Monday, July 20, 2009

Hi-Tech Car Factory

Source: YouTube

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Punch buggy

A 1967 Volkswagen Beetle

Punch buggy (also called punch bug or slug bug) is a car game generally played by young children in which participants lightly punch each other in the shoulder upon first sight of a Volkswagen Beetle while calling out "Slug bug!" or "Punch buggy!" in reference to the Beetle's nickname, the Bug. See also "padiddle."


Most references about the game originate from unofficial sources and personal accounts from players. Estimates suggest that it has existed since the 1960's.


Some players consider Volkswagen's 1998 reintroduction of the New Beetle invalid for game purposes but, as older models become more rare, some players may choose to include the new Beetles. Others allow "classic" bugs to count for two punches. Another similar variation is to count a Best Buy Geek Squad Beetle as four regular punches (or slug-bugs). Some authors suggest similar games with station wagons, convertibles, PT cruisers and buses. A simpler variation has been suggested for use in helping to engage autistic children during car rides.

External Links:

Rules For Playing Slug Bug or Punch Buggy

Bug: The Strange Mutations of the World's Most Famous Automobile

Baja Bug

A 'Baja Bug'.

The term Baja Bug generally refers to an original Volkswagen Beetle modified to operate off-road (open desert, sand dunes and beaches), although other versions of air-cooled Volkswagens are sometimes modified as well.


Baja Bugs originated in Southern California in the late 1960s as an inexpensive answer to the successful, Volkswagen-based dune buggies of the mid-1960s, especially the Meyers Manx. The building of the first Baja Bug is generally credited to Gary Emory of Parts Obsolete circa 1968. The first Baja Bug in racing is credited to Dave Deal, the famous Californian cartoonist, in the Mexican 1000 of 1968. The first fiberglass baja kit (bug eye kit) was not introduced until 1969 by the Miller-Havens company. In the early days before fiberglass body panels became available, enthusiast and racers simply made their own modification to both the body and mechanicals of a stock VW to develop a machine suited to harsh, off-road environments. The metal fenders and front and rear aprons of the car would be partially cut away to allow more for ground clearance and suspension travel. This came to be know as a "cut baja". More engine power was attained by fitting dual port heads and modifying fuel injection systems from VW Type 3 cars to work on the Type 1 Beetle engine.

Why the Beetle?

The Beetle was popular in less-developed areas of the world because of its rear-mounted air-cooled engine, flat floorpan, and rugged torsion bar suspension. In fact, advertising of the period touted the fact that the Beetle was so watertight that it floated. Those same attributes made the Beetle the perfect choice for the basis of an off-road vehicle as evidenced by the car's success both then and now in the Baja 1000 off-road race.


Basic modifications are simple. A lightweight, shortened fiberglass front body panel is fitted after the sheetmetal from the trunklid edge forward and rear engine decklid and everything rearward (rear apron and engine compartment) is removed. The rear treatment leaves the engine totally exposed to aid in cooling. A tubular steel cage front and rear bumper is fitted to the body and floorpan for protection of engine and occupants. Shortened fiberglass fenders both front and rear meant removal of the Beetle's distinctive running boards and the likely addition of more tubular steel parts (side bars) in their place. The rugged torsion bar front and rear suspension standard on the Beetle, allows it to withstand the rigors of offroading and the rear ride height to easily be raised slightly and stiffened to make clearance for larger heavy-duty off-road tires and wheels. The taller sidewall tires provide more flexible ride comfort and rocky road ground clearance. The Beetle suspension "stops" can be moved to allow more suspension travel. Longer shock absorbers for the increase in suspension travel, provide more dampening control over bumps giving more driver control and comfort. Some people even get rid of the torsion bar suspension and install coilover-type springs that mount to a roll cage, allowing extreme amounts of travel with a very comfortable ride.

The Baja Bug today

Though Baja Bugs have been greatly supplanted in recent years by tube-framed, purpose-built buggies known as sand rails, due to the slowly dwindling supply of suitable donor cars, they remain a popular choice in desert regions as few beaches in the US are open to vehicular traffic. Many are fitted with highly modified Volkswagen engines and a few home-built hybrids have Ford Pinto engine, Chevrolet Corvair, Porsche, Mazda, Subaru or other four- to eight-cylinder water-cooled engines. Customized roadgoing Baja Bugs remain fairly popular as well.

Recently, Volkswagen has attempted a revival of the Baja Bug with the Dune concept in 2000.


Rallye Baja

Baja California

Baja Kit ("bug eye" style)

External links:

Southern California's Baja Bug Club

VW Baja Bug owners and drivers at

VW Offroad site Australia.

VW Baja site UK

Baja Coalition Website

The fastest growing online VW community

Volkswagen Type 4

Volkswagen 411 / Volkswagen 412

The Volkswagen Type 4 was a mid-sized 2 or 4-door saloon or 2-door estate built by Volkswagen (VW) of Germany. It was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1968and withdrawn from sale in 1974.

The Type 4 was larger than the Volkswagen Type 3 and had a more powerful engine (1.7 - 1.8 litres, as opposed to 1.5 - 1.6 for the Type 3). The Type 3 and Type 4 were the last of the company's air-cooled models apart from the vanagon Type 2 bus range which continued until 1983 (and had an updated version of the type 4 fuel injected engine), and followed on from the Volkswagen Type 1 ("Beetle"). They were succeeded by the massively successful Golf/Rabbit and Dasher/Passat.


1971 Volkswagen 411LE.

The Type 4 introduced many firsts to the Volkswagen range. These included: unibody construction, MacPherson strut front suspension, rear suspension with coil springs and trailing wishbones, a hydraulic clutch (for models equipped with a manual transmission), and one of the first fully automatic transmissions (the first was in the 1969 Type 3 models) in a Volkswagen. (Previous cars had used an automatic (vacuum-actuated) clutch, but gears still had to be changed manually.) The Type 4 was also Volkswagen's first 4-door car. The MacPherson strut front suspension was later successfully employed in the 1302/1303 ("Super Beetle").

The Type 4's battery was located under the driver's seat. In the rear of the car was located a gasoline-operated heater (an Eberspächer BA4) that was fired by a glow plug accessible from a hidden rear window deck plate.


1968 Volkswagen 411 4 door saloon. 1968 models, without fuel injected motors, are distinguished by their unusually shaped single headlamp covers.

The Type 4 was marketed as the Volkswagen 411, produced from 1968 to 1972, and, modestly improved, as the 412 from 1972 till 1974. Both ranges included a fastback saloon and an estate version. The car at launch came with a 1679 cc twin carburettor engine: just one year later, in 1969, this was replaced with a fuel injected unit, increasing claimed power output from 68 to 80 bhp (60 kW), and making this one of the first mass production vehicles to include the feature — along with the Volkswagen Type 3, which also had received electronic fuel injection in 1968. Fuel injection was indicated by the suffix letter 'E' (for Einspritzung) in the model's name: the 411E's 80 bhp (60 kW) engine was shared with the mid-engined Porsche 914 also launched in 1969. The most obvious visual change in 1969 was the replacement of single rectangular headlights, behind windcheating covers, with uncovered twin headlights

1974 Volkswagen 412 estate.

Towards the end of 1973 the Volkswagen 412, featuring a slightly larger, 1795 cc engine, replaced the 411. Fuel feed reverted to a twin carburettor system. The 412's headlight surround was reshaped and the nose panels were redesigned, to give the car a slightly less bland look.

The design of the Volkswagen 412 Variant was followed when the Volkswagen Brasilia was produced in Brazil, primarily for the Latin American markets.

Sales and marketing

Even after five years of disappointing sales, no attempt was made to have the car compete on price, suggesting that the Type 4 was probably not particularly cheap to produce. In February 1974 on the domestic market the 4-door 412L was priced at DM 10,995 (DM 11,145 for the 412 LS). The price setter in the sector was probably the Opel Rekord which was offered in 1700 cc guise for DM 10,823, itself fractionally undercut by the Ford Consul 1700 at DM 10,740. The West German government was at this time cultivating currency stability, and from across the Upper Rhine the 1800 cc Peugeot 504 L was offered at a challenging DM 10,195. Unfortunately, however, even in its home country, the verdict of the market place did not support Volkswagen's evident belief that the 412 deserved to command a price premium on account of its Volkswagen qualities.

During a six year production span, just 367,728 Type 4s were produced. That was better than the 210,082 achieved by the contemporary Volkswagen K70 (which effectively had only a four year model life). Nevertheless, Type 4 sales levels must have been disappointing when set against the volumes achieved by the Type 1 (Beetle) and Type 3 models. The domestic market dominance of GM's Opel Rekord, its production running at about 300,000 cars annually, was not seriously threatened by Volkswagen's 411/412 in the family sedan sector.

In the United States, where the Type 4 was on sale for four seasons, it was regarded as too underpowered. The Type 4 was in fact a sales disaster in the U.S., selling only 117,110 units over a four-year-period.

Popular perception

In contemporary German vernacular, the 411 was called "Nasenbär" ("coati") or "Vier Türen elf Jahre zu spät", meaning "four doors coming eleven years too late" because it was Volkswagen's first 4-door sedan. (The Opel Rekord had been offered with four doors only since 1959 while its Vauxhall counterparts were always four-door-only, and starting in 1957 Auto Union had offered a four door version of their small family sedan.)

The powerplant lived on

While the Type 4 was discontinued in 1974 when sales dropped, its engine became the power plant for Volkswagen Type 2's ("Kombis") produced from 1972 to 1979: it continued in modified form in the later "Vanagon" which was air-cooled from 1980 until mid-1983. The engine that superseded the Type 4 engine in late 1983 retained Volkswagen Type 1 architecture, yet featured water-cooled cylinder heads and cylinder jackets. The Wasserboxer, VW speak for a water-cooled, opposed-cylinder (flat or boxer engine), did not enjoy the reputation for longevity that the original air-cooled design had forged. From the very start, the engine suffered cylinder-to-head sealing problems, mostly due to galvanic corrosion, often a result of slack maintenance schedules. Volkswagen discontinued the engine in 1992, upon the introduction of the Eurovan.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dune buggy

Dune buggy

George W. Bush in a dune buggy

A dune buggy is a recreational vehicle with large wheels, and wide tires, designed for use on sand dunes or beaches. The design is usually a modified vehicle with a modified engine mounted on an open chassis. The modifications usually attempt to increase the power to weight ratio by either lightening the vehicle or increasing engine power or both. Those with an open frame chassis are called sandrails.

A similar, more recent generation of off road vehicle, often similar in appearance to a sand rail but designed for different use, is the "off road go kart". The difference between a dune buggy or go kart and an "off road" buggy or kart is sometimes nothing more than the type of tires fitted -sand tires or all terrain tires - but "off road" go karts and buggies are a rapidly developing category of their own.


Dune buggies are usually created using one of two to three different methods.

The first involves alteration of an existing vehicle, most notably the older Volkswagen Type One (Beetle, or Bug). The Beetle is preferred for a variety of reasons. Most significant is the position of the rear mounted Volkswagen engine, which with removal of bodywork transfers a high proportion of the weight to the rear driven wheels for extra traction. The engine is air cooled, simplifying engine modification, and the absence of a radiator eliminates a source of failure. The low price; robustness of the front suspension; and the sizable quantity of spare parts from other VW Beetles and Type 2 buses are a further advantage. Corvair engines are also a popular way to upgrade to 6 cylinders and sometimes vehicles are fitted with turbochargers to provide as much as 180 horsepower (130 kW). For example, one such conversion was a 1970 Manx 2 on a 1961 VW chassis. It was fitted with a 180 hp (130 kW) turbocharged Corvair engine, with reverse rotation, mated to a VW transaxle.

The second method involves construction of a vehicle frame from steel tubing formed and welded together. The advantage of this method is that the fabricator can change fundamental parts of the vehicle (usually the suspension and addition of a built-in roll cage). Buggies of this type are called sandrails because of the rail frame. Sandrails, as with the VW Bug, often have the engine located behind the driver. Sizes can vary from a small engined one seat size to 4 seat, 8+ cylinder vehicles. Sandrails can have panels or custom shaped body coverings over the rails and tubing that comprise the vehicle, though many are left bare.

The third is only a temporary fix. These dune buggies represent mixes of the above two design philosophies, typically after a converted vehicle sustains damage from age, hard use, or accidents and spare parts are not available or affordable. This type of creation is called The Boston-Murphy style.


Initially dune buggies were designed for navigating desert or beaches (hence the word "dune"). However, dune buggies have become more diversified in terms of the terrain they can handle and are being built for more generic off road tasks, such as CORR / SCORE indoor track racing. Some are even built for and used as on-road vehicles. Typically the function is determined before the buggy is created in order to maximize the comfort or abilities of the vehicle.

Although dune buggies can be bought (as a kit), many drivers make their own. This is done by separately buying chassis, engine, tires, steering wheel, and axles. Some builders make their own chassis, which creates a special, customized vehicle.

A 1961 or later Volkswagen sedan is the preferred donor to create a Dune Buggy. The VW Type 2, Type 3 and Type 4 do not make good donor cars, however the engine, transaxle, wheels, and instruments can be used from these models.

Other parts that can be salvaged from a donor VW for use in a Dune Buggy include the front axle and suspension, frame, pedal assembly, shock absorbers, seats, battery, fuel tank (1961 or later), steering column, brakes, instruments and switches, windshield wiper, horn and emergency flasher unit.

Driverless cars

Driverless buggy

Some driverless cars have also been made based on a buggy.

Military buggies

Because of the obvious advantages a buggy can afford on some terrain, they are also used by the military. The buggies built for the US military used to be called Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV) or Fast Attack Vehicles (FAV), yet have changed name to Light Strike Vehicles. They are used by US Navy Seals, SAS, ... The LSVs are built by Chenowth Racing Products Inc., a San Diego based company. As with most military material, they are not sold outside the government. The newest version is the ALSV or Advanced Light Strike Vehicle

Tube framed buggies

Over time Buggies have been altered to allow maximum recreational use. They are now available in varying sizes.

The most common form of non-racing buggy consists of a 'tube frame' which is simple to construct and sturdy. If the frame bends or breaks it is simple to fix. Steel tubing is preferred to "pipe" as pipe is rolled and welded, tubing is mandrel drawn, making it stronger and with consistent wall thickness.

Engine size varies depending on the suspension, frame strength and performance needs. Engine size has varied from 50 cc for small light buggies to 7+ liter engines designed for professional racing. Dune buggies use both automatic or manual transmissions, sometimes based on application and engine power, but often based simply on personal choice.

Fiberglass dune buggies

Dune buggies with glass-reinforced plastic (fiberglass) bodies come in many shapes and sizes. Many companies worldwide have attempted to copy the original fiberglass dune buggy, the "Meyers Manx" built by Bruce Meyers. They can be seen on TV shows such as Wonderbug and Speed Buggy. These types of dune buggies are known as "clones".

Bruce Meyers behind the wheel of the first Manx

Kit cars are a variant that use the dune buggy philosophy of substituting significant amounts of a car with custom parts to resemble production, modified, or prototype cars. For instance: American Fiberglass Product’s “Humbug” has similar features to a classic Corvette, Berry’s “Mini-T” was a nod to the Ford Model T, or BMB Automotive’s “Surviver” is a scaled down version of the Lamborghini Cheetah.

External links:

Beach Buggy VW Dune Buggy A site about Beach Buggy based on VW A Site dedicated to the restoration of an orange Beach Buggy

The BuggyBoys Club

A Short NPR Radio Piece About Dune Buggying in California

Dune Buggy Archives A site that catalogs the many different types of dune buggies manufactured

Volkswagen Country Buggy

In 1967 Volkswagen Australasia Ltd. started with a project vehicle designed for Australia's rough conditions. This vehicle, designated Country Buggy or Type 197, was designed by project head Volkswagen Australasia's Managing Director Rudi Herzmer and VW Engineer Cyril Harcourt in VW Australia's Clayton Factory.

The Country Buggy was based on an Australian made Type 1 platform with engine, gearbox, and front axle from the Type 1. The rear swing axles had reduction gears from a 1st generation Volkswagen Transporter (1950-1967).

Volkswagen Transporter

Originally, the idea was to make the Country Buggy an amphibious vehicle, however directives from VW Germany curtailed this vision.

The Country Buggy started production in July 1967, with exports to the Philippines sold as the Sakbayan ("Sakbayan" is a combination of the Tagalog words "Sakay," "Ride;" and "Bayan," "Nation"), Singapore, New Zealand & some other small Pacific nations. In the Pam Grier film Black Mama, White Mama, several Country Buggies were seen as police vehicles (the Country Buggies are in fact the locally-produced Sakbayans).

VW Australasia's Country Buggy also caught the attention of the chief heads in Wolfsburg, and one or two were sent to Wolfsburg for evaluation. In reality, VW was developing their own Country Buggy competitor, the Volkswagen 181.

Volkswagen 181

A Country Buggy with a canvas awning style roof can be seen very clearly in an Australian Coca Cola commercial from 1969 featuring an Australian band called "The Executives"

The Country Buggy was not a big success. It had some early reliability problems which doomed it, as well as it being ahead of the market trend of the day.

Production ended in 1969 with only 1956 units built. Very few Country Buggies survive today, but Sakbayans are being revived in the Philippines following increasing interest in the original Volkswagen Beetle.

External links:

Full Country Buggy History

Original Brochures


Volkswagen Group of America

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (sometimes referred to as Volkswagen of America, abbreviated to VWoA), is the United States operational headquarters, and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of automobile companies of Germany. VWoA is responsible for five marques: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen cars. It also controls VW Credit, Inc. (or VCI), Volkswagen's financial services and credit operations.

In Germany, the parent company Volkswagen AG is responsible for eight marques of the group, from six European countries: Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

As of March 2008, VWoA has 20 operational facilities, spanning coast to coast, and its primary objective is "to offer attractive, safe and environmentally sound vehicles which are competitive on an increasingly tough market and which set world standards in their respective classes".

On July 16, 2008, Volkswagen AG announced plans to build its first production facility in the United States since closure of the New Stanton, Pennsylvania plant in 1988. The new facility, due to open in 2011, will be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee.



Formed in April 1955 in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey to standardize dealership service in the United States, it grew to 909 Volkswagen dealers in the US by 1965 under the leadership of Dr. Carl Hahn. Under him and his successor as president of Volkswagen of America, J. Stuart Perkins, VW's U.S. sales grew to 569,696 cars in 1970, an all-time peak, when Volkswagen captured 7 percent of the U.S. car market and had over a thousand American dealerships. The Volkswagen Beetle was the company's best seller in the United States by a wide margin.

From then on, however, intense competition from American and Japanese automakers caused VW sales in America to fall as much as 87 percent between 1970 and 1992, despite the introduction of new front-drive models in 1975 to replace the Beetle and its rear-engined, air-cooled stablemates. As a result, the number of dealerships in the U.S. was also reduced to 630 by the mid-1990's. As of 2007, there were 596 operating Volkswagen dealerships in the country.

New Stanton and Auburn Hills

VW decided to open an assembly plant in New Stanton, Pennsylvania in 1978. This was the first modern venture by a foreign automaker at making cars in the USA. Unfortunately, due to unfavorable exchange rates, and the fact that the factory mostly built Golf hatchbacks while Americans wanted Jetta sedans,[citation needed] the plant closed in 1988 (very few Jettas were made there in 1987-1988, but this failed to help the plant). In the early 1980s, the manufacturing division and the sales division were merged, and Volkswagen of America moved to Troy, Michigan as a result, settling in Auburn Hills, Michigan in 1991.

1990's uncertanties

Volkswagen of America's sales hit rock bottom in 1993, with fewer than 50,000 cars sold that year, and many observers expected VW to quit the United States. Sales began to recover the following year with the introduction of the third generation of the Golf and Jetta. By the end of the decade, thanks to effective advertising and the launch of more competitive new products, including the New Beetle in 1998, the VW brand was back on firmer ground. Volkswagen of America went on to sell 355,648 cars in 2001, its best year since 1973.


In the 2000's sales have tapered off somewhat due to competition, quality issues and delays in product introductions, and VW's U.S. sales for 2005 totaled 224,195 - a reduction of about 37 percent from four years earlier. New models for the 2006 and 2007 model years, such as the Passat, Rabbit, and GTI resulted in a sales growth of 4.9% for 2006 with sales of 235,140 vehicles. Profitability still remains an issue, though; Volkswagen of America has not turned a profit for its parent company since 2002. In January 2007, Volkswagen of America president Adrian Hallmark publicly stated that he planned to get the subsidiary back to profitability in two to three years. He hoped to introduce new models for North America, and develop new marketing to encompass the whole brand as well as individual cars. Stefan Jacoby soon replaced him, and Volkswagen of America continued to look at new products to add to its lineup.

In the meantime, a new advertising agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has helped rejuvenate VW's presence in the U.S. as well. Its ads for the fifth-generation GTI have sparked interest in the brand, not seen since the launch of the New Beetle, and ads for the fifth-generation Golf/Rabbit hatchback have translated into initial strong sales for that model. Due to new air pollution rules promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the diesel powered VWs with TDI-PD technology can no longer be produced after December 31, 2006. For the 2009 model year, VW will be introducing a new generation of diesels, based on common rail technology. These will meet air pollution standards in all 50 states. The first of these units was made available for sale in August 2008. VW sold 2050 Jetta Sedan TDIs and 361 Jetta Sportwagen TDIs that first month.

New Headquarters in Virginia

On September 6, 2007, Volkswagen of America announced it would relocate its North American headquarters to Herndon, Virginia. Volkswagen sales are particularly strong in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as both coasts. The company indicated that it is important for them to locate in a region where their customer base is strongest. Presently, the Big Three dominate the Midwest US, especially Metro Detroit where the company was formerly located.

Volkswagen of America’s move from Auburn Hills to Herndon began in April 2008 and will be completed by the end of next year, the company said. It said that 600 of the current 1,400 staff will remain at Auburn Hills in call center, and technical services positions, while 400 jobs will be transferred to Virginia. About 150 employees in Michigan are expected to move to Herndon, Volkswagen of America President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said. The four-hundred remaining jobs will be cut.

The state of Virginia, among 14 locations that Volkswagen of America considered for the move, offered Volkswagen $6 Million in incentives that will be awarded pending Volkswagen's fulfillment of employment and other various quotas.

New manufacturing plant

On the July 15, 2008, after an intense, months-long battle between Huntsville, Alabama, a site in Michigan and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the company's supervisory board chose Chattanooga as the location for the new plant. This $1 billion investment will be producing about 150,000 cars a year by its slated opening in 2011, playing a major role in the company's strategy to gain more than 6% of the car market, or about 800,000 cars on top of the 230,000 it produced in America in 2007, by 2018. This plant will also become Volkswagen Group of America's manufacturing headquarters in the USA. The weak US dollar and the high cost of labor in Germany were some of the reasons behind Volkswagen's decision to build a US manufacturing plant.

Current US facilities

As of March 2008, Volkswagen Group of America has the following 20 "Operational Facilities" across the US:

Auburn Hills, Michigan - former Corporate Headquarters

Herndon, Virginia - new Corporate Headquarters

Hillsboro, Oregon - VW Credit, Inc. Center

Palo Alto, California - Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL)

Westlake Village, California - Product Test Center

Santa Monica, California - Design Center

Ontario, California - Parts Distribution Center

San Diego, California - Port/PPC

Maricopa, Arizona - Proving Ground

Golden, Colorado - VW Credit, Inc. and Technical Center

Fort Worth, Texas - Parts Distribution Center

Houston, Texas - Port/PPC and Parts Distribution Center

Libertyville, Illinois - VW Credit, Inc. Center

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin - Parts Distribution Center

Jacksonville, Florida - Parts Distribution Center

Brunswick, Georgia - Port/PPC

Cranbury, New Jersey - Parts Distribution Center

Allendale, New Jersey - Technical Center

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey - Product Liaison

Davisville, Rhode Island - Port/PPC

Future models

The following models are planned or considered to be introducted to the American market in the near future:

BlueSport Roadster (2012)

Eos Mk2 (2015)

Golf Mk7 (2014)

Jetta Mk7 (2015)

New Beetle Mk2 (2011)

New Compact Sedan/Jetta Mk6 (2010)

New Midsize Sedan (2011)

Phaeton Mk2 (2013)

Polo Mk5 (2012)

Tiguan Mk2 (2015)

Touareg Mk2 (2010)

up! (2012)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Volkswagen Woody

Cal Looker VW

A Cal looker is any aircooled Volkswagen that has been modified in a style that originated in California in the late 1960's.

VW Beetle modified in 70's California Look style

Common modifications

The Beetle is popular with customizers throughout the world not only because it's cheap and easy to work on, but because its iconic looks can be personalised and the flat four motor is so tunable. Its very ubiquity make even subtle changes noticeable; everybody knows what a Beetle is supposed to look like.


There are many popular Beetle styles, from a 'Cal Looker' to a Volksrods. They vary between themselves but are very similar in many ways. Also the California Look has changed during the 30+ years of its lifespan. The most typical (and traditional) way to customise the exterior is to change the wheels and lower the suspension of the car. The favorite wheels are period-style EMPI 5- or 8-spokes, Speedwell BRMs, or Porsche factory rims like Fuchs from a classic 911. One of the original California Look modifications is to replace or remove the bumpers and trim, either to give a cleaner look or to reduce the curb weight; if bumpers are removed, pushbars are common. The stock bumpers are usually chromed or polished, sometimes painted or powdercoated. There are many clubs dedicated to 'Cal Look' including the DKP in the USA which was one of the first clubs dedicated to true 'Cal Look' cars. Today, the DKP still exists and the club is on their 3rd generation. There are also currently many big 'Cal Look' VW clubs based in Europe including the DAS (Das Autobahn Scrapers) in Belgium, the DFL (Der Fieser Luftkühlers) in Germany and the JG54 Grünherz (Greenhearts) in the UK.

Also, body kits are available, which are often derived from the styling of the Porsche 911. This is the only car designed before World War II to have a bodykit commercially available, though Beetles with them shouldn't be considered Cal lookers.

Resto Cal

Resto Cal look Volkswagens are air cooled vehicles that, aside from a lowered stance, appear as restored stockers.

For 'Resto Cal' look, a roof rack and similar accessories can be added. There are many other aftermarket parts that can be added to the Beetle, including wing mirrors, chrome wipers, stone guards, fender skirts mud flaps and badges. Rear light and front indicator lenses can also be changed. This is as far as a Cal Look or 'Resto Cal' car will go. Some resto cal look cars often veer towards lowriders, because of the stance and the number of period accessories on the vehicle. There is a large tendency toward the Resto Cal look, as these cars can be fairly easily returned to a 'stock' unmodified status. Enthusiast sites such as show what sort of modifications are often done to create or restore a Resto Cal Beetle.

Other Volkswagens

The Cal look aesthetic has been imported onto other Volkswagens, such as the Type 2 and Karmann Ghia to name but two. The same modifications are used, with the same end result. Some argue that this shows the versatility of the style, though some say it shows how formulaic cal look has become. In a scene that's based on creating a unique car, it would be ironic that the end result is the same. Hence some Volkswagen enthusiasts are branching out into turning Beetles (and other Volkswagens) into leadsleds, lowriders and Volksrods. Others are turning to later water cooled vehicles and the import scene, with the Volkswagen Caddy having a cult following. Others have exported cal look onto non Volkswagens

Non Volkswagens

Cal Look has also been exported to non Volkswagen vehicles, such as the Hillman Imp, Fiat 500, Porsche 356, early Porsche 911, its VW based sisters and even the BMW 2002. These cars have the same modifications as their Volkswagen counterparts and are seen as alternatives to the Beetle, either due to cost or the desire to be different.

External Links:

A guide to Cal look VW's

Cal & Resto

Bugland (In German)

Der Kliener Panzers

Volkswagen Short Bus Pictures

Some of these Photos have been e-mailed to me and some taken from the Internet. If you are the original owner of a Copyright and object the publishing, please contact me and I will take the photo off this page. But please remember this is a non-profit site purely for the enjoyment of all We Love Volkswagen's Past, Present And Future.., enthusiasts.



Volksrods are modified Volkswagen beetles. They are used as an alternative to traditional hot rods and are quickly growing in popularity. Classic Ford Model T's and Model A's are becoming more scarce and more valuable. Consequently, their expense has made obtaining and modifying one not feasible for the masses. Because of this, according to some, hot rods have lost that sense of rebellion and have become stale.

As an alternative, the Volkswagen community has turned to the volksrod. The volksrod starts out as a traditional Volkswagen beetle. They are cheaper, easier to find, and easier to find parts for.

One popular method of the conversion involves removing the front and rear fenders of the beetle, and then installing a classic Ford front axle to move the wheels forward and give the car a low, stretched look. After that it's finished off with a chopped top and a flat black paint job, often with pinstriping. Another popular customization is to move the stock Volkswagen axle beam forward or reverse the trailing/torsion arms and re-work the steering linkages. But as with all types of car customization, lots of different modifications are practiced in different combinations. The volksrod is also an extension of the rat rod customization style. usually built with little or no expensive machined aluminum or chrome plated parts, the VolksRod is mostly handmade by the owner with simple mechanical tools and welding equipment.The Volksrod/Ratrod usually eschewes an expensive paint job,utilising spray can paint applied in one's driveway. A common refrain, often heard, is "cut-weld-drive"

External links:

Another volksrods site with gallery

VW Trends online acticle

Volksrod gallery pool on Flickr