The story behind one of the most desired and best loved cars - THE VW CLASSIC BEETLE

The brief behind the Beetle was to produce a cheap, economical reliable car for the working class. Adolf Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche were the two main characters behind the birth of the VW Beetle.
What was it that made the Beetle such a success? Its impossible to pinpoint one thing, but rather it was a combination of things such as: its legendary reliability, its unique shape, an aircooled engine with a one off sound, unbreakable gear box, etc.

Amongst those who own classic VW's, there is always a large portion of people who want to make their Beetle stand out from the rest. This leads to numerous modifcations and changes, for instance whacking in a Porsche engine, or changing the exterior. This eventually lead to a whole host of styles, and 'looks', and the following section wil describe and analyse the more popular looks. First we start with:



Whilst a lot of Beetles are modified to be driven in a straight line down a drag strip - the German look concentrates on handling and braking, as much as it does on going fast. This look is mainly housed in Europe, and includes some gorgeous Beetles that could out run, AND out handle a Porsche.
French look Beetles are modified along similar lines to the German Lookers, but there is a light twist. More emphasis is given to the exterior styling, and a French Looker will feature wild graphic paint jobs, normally in vivid colours.
The most popular model for these looks are generally the Super Beetles. Their handling is superior due to MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and IRS at the back. The IRS is also adaptable to replacing the old brakes with all round discs...a must for a German looker.
When it comes to external decor, looking mean is the name of the game. Drilling out items like door handles, and bumper mountings all add to the race look. Big wheels are a must, with fat low profile tyres. Slam the suspension to suit, and fill those arches with 18 inch alloys, preferably off a Porsche. Next step is to dechrome, and smooth the bodywork. Generally for a German looker, you would sick to a single colour paint work.
Inside the car, remember, light weight equals more speed. Bin the back seats, and front ones with more racey seats, pref Bucket seats, i.e Recaro's. To keep you safe, ideally a 4 point rollcage is needed, and 4 point harnesses to keep you in your seat. On your dash, go for as many guages as you like! the fundamental ones are Rev counter, oil pressure and temperature, and cylinder head temp.
For the engine...big is definately beautiful. Type 4 engines are the most popular, available as a 1.7, 1.8 or 2 litre capacity. To handle the power from the engine, another popular mod is to install a Porsche 5 speed box. Basically go full on for anything you'd find on a race Beetle, make it big, low and mean, and you cant go wrong! Well....not much.
And now for the next 'looks':


Due to the constant evolution of different looks, it is impossible to provide definitive do's and donts for the different looks. Cal look is infact a bit of a nightmare in that regard. It is however probably the most popular look of all, more-so in America. It originated in a time when the sole focus for the VW enthusiasts was to provide a car that would perform in a straightline. The most watched motorsport in the USA was drag racing, and the Vdubbers wanted a part of it.
Cal look Beetles started out with heavily modded motors, and were completely stripped down to reduce weight. The front suspension was lowered, and lightweight after market wheels were a must. A Cal looker is generally dechromed, and sprayed in one straight colour. No accessories are to be added on ... in this case the least you add on, the better. The exterior would also feature modified one piece windows, with quarter lights removed. The bumpers that come standard with the Beetle were also ditched , partly for less weight, and partly for look.
With regards to interior, most Cal lookers retained their original seats, but retrimmed. This then started to change as people introduced Recaro seats, or others out of a Porsche. VDO guages are a must, although you wouldnt want to go over board. Ideally, the dash should remain standard.
When it comes to wheels and tyres...one golden rule: big fat tyres on th back, low profile on the front. BRM's are one of the favourite wheels, as well as Porsche Fuchs wheels and he EMPI 5 spokes.
Under the bonnet, a 2litre engine is the minimum you want. Huge carbs, and a heavily modified engine are essential. Practicality and reliability though mean that even a 1776cc engine would be accepted, but you'd at least need to beat the boyracer chavs in their Novas and XR3's.
For a lot of people though, the Cal look is too rigid! This is why the Resto Cal look exists. For a start, chrome is a must, as are accessories like roof racks, mud guards etc. Also, instead leaving the backend in the air, Resto Cal demands that the back be lowered as well! More vivid paintwork is accepted, as is the install of a formidable ICE system. Basically, you've got more choice and freedom with all your modifications.