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Author Topic: The Early 1990's  (Read 5177 times)
Jim Ratto
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« on: March 05, 2009, 22:03:09 pm »

With the advent of the internet, and the glut of repro- parts in the last 15 years or so, we can all agree that the California Look phenomenon has really reached probably an all time high in popularity. Look at the nature of the ads in the magazines, they all are after the big hp, subtly-detailed, raked thing running Porsche alloys or BRMs. Hey, it beats the speakerbox/splash graphics scene of 20-25 yr ago.

But to me the real zenith came about in 1990. Under the shadow of the gawdy-graphics and so on we've all tried so hard to forget, there were a number of cars that resisted the (at the time) trends, and stood apart as what we all know as Cal Look now.

I've gone on and on about this before. But it really was a cool time for me to see those cars (in person) that actually resembled the cars I had read about in old dog-eared and faded Hot VW's in the sheds behind Buggy House (the owner had every issue from 1967 to date organzied chronologically, and I would sit back at lunch). You'd go to the Classic in 1990-91-92... and there'd be maybe 8-12 real deal Cal Look cars.
Still today, when I see Schwimmer's ragtop, it still takes me back to first few times of seeing it in person, maybe spring of 1990 at Bakersfield? Seeing it now is like smelling fresh mowed grass, and getting transported back to being 6 years old and playing in the sprinklers in the back yard at night or something... you know what I mean.
So much is written about the 1970's and all, but to me little attention (aside from chapter on Schwimmer's oval in KS' latest) has really been paid upon the Early 1990's.
If you were around, give us your impression.
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Bewitched666
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 08:05:25 am »

I agree with you Jim but i guess becoz everybody that is into real callook refers to the 70's period becoz thats the period it all started.
I also think becoz little is written over the period you are refering to it didnt catch on to the younger guys comming up today.

I think its the same for the 80's callook period. Cool
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bugnut68
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 20:35:15 pm »

I agree.  I'm at a point with my '70, though, where I think I may focus more on the performance end, bit by bit, then on getting it looking "nice."  Partially inspired by the Herbert SSB. 
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Bugsy
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 23:48:03 pm »

Hey, You got a point here. Don´t think i have read so much about the 80's  and 90's as the 70's. Cal-look was there then althoug in another form, maybe our form as we did grow up then. I think i have come to a point where i am trying to get my car into something in between those two (70-80's) eras. I like Rossi's and chromies together. Even if they are from two different decades. I'd like to see more 80's pictures beacuse that gives me the god memories. It was before the Internet even then, and dont get the atention it deserves in the cal-look history. I do miss that time and would like to see some more cars from then.
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Ohio Tom (DdK)
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2009, 05:40:57 am »

I remember cars from the 80-90's well.
Most that were called "cal-Look" had the usual Rossi head lights and 1pc windows. Most were 69' and younger.
A common thing to do was totall smooth over the decklid. Nothing on it whatsoever.
Taking the De-chromed look to the extreem by frenching everything possible.
Custom Ricaro seats. tons of guages.... a 1776 out back...
Somewhat of an era-gone-bad.

I can appreciate why the defenition of Cal-look reverted back to its roots.

The whole direction of the VW scene back then was kind of weird.
We had cars like the "Right stuff Ghia" on a rotissary at the shows.
It was all flash and Glam....

I like today's styleing much better...
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Bewitched666
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2009, 11:37:52 am »

When it started in the 60/70's things evolved during the 80/90's meaning style,engines etc.
I think a part was when things got available too that style was influenced by that time according to the stuff you could get.

But like with alot of things when it gets true the years the hype slows down to a certain group of diehards.
With the internet now you can search true all the years and i think like with many things old skool is comming back.

Maybe the 80's style will also comeback someday.But looking at the scene here in holland where most of the dutch people
arent into flashy colours etc i dont think that the 80's style will catch on here.Dutch people like to stay low profile with alot of things.
They have a saying here be normal then you will be crazy enough,haha Grin
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Stephan S
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2009, 23:08:18 pm »

Maybe the 80's style will also comeback someday.But looking at the scene here in holland where most of the dutch people
arent into flashy colours etc i dont think that the 80's style will catch on here.Dutch people like to stay low profile with alot of things.
They have a saying here be normal then you will be crazy enough,haha Grin

Volkswagen trends tend to follow fashion - think clothing, etc. If pastel colors become once again fashionable, you can bet we'll see more VWs painted turquoise, magenta, peppermint green... Wait a little longer; pastel colors will come back in fashion sooner than later!
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Bewitched666
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 08:11:58 am »

I agree Stephan,btw loved your demon book Cool
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JeePee/DVK
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2009, 09:46:32 am »

This was mine looker in the early 90's.





And the oranje looker of my friend Michel.



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streetvw
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2009, 10:33:29 am »

my car from the 90's probably more custom that cal look but in the 90's in the UK this was considered cal look  Huh
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 10:36:39 am by streetvw » Logged
Bewitched666
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2009, 20:13:17 pm »

Nice looking cars Jeepee,didnt recognize you Grin
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2009, 21:00:20 pm »

Maybe the 80's style will also comeback someday.But looking at the scene here in holland where most of the dutch people
arent into flashy colours etc i dont think that the 80's style will catch on here.Dutch people like to stay low profile with alot of things.
They have a saying here be normal then you will be crazy enough,haha Grin

Volkswagen trends tend to follow fashion - think clothing, etc. If pastel colors become once again fashionable, you can bet we'll see more VWs painted turquoise, magenta, peppermint green... Wait a little longer; pastel colors will come back in fashion sooner than later!

Think those colors made a brief blip on the radar last year. We were baby clothes shopping somewhere, and there were bright pink, aquamarine, day glow yellow stuff everywhere. Maybe it is for safety's sake?

Anyway, this post wasn't so much aimed at bringing back the soft pink pastels and mint-green hues and cars. More of a reflection upon the era as when the public got a dose of what a real "Cal Look" car was about. Outside of the clan of Schwimmer and Mason, Brinton and Rhoads, Lowe... etc most cars were most definitley not part of the look. They were on a different wavelength, these cars that largely made up the third generation of DKP cars. You gotta remember... 1988-1989-1990-1991.... there were no fake BRMs, very few cars were in the magazines running 2.0 liter or larger IDA motors, and all the de rigeuer stuff we all take for granted now.... Berg linkage, Thing fan shrouds, traction bars and the like. From my reference point (working the counter @ a VW shop that was about as Cal Look as a rabies shot is), seeing the 1990 issue with all these BRM-shod cars gracing the cover of Hot VWs was like figuring out what girls are for. Then to see these cars in person at various events in California, here was all this rare, exotic go-fast stuff all screwed to a few cars....  after all the mint green suicide doored, pink wink mirrored, 1641'd baby Dellorto cars I had to see day in and day out... this was go fast VW heaven. Obviously, these guys "got it" .... whatever "it" was. Keith Seume's article on Panzers III in Feb of '93 Volksworld, confirmed it.
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streetvw
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2009, 23:27:24 pm »

the feature which set it off for me was when Volksworld ran the article on Hector Bonnilla's 67 (shubbie's oval in the back ground) that car rocked my world after that my flamed wrongun was done for I remember saying to my brother that this would be the way that the scene would be going, it was clean and lean and I loved the stance the colour the hot 1679cc motor I must have read that feature 100 times the car still rates as one of my top 5 cars
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Stephan S
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2009, 00:17:36 am »

I understand what you're saying, Jim!

I moved to California in 1992 and, until the mid- to late-'90s, you would only see a handful of “genuine” Cal Look cars at SoCal VW events. Keith's "old testament" (!) definitely helped our scene, as well as the Internet, plus DKP getting more organized in (early) 1998. I think I wrote this before: I felt somewhat lonely going to VW shows around '93-94 with the ex-Lowe Oval. Only a handful of VW guys seemed to care about the California Look scene.

The September 1990 issue of HotVWs reminded enthusiasts that the "original" California Look wasn't dead. I remember reading that issue back then and thinking how cool the cars featured were. I loved Bill Schwimmer's Ragtop and, man, Jim Lowe's Pearl White Oval was such a great sleeper! Not many street/hi-po Bugs featured a stock VW color and factory moldings when he built it in 1982-83...
In 1991, I wrote a 10-page article about the California Look for the French Super VW Mag (Fabian: warm-up the scanner!) and wrote a short piece about Lowe's Oval. As obvious as it may seem now, NEVER did I picture myself owning this car back then. Heck, I didn't even know I'd move to SoCal soon after writing this story!

OK, back to our topic... I first saw the DKP cars "in the flesh" at the Summer Jamboree, back in 1991. True horsepower heaven. These cars were definitely in opposition with the other VWs seen at the show. It doesn't mean I didn't like some of the '80s Cal Lookers; in fact, I still like some of them today (think DKK cars).
One of the strongest/fondest memories from my first trip to the U.S. (1985) is seeing my first Cal Look Bug on the very first day of my visit. I can still tell you were I saw it (the freeway close to Commonwealth VW where Sarge works) and I can tell you exactly how it looked (a dechromed turquoise Oval on chromies). It could have been Kevin Brennan's Oval; but who knows... Cal Look VWs (in their broader 1980s definition) were absolutely everywhere at the time!

Sorry for the rambling...  Smiley

I agree Stephan,btw loved your demon book Cool
Thanks by the way!


« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 00:27:58 am by Stephan S » Logged

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Donny B.
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2009, 03:56:00 am »

I remember one of my first trips to SoCal in the middle 80s.  I was sitting at a stoplight with one of my friends in the passenger seat and up pulls this white early car, no chrome and Fuchs.  The driver was black and the car sounded so cool.  I wanted to cry.  My car had primer spots and stock wheels with Porsche nipple hub caps.  My car was the same one that I have today.  I had to add the hub cap clips to secure the hub caps to the '66 rims.  I have a photo somewhere.  That was just one of many encounters with other Cal-Look Bugs.  We saw many VWs in the Cal-Look style while we were there.  We made all the neat places like Gene Berg, BFY, but the best was Car Custom.  They had everything for the VW you could ever want.  To me that was like heaven.  I remember we hit a huge thunderstorm on the way over and it continued all the way into Azusa.  We found an all night diner around 2:00 AM and stayed there until around 4:00. then drove over to Car-Custom and parked in the parking lot next door.  We did not wake up until the first customer was already inside, but we were the second and third.  This was not the '90s but the precursor to the '90s.  It set in motion a number of things for me and helped me decide on the direction I would go with my car.  Graphics were popular, but never appealed to me.  Car-Custom was a VW supermarket and I loved it.  The next year we went to Showdown 7.  I think that was 1987.  Shannon Rae sure looked hot to me at that time.  To this day that was the best car show I have ever been to.  The engine blow was fantastic and the bikini contest was great although I left just as it was getting going.  I realize this is not the '90s, but it sure led me into the '90s.  I am sure others will remember this show.  I digress, I think the thing I wanted to convey was that at that time there were VWs mostly Cal-Look everywhere.  Now when you go over you don't see any unless its DKP cruise nite at Nick's.   Sorry for the long winded commment...
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Don Bulitta
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Neil Davies
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2009, 13:43:32 pm »

seeing the 1990 issue with all these BRM-shod cars gracing the cover of Hot VWs was like figuring out what girls are for.

So what you're saying really is that if you don't like real Cal Lookers, you're a homo. Wink
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speedwell
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2009, 22:10:11 pm »

ok steph  Wink

great report at the time  Cool
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speedwell
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2009, 22:11:20 pm »

 Wink
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speedwell
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 22:12:30 pm »

 Wink
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speedwell
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 22:15:28 pm »

 Cool
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speedwell
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 22:17:24 pm »

 Wink
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 22:22:14 pm »

fabs, could you scan the report on Cal Look and Der Kleiner Panzers from 1983 Hot VWs. The issue with Larry Shaw's car.
?

Thanks friend,

Jim
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speedwell
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2009, 22:37:26 pm »

 Wink
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speedwell
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2009, 22:39:11 pm »

sorry but don't have the page 67 scanned , and i've problem with the computer to scan and other thing
i will do that when the computer will be fixed

fabs
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Jim Ratto
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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2009, 22:47:03 pm »

thanks fabs. I think a lot of guys haven't seen this article on DKP history and it is one of the BEST

Wish I could find my old copy
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Stephan S
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2009, 14:44:35 pm »

Wink
Thanks Fab'! Incidentally, that '70 with the black T-bars (Page 30) belonged to Bill Schwimmer. Small world.
Love that HotVWs article, too.
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Der Kleiner Panzers
dirk zeyen
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2009, 22:10:07 pm »

Volkswagen trends tend to follow fashion - think clothing, etc. If pastel colors become once again fashionable, you can bet we'll see more VWs painted turquoise, magenta, peppermint green... Wait a little longer; pastel colors will come back in fashion sooner than later!

hello stephan i hope magenta comes back Grin
since 1991 my car.
it's triumph magenta from the 70ties

dirk zeyen
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beetletom
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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2009, 22:24:30 pm »

yes, i'm doing one of my cars in pastel yellow, frenched rear lights  Cool
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Bewitched666
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« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2009, 16:36:37 pm »

My porsche magenta pink coloured beetle in the 80's
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