Cool Collective Japan: Kalifornia look VW Beetle
Posted on July 25 2018
We take a cruise in Tokyo and discover a gem in the VW global community.
On the dark city streets of Tokyo, one ride dwarfs the vast skyline. A golden Cal-look 1956 Beetle, so killer-cool that it could look at home anywhere in the world. That’s especially true here in Japan’s capital: the gold paint beams against the clean tarmac and makes the city’s skyscrapers look dull and small in comparison.
Kanda-San is the owner of the car, and also the awesome photographer behind the addictive instagram account KaliforniaLook. Kanda-San expertly blends the vintage with the modern with his photography, creating a scene in which Vice City meets Tokyo Drift. His shots are powerful, clean, and beer soaked in California-esque sunshine or Japanese neon nights. One search and you’ll be hooked (or following, should we say).
It’s no surprise that the owner of such a cool classic car page is the also the owner of such a cool ride. The 56 Beetle is Kanda-San’s first car, which he has had for over 15 years now, and originally bought with a loan. When he was younger, Kanda-San had a Beetle-shape pedal toy car, and so he believes his love of the iconic Beetle comes from this nostalgia. He didn’t like the turquoise green paint on his dream car when he bought it, so he gave the exterior a fresh going over, before settling on that awesome gold-paint. Named ‘beer-gold’, after Kanda-San’s love of drinking cold beer, of course. Cheers, kanpai!
And as you would expect, the car didn’t just get a fresh coat of paint - the golden Beetle of the KaliforniaLook page went in for some custom work. The bumpers were removed for a cleaner look, and, as you can see, the car sits high and proud. Rather than having it slammed, Kanda-San decided to go for more of a Street Machine look from the 1970’s, and it really makes it stand out from the crowd.
When it came to the choice of wheels, he opted for a set of 15inch Centerline’s with measurements of 3.5-inches wide at the front and 7-inches wide at the back. These have been wrapped with 135 Michelins up front and 215/70 Cooper Cobras for the back wheels.
Now that Kanda-Sa had old-school look he wanted, it was time to for the engine. He had the 1,776cc engine rebuilt in a garage called One Low in Tokyo, who also added a pair of Kadron carbs. Interior wise, Kanda-San kept it as original as possible, with the addition of an Auto Meter Tachometer, Hurst gear shifter and Mooneyes pedals, named after the Mooneyes car show he would go to with his family as a child.
A note from the photographer at Superfly Magazine: “As we photograph it under the freezing cold skies of Yokohama Bay, we couldn’t help but fall in love with this classic. Each photograph that I took imprinted itself in my mind and reminds me of the drive to the bay, from the growl of the engine, to the sweet smell of the vintage interior, to the look on people’s faces as we drove past. Possibly one of our favourite classic Beetles”.
Feature in collaboration with Superfly magazine, celebrating global Flo in Japan with KaliforniaLook.