3 bumper guards and tower rails, NOS finger plates on the door handles, together with NOS Australian headlight gravel guards (note desirable SB12 headlight rings). To add some tasteful “bling” to the vehicle, our man chose a set of Porsche rims chromed in California, specifically 15x4.5 911-style Flat-4 repros and genuine 16x6 original alloys. Handling relies in part on 145-15 Nankang and 205/55-16 Ohtsu Nexus rubber. A powdercoated roof rack and a pair of fog lights complete the outfit.
Uniquely shaped grab handle shows Mark’s love for the Hawaiian lifestyle! ABOVE, American-spec bumpers.
Since completing his project car in 2007, Mark has had the good fortune of winning “Best of Show” at the happening that inspired him half a dozen years earlier – the Northwest Vintage VW Meet. Quite a feat, considering he was finishing his ride just a few hours before the event opened its doors! A year later, he joined another social group, Kahiko Kula VW Club, which has allowed him to connect with his Hawaiian roots. This team gathers a majority of former residents from Hawaii, who made Seattle (or its surrounding cities) their home. It took Mark years to fulfill his dream of driving a Notchback, but he can now be proud to own one of the nicest examples in the Pacific Northwest – and enjoy the Hawaiian lifestyle in the process! Mark would like to thank his lovely wife Meredith and his family for their patience, input and support. Also to Bruce Fredriksen for all his help on this project; members of Eastside Air Cooled and Kahiko Kula VW Clubs. And finally, thanks to Tim Hancock, Mario Velotta, Bill Johnson, Gary Souza, Chad Rainwater and Alternative Blasters.

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