SoCal or Cal Look Volkswagen

May 06, 2023

The Cal Look, or sometimes referred to as SoCal look, of air-cooled Volkswagens is a distinctive style that originated in Southern California in the 1960s. This style of customization transformed Volkswagen Beetles and buses into sleek and streamlined machines, perfect for cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway or racing down the drag strip.

The Cal look was defined by a few key features, such as lowered suspension, wider tires, and a distinctive paint job. The goal was to make the VW look fast and aggressive, even if it wasn't the fastest car on the road. This look was popularized by a group of enthusiasts known as the "Beach Boys," who cruised the streets of Southern California in their customized VWs.

The Beach Boys were known for their love of surfing, and their cars reflected this passion. Many of their VWs were painted in bright colors and adorned with surfboards on the roof. They also added aftermarket exhaust systems, which gave their cars a distinct sound that could be heard from blocks away.

One of the most famous Cal Look VWs was the Inch Pincher, a drag racing Beetle that was built by Ron Lummus in the late 1960s. Lummus was a master fabricator and had a reputation for building some of the fastest VWs on the drag strip. The Inch Pincher was his crowning achievement, with a custom-built chassis, a turbocharged engine, and a distinctive paint job that featured a giant inchworm on the hood.

The Inch Pincher was a dominant force on the drag strip, winning numerous races and setting records for the fastest VW in the world. Its success helped to popularize the Cal look and inspired countless enthusiasts to customize their own VWs.

The popularity of the Cal look peaked in the 1970s, as more and more enthusiasts jumped on the bandwagon. However, as the VW scene became more mainstream, the look began to evolve. New styles and trends emerged, and the Cal look began to fade into the background.

Today, the Cal look is still celebrated by a dedicated group of enthusiasts who appreciate the simple, stripped-down aesthetic of these early customizations. While the Inch Pincher may be a relic of the past, its influence can still be seen in the countless VWs that continue to roam the streets and drag strips of Southern California.

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