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Micke and his cool Cal Look from 1967

California Look Beetle 1967

Micke and his cool California Look from 1967

“I was a bit tired of constantly scratching the front of my old Rat Look Beetle and was eager to do a nice Cal Look.”

After almost four years of renovation, Micke’s Beetle is now a car with really stylish stucco. 

It is early Sunday morning and I walk into one of Gefle Luftvwaffe’s garage in Gävle. 

In the middle of the garage, Micke is vacuuming his Cal Look Beetle. It shines in the lights that radiate down from the ceiling. 

We start talking about the car at once as if we had both been charging for several weeks for this meeting. 

CAlifornia Look Beetle from 1967

“The color choice was really the hardest with this renovation. It was between many colors in the beginning but then it landed in two Porsche colors. In the end, the winner became this Porsche Linen Gray. ”

“I have never painted a car before, so I  asked around in the circle of friends. There was no one around me who really wanted to take on the job and I felt that a paint company would be far too expensive. So I came to the conclusion that I do it myself. What can possibly go wrong? ”

Micke says that he did all the basic work himself on the car. Grind, sprayed on foundation ground and after that again – grind, grind and grind. After that it became another round of foundation in some places to then – yes, you guessed it – grind and grind again. 

“I was standing here on the gravel field outside of the garage and I got some flies in the paint.  But the hardest part was probably the moth that got stuck on the hood. That spot there.” with a finger pointing a little everywhere, I see the dark surface in the middle of the hood. 

“You know how they are, they only dust when you try to remove them. I have tried to repaint the hood but it still shines through.” 

Of course, you see a small shadow where the moth sat but it is not something you see significantly.

If Micke had not said something about him painting the car out on the gravel, outside the garage, I would have just bought that it was a professional who did the job. 

“Remind me never to do it again, you know how much time it takes to paint a Beetle!” says Micke with a big smile. 

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The Beetle was not so cool

In the garage, there are a bunch of Beetles, of all kinds, as well as a green Bay Bus with curtains in the windows. 

In a big spot of the garage, there is a lifting table and behind it a sofa group with a large beautiful rug on the floor. The whole garage is inviting to hang out in and just talk about cars and what you want or should do with them. 

“I remember the first time I tested a Beetle with my wife. It was at a car dealer and that was while we were both studying and the finances might not have been enough for that particular car. ”

Micke says that it was the wife who wanted a Beetle. His father and family have always been to American cars. 

California Look Behind 1967

“It was no fun to drive, I remember that and the price was way too much, I thought back then.”

Although Micke has changed his mind since then. He has owned a couple of Beetles and now owns two Beetles today. One of them is this one. A 1300 LIM 113 from 1967 which is the real deal, as he puts it, when it to comes to Cal Look. 

He renovated the engine in the hallway and on the kitchen table

A lot has been replaced on this car and it is probably more replacement parts than original. Among this none original parts is the engine, which is no longer an 1300. 

“I bought a Beetle with a prepped engine in, to have in my previous car, the black 71 ‘. It was a 1679cc engine with single port heads and a Holly Bugspray carburetor. “

“I was “only” about to switch to double port heads, so I bought an shortblock engine, to take the double port heads from it ” 

Engine Bay in Beetle 1967

” But those headers were rubbish in the valves so I fixed two others. Almost new CB 044 heads with 40mm intake and 35mm exhaust valves that have CNC milled Round gates. They were bought used together with a Scat C35 comb and Scat 1.25 geared lashes. The block was arborized and plugged for full flow oil system with external oil filter. ”

Micke fills in that he got help from a gang that does a lot of drag racing (with air-cooled VW engines) when he put the engine together. 

“I renovated the engine at home in the hallway and on the dining table in the kitchen for two and a half years. Rolled it under the stairs when I was not messing with it. Maybe not so appreciated at home.” Micke says with a wide smile all over his face. 

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BRM rims on cali look beetle 1967

Squeezed the engine in the night before the Bug Run

On each side of the engine there is two nice copies of IDF 40 carburetors that are prepared to deliver a large amount of gasoline into the cylinders. 

At the back, Micke has closed the two ovals where the original exhaust pipes would have pop out and created an oval in the middle instead.

“It would look so strange now that the Merge Collector is sitting there in the middle and there are two empty openings on each side.” Micke tells me as I stand and admire the nice and clean Beetle butt with its nicely sloping T-Bars that are in line with the body. 

The exhaust pipe that winds around behind the engine is 1.5 inches and it is the same distance for the exhaust gases to get out into the open air, regardless of which cylinder emits them. 

“I also installed an external oil filter that sits behind the left rear wheel. The origninal “filter” is like a larger tea strainer. What ever crap can go through there, so I put a better filter there to make it feel a little safer. ”  

When Micke starts the car, it sounds lovely. A small rumble is squeezed out from the two exhaust pipes that sit in the outer edge of the rear end. 

“Jimmy, my garage friend, pushed me last year before the Bug Run Classic in Tierp, that I would get the new engine in before the meeting. Said and done, I stood there in the garage well into the night before the meeting, to get to the last things running. ” Jimmy, who is also in the garage at the moment, nods and laughs at the story. 

“I was ready around two or three at night and after ordinary work the next day I finally got going to the meeting wiht the 1679cc in the back.” 

Air filter in a enginge bay of Beetle 1967

Learned to weld with the Swedish skistar Gunde Svan

When Micke rolls it out of the garage, you can really see the buxom Beetle shapes. In the cloudy daylight, I can really get a perspective of this clean car. 

A Beetle from 1967 is the Holly Grale for the entire Cal Look community, it’s ‘the one’ you should have. “

Cal Look (California Look) comes from, like so much else, California in the United States and began to grow large in the late 1970s. 

The most significant thing about the Cal Look is to slam the front of the car, remove the bumpers around the car and replacing them with T-Bars, and then peel off anything that does not make the car clean in shape. 

Lucas L448 on Cal Look

Based on these “criterias”, Micke has succeeded very well. He has removed all the knick-knacks on the car’s exterior. Chrome strips, radio antenna holes, etc. 

That is why it is so clean, smooth, and soft in its design. There is really nothing that stands out unnecessarily on the car. You can really feel how the wind caresses the naked, quiet round body when it is out and about. 

“Before I started this renovation I was not that good at welding. But most of what I have done with the weld on this car I have learned from “Learn to weld with Gunde Svan*” on YouTube. Works really well, I must say. “

*Gunde Svan was a realy big skistar back in the days. 

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Needed a donor car to get it right

When we walk around the car on the gravel outside the garage, Micke says that he switched to the 1968 fenders, to get the standing lights and to get a fuller look and the right US look on the car. 

“The standing headlights are so much nicer than the horizontal ones.”

“The turn signals are on top of the original fenders, but I welded the holes and installed a pair of Lucas L448 down here instead,” says Micke proudly as we stand in front of the car.   

“From a donor car I had to take doors, hood, tailgate, and the middle plate at the back because what was on this when I got it, did not match the car or was in worse condition.”

The interior was also a nervous thing

When we drive away I see that everything is fresh inside the car. The feeling is that it left the factory belt yesterday and that it has not rolled many meters since. 

“The interior was a bit the same as the paint, it was a difficult choice. But with the results in hand, I’m just as happy as I hoped I would be. The interior is really nice. ”

The red interior has been ordered from the British company Group Harrington. That tips he  received through the online community.  

“It was nervous because the colors on the website do not really correspond to reality. But as I said, this is perfect. ”

The inside of the roof is probably the only big thing on the car that has not been done yet. When you look up, you see the silver-colored insulation tiles. 

“Yes, there will be a black vinyl ceiling with a diamond pattern. On the most common models of the Beetle, the roof went all the way down to under the rear windows. But I do not want that. ” says Micke with a determined face. 

Steering wheel in Mickes Bubbla 1967

The Engine wants to pop

Micke got the car through a barter deal with a person on the island Åland.

“I had an Oval 54 with a sunroof. But that car was skew and crooked and it was way too much to do on it, so I switched it to this one instead. ”

Everything may not have been tip-top on this Beetle either, based on what the seller told him and what Micke had thought. But with the record in the hand everything like that is probably forgotten by now. 

During our journey down to the city of Gävle, it is as usual when you are out riding an old Beetle. People seems happy when they see us coming, Micke presses the gaspedel to the floor a couple of times and you can feel that engine just want to kick in and go full throttle. 

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Gas Burnes have to wait

The brakes around the car is totally original drum brakes but renovated and painted. 

The car is lowered about 15-20 cm at the front with lowering spindles from CB Performance and adjustable front, but at the rear, the height is the same as the original. However, the rear tires are not even close to the original. There are a pair of 205/70 on 5.5 ” BRM rims. 

“In front, there are a pair of 135R15 on 4.5 ” rims, but I am super eager to get a pair of Gas Burners. But with a pair of such Porsche rims, I have to rebuild the brakes an upgrade it to discs, so it will have to wait a while. ”

Door knob in Cal Look Beetle 1967

The rear-view mirrors are completely dysfunctional

While we are photographing, Micke talks about the Pop-Outs windows that are in the back of the car. 

“Jimmy was involved and helped here as well. He fixed it so that a friend of his came by and wrapped the chrome around the rear windows to black, so it fits the black rubber strips that sit on the rear and front windows. It´s so called Cal Look lists, ”says Micke with a smile and slightly adjusted with his hands. 

Some people think that if you are going to go all-in with Cal Look, you should have One Piece window panes in the doors, window panes that cover the entire window area. Although Micke feels he can skip it.  

“I keep the original ventilation window in front. Both because I think the chrome on the window breaks off nicely and because they work as fantastic “AC” during the summer.”

On our way back, I mention that the rearview mirror on the passenger side can´t be of no use, as the passenger hardly sees anything in it, when you sit in the passanger seat. 

“These ones are a pair of Talbot Berlin 333s I polished the one on your side yesterday, that have not been done before and yes you can say they are more bling-bling than functional. ”

Mickes goes on and  tell me more about them – first the inspection did not notice that they were completely dysfunctional and second that he sanded away the scratched chrome, wet sanded, and then polished them to get the right luster, for this car. 

The Talbot Berlin 333s really do their job, to the pure appearance that is. 

Back in the garage, I walk around the car one last time to really see its pure style features. It’s so nice with the 67’s engine cover that goes all the way from the rear window and down to the exhaust pipe. 

This is really a nice build Cal Look from 1967.

micke and his Cal Look Beetle 1967

Had probably been standing in the garage talking up until  today

After the ride, we walk  into the garage where Jimmy has just dismantled the front on his new Beetle project. We take a look at Micke’s next project, a 1975 Beetle that is patina green and looks really raw and rough.

“Havent figuered out yet what to do with it, but it will come to me. Follow my Instagram and you will see.” Mickes says with pillemary smile.    

Jimmy fills my coffee cup up and the conversations about old cars, new parts, future projects, and everything else starts in Gävle’s probably most beautiful Volkswagen garage. 

If I had not had to go home, I would probably still have stood and listened and talked to the motivating and enthusiastic people. 

Hmmm, maybe there will be a Cal Look in the future anyway …

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Mickes Bubbla Instagram

In cause you meet Micke, do take your time to have conversation regarding this amazing Cali Look and his other projects.

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