In our last piece we learned that Rene Ruelas and VWKidd would purposely seek out Original and NOS chrome
window trim, ignition locks, reclining seats and other necessary parts for the California Style
. Chrome gravel & knuckle guards, Volkswagen hood scripts, H4 headlights with chrome eyelids, mudflaps and of course complete USA spec. bumpers or the rare in the U.S at the time- German Euro spec. bumpers were also sought after because they wanted that Vintage original look to go in combination with the horsepower of a V-dub that Steve Tims, Gene Berg and Fumio Fukaya were known to deliver.
For the NOS and Vintage accessories that would complete the true “Cal-Style” look along with the speed, the go-to-guy was Jaime Lopez at Vintage Volkswagen Parts in Glendale California on San Fernando Road. Bob Scott & Cliff Crate, the founders of Vintage Volkswagen Parts started out selling original VW hard-to-find parts to the Split Window Vintage Volkswagen Club of America collector crowd in the late 70’s until about 1979 when they hired Jaime Lopez who had a classic Chevy Lowrider background but was also very knowledgeable with air-cooled VW’s having worked for well known VW guru Bob Costa at his service/repair shop.
Jaime grew up in Latino L.A. neighborhoods like Rene Ruelas and Robert “VWKidd” Velis so it was only natural that when Jaime came on board around 1979 with Bob Scott that Vintage Volkswagen Parts would have a new demographic in selling to the vintage “Cal-Style” pioneers who he knew personally, because at the time the big VW parts stores like Johnny’s Speed & Chrome or Small Car Specialties were mainly selling custom and aftermarket Cal-Look VW accessories of 1-piece window kits, T-bar bumpers and the like. Jaime & Vintage Volkswagen Parts now had a niche market selling to all the vintage “Cal-Style” V-dubbers coming from East L.A, Highland Park, Huntington Park, Echo Park and Latino South Central because there was no restoration reproduction parts yet available to the masses. It wasn’t until much later that Rich Kimball with his Tijuana Treasure find would “Bugs For You”- BFY be another source for original NOS VW parts around the same time that Jaime Lopez would leave Vintage Volkswagen Parts and start KDF Enterprises around 1985-86. Bob Scott and now Tony Moore (founder of Wolfsburg West) would continue with Vintage Parts Inc. at a separate location not far on San Fernando Road.
The early L.A. V-dub clubs that were the innovators and pioneers of the vintage Cal-Style V-dub were the “Vintage Volksters” and the outlaw club called the “Bugs Buddys” who were building original, but lowered all around and running smoothies or polished Fuch Porsche alloys from 1979-1982 at a time when the dechromed Orange County “Cal-Look” was the norm.
So when VWKidd pointed out that when a small group of guys
- Rene Ruelas, Tom from Huntington Pk, Steven
Diaz, Adam, Larry, Puerto Rican Bill, Bunny from Echo Park and Anthony Hernandez from Belmont/Rockwood were building their Vintage “Cal-Style” rides around 1979-1982, they knew the difference between a Cal-Look VW & the then “fresh” look of an all original bug with tasteful chrome, NOS 101 mirrors on both sides, with a stock dashboard and a radio-delete insert they sought out and a sound system in the glove box (so thieves in the hood wouldn’t be tempted), with factory colors, “slammed’ on smoothies or early Fuch Porsche alloys without tinted windows. “Our Cal-Style didn’t just evolve, it was a deliberate look we started and wanted for Style and Cruising. VwKidd“... The Cal-Style Newsletter
The “Bugs Buddys” VW Club started out as some guys that loved the L.A. Underground Dance scene. They frequented places like GINOS II in Hollywood, TheCopacabana in El Sereno, The Center in Puente & after the partys the Original Tommys Burgers on Rampart and Beverly. Their vehicle of choice was the Volkswagen. This VW Club would take a clean original VW & “slam” it as low as possible on white steel VW smoothies with VW hubcaps or the Wolfsburg crest nipple cap. This Club was considered an Out-Law club by the L.A. VW community & Law Enforcement.
Excerpt from VWKIDD: “The year was 1978, there was a group of party/dance/Disco heads from La Puente, Ca. who happened to like VW's. There was Larry, Adam, Raul, Puerto Rican Bill to name a few of the guys I knew. Recently I would find out the founder of the GFK German Folks that he, Ruben Navarro was also a member. (we never announced or made it known our affiliation back then for a time for certain reasons, our only give away was the square Playboy Bunny air fresheners hanging from our original rear view mirrors) Myself and my homie Rene Ruelas were close knit with the boys from Puente due to the disco/dance/cha-cha chick scene and our VW obsession. We organized a VW syndicate and it was called the "Bugs Buddys". We were an underground low profile VW club that many considered "Outlaws" cause of our style & process of building VW's at that time. We were building VW's that would be called the Vintage "CalStyle" look of all OG chrome/trim and "slammed" with motors and around 1980 early 901 Fuch Porsche Alloys. Our Vintage “Cal-Style” VWs at the party cruise spots were very noticeable and popular with the girls because of our preference for Convertible bugs, ghias and ragtops. Well like everything good & happening there were some haters out there & some trouble went down in Puente with some local gangbangers and a members back window was shot out while washing his car (Bugs Buddys was now an official car club and hence a back window logo was starting to appear on some members VDubs). So our "Bugs Buddys" syndicate was starting to be a liability and all the members spread, got out of VW's (there were only a few "Car Guys" the majority were party guys) or got locked up. So myself and Rene would end up back in our southeast/southcentral LA neighborhoods and 2 other VW Clubs would emerge out of the break-up of our VW syndicate the "Bugs Buddys". One of them was the football club turned VW club the "Baby Boys" from Huntington Park and the other one would be Ruben Navarro's "The German Folks"... The Cal-Style Newsletter