With most Cal lookers the suspension is lowered and the original wheels replaced. Popular wheels are EMPI 5- or 8-spokes, Speedwell BRMs or Fuchs, which were used on 1960s Porsches. Another common modification is for the trim and bumpers to be removed and usually replaced with pushbars. This is to give the car a cleaner look or to reduce the kerb weight. If the bumpers are not removed, they tend to be chromed, painted or powder coated.
A resto Cal looker is a VW that, aside from a lowered stance and non-standard wheels, appears to be a restored, standard vehicle, though they are rarely without aftermarket parts. Common additions are wing mirrors, chrome wipers, stone guards, spats, mudflaps and badges. Resto Cals may also have their front and rear indicator lenses changed and a roof rack added. Resto Cals also have the nickname 'Buckaroo cars' because of the many accessories some have, being likened to the children's game.
The Cal look can also be applied to Type 3s and Karmann Ghias with the aforementioned modifications. The style has not been associated with Type 2s, despite many Type 2s having been customised in the same way (lowered, custom alloys and removed bumpers).
The Cal look is one of the most popular VW custom styles, and several clubs have been created exclusively for Cal lookers:
- Der Kleiner Panzers
- Der Autobahn Scrapers
- Der Fieser Luftkühlers
- JG54 Greenhearts