COEUR d’ALENE — Some dads have the magic touch when it comes to making something awesome.
For Kevin Massengale, that something just happens to be Volkswagen Beetles.
"Why Bugs? I’ve had all kinds of sports cars, and this is the most fun car you’ll ever have for people enjoying it and putting a smile on their face," Massengale said, beaming a smile of his own. "Everybody you see is grinning."
Massengale, of Post Falls, has shared the joy of Beetles with his family, including his son-in-law, Mike Tibbetts, and his grandson, Logan Tibbetts. The men were downtown at Car d'Lane showing their souped-up Beetles at the show and shine event on Saturday. Visitors were quite impressed to see a 454 Chevrolet big block engine masterfully placed under the hood of Massengale's bright red 1965 Beetle.
"To put a big block in a Bug, people don’t believe you can fit it in there," he said. "Those motors are the biggest Chevrolets made, in the old days.”
Massengale completed the rebuild of his ride in 2005. He also rebuilt Tibbetts' black 1964 Beetle, which runs on a 383 Chevy stroker small block engine. Both engines were pulled from Chevy Novas.
"We’ve been known to compare speeds once or twice on the highway, but that’s illegal,” Massengale said, smiling again. "Not to brag, but the big block leaves the small block behind. He’s probably got about 400 horse and this one's 550."
"I helped him cut the metal for it,” Tibbetts said. "He welded it all in and everything, but if he ever needed help, he called me."
Tibbetts' Bug is actually the car he drove in high school, but how he got it back is an interesting story.
"He got a phone call from the state patrol telling him that if he didn’t get his car off the side of the road, they’re going to crush it," his father-in-law said. "Years earlier he had sold the car and the guy he sold the car to didn’t change the title, and he took the motor out of it and left it on the side of the road.
"It just came back around."
Even Massengale's daughter, Gwenn, drives a Bug that he rebuilt, a beauty of a 1957 oval window model. And when Logan gets a little older, he'll probably help Dad and Grandpa build one for him to drive.
“I like how they put them together and how they work together to build them,” Logan said.
"He wants a car already, he wants to build a car together," Tibbetts said. "We’re thinking about getting him a car when he’s 12 or 13 and start to build it with him."
This was the 27th year for Car d'Lane, which has been held Father's Day weekend from the very start.
"It's really cool for the younger dads, they bring their kids,” Massengale said. "I think everybody enjoys a good car show."
Emily Boyd, events coordinator for the Coeur d'Alene Downtown Association, said she gets to hear lots of great family stories from people who return year after year.
"A lot of men love their cars," she said. "It all fell into place and it just became a tradition to have it around Father’s Day."