Volkswagen of America has unveiled an incredible recreation of the ‘Light’ bus, made famous by the 1969 Woodstock Art and Music Fair.
Following a three-year project, and the use of crowd-funding, the completed Type 2 bus will get a first public outing at this weekend’s Orange Country Transporter Organization Winter Meet in Long Beach, California.
What makes the Light bus recreation more impressive, is that the same artist who painted the original has been involved with the new version.
Dr. Bob Hieronimus was responsible for painting the 1963 VW Microbus ahead of the legendary Woodstock event, having been commissioned to do so by the Volkswagen’s owner.
The artwork by Dr. Hieronimus would be captured in print by the Associated Press at the 1969 festival, becoming one of the lasting symbols of the Summer of Love. The original VW even made it to the inside cover of the official Woodstock album.
Hieronimus worked with Canadian documentarian John Wesley Chisholm, with the aim of finding the original van before this year’s 50th anniversary of the festival.
Despite their efforts, the first Light bus had seemingly taken a psychedelic trip too far, with a six month search proving fruitless. Instead, the pair worked on producing an accurate representation of how the VW would have looked back in 1969.
A successful Kickstarter appeal lead them to an identical 1963 Standard Microbus, meaning the replica would be as close to the Woodstock Volkswagen as possible.
Once found, it took Dr. Hieronimus and a team of five additional artists some six weeks to bring the Light bus back to life. With the staggering array of symbols all painted by hand, this was a painstaking process for all the team involved.
Volkswagen of America became aware of the project, and offered support during the search for the Microbus, and as part of the restoration process.
Other Volkswagen enthusiasts also jumped at the chance to lend a hand, seeing the importance of bringing back the most memorable air-cooled VW creations to life again.
It sounds like the peace and love have been encapsulated in the new Light bus, with a genuine community effort to share a piece of the history. Chisholm notes that the Microbus is “a living room on wheels” and that it exists to “transport you and your family, however you define family, wherever you want to go.”
Dr. Hieronimus believes that the Light bus “is really about being one people on one planet”, and that the amazing artwork shows “a story—many stories—and the stories all point to unification, working together and a higher consciousness, which is what Light really is all about.”
Interested fans will be able to see the new Light bus from 6am to 2pm on Saturday, February 16th at Long Beach Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
If that is just too short notice, don’t panic. The VW bus will be taking a trip across America, leading up to the very special 50th anniversary of Woodstock.