NOPI VW Nationals Bug-Off 1990

Retro Rewind: The NOPI VW Nationals Bug-Off 1990

The second wave of “Cal-Look” hit the VW scene in the late 1980s and early ‘90s with the NOPI VW Nationals. With pastel colors, no chrome trim, and lowered stances, smooth was the name of the game, and anything that could be shaved or reduced was.

NOPI VW Nationals Bug-Off 1990While the baby boomers of the original Cal-Look movement in the 1970s have understandably pushed their version into the limelight, their hours are numbered as Generation X settles into middle-age with disposable income and the pull of nostalgia. The “Back to ‘89” movement has been brewing since the early 2000s and gains steam each year. Those who were there remember. Chrome sent you home.

In those days NOPI – or Number One Parts Inc. – was a small chain of stores in the southeast that sold parts for imports, with a heavy focus on Volkswagens. They began holding small “Bugoff” shows in 1988 and then progressed to the Lakewood Fairgrounds in Atlanta in 1990.

In time, the show would expand with the trends to include the new wave of “tuner” cars and their cash-spending enthusiasts, and the NOPI Nationals grew into a national affair with events, drag races, drifting events, and more all over the country.

However, in the early days, it was jam-packed with the south’s coolest VWs. Here is a gallery from the 1990 NOPI VW Nationals. Note the real styles of what was happening, and not the images painted by today’s “historians.” Cruising was in, chrome was out. Back to ‘89 forever.

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Brandon Flannery has a thirst for all things automotive, mechanical, and unique. He’s spent nearly two-decades in automotive journalism and ten years shooting and writing for the Goodguys Gazette. His early years learning about cars involved building hundreds of models as a kid and writing fan letters to his favorite car magazines, which they usually printed. Currently a Memphis resident, Brandon keeps it real with two VWs, a rail buggy, a 1946 Ford 2N tractor, and the legendary road-tripping Blue Goose, which has pulled a U-Haul trailer coast-to-coast twice.