by Keith Seume
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The California Look is the most popular style of Volkswagen customising. The typical Cal Looker is stripped of chrome, lowered, has a high-quality paint job and hides a very hot engine. It all began in the late 1950s, when hot-rodders started tuning Beetles for the drag strip.
Their successes gave birth to an automotive performance industry and their racecars' look soon spread, street Beetles becoming cooler, cleaner and more sophisticated.Keith Seume tells the story of how this phenomenon - completely unforeseen by the manufacturers of the humble VW - gathered pace in the 1960s, spread worldwide in the '70s, and now dominates the VW custom scene, with a look at past cars and race heroes, at the performance tuning industry, at the raceways, at the Cal Look of today, and at pointers to the Cal Look of tomorrow.
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