To celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday this month, Volkswagen produced a list of the most colorful and creative VWs customized by artists from around the globe.
Let us know your favorite by voting in our poll at the bottom of the page.
The ‘Million Dollar’ Scirocco
This wild, rainbow-colored 1980 Scirocco S was a 10-year project undertaken by Jason Whipple, co-founder of Rotiform Wheels, and British graphic artist Nicolai Sclater.
What started as an all-white blank canvas turned into a progressive and colorful optical illusion with a hand-painted rainbow motif and insightful phrases like “things won’t change until we do” spelled out in blurry lettering.
According to Whipple, everything under the hood is 100 percent custom, including the swapped out transmission, hand-built engine and new engine management system.
So why is it called the ‘Million Dollar’ Scirocco? Because Whipple felt, at the time, he was spending a million dollars on the rebuild.
Covered in over 2.2 million glass beads depicting geometric patterns and scenes of animals and crops, the “Vochol” represents the ongoing traditions of Mexico’s indigenous communities.
“The name ‘Vochol’ is a combination of ‘vocho,’ a common term for Volkswagen Beetles in Mexico, and ‘Huichol,’ another name for the Wixárika indigenous group in the western states of Nayarit and Jalisco, Mexico,” said Volkswagen in its story about this beaded masterpiece.
Commissioned in 2010, a team of eight artists from two Huichol families meticulously decorated the chassis and interior of the ‘90s Beatle by hand, taking over 9,000 hours to complete.
Woodstock’s ‘Light’ Bus
One of the most famous VW vans of all time is Bob Grimm’s psychedelic “magic bus” that became an icon at the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Painted by artist Robert “Dr. Bob” Hieronimus in 1968, the bus is adorned with colorful cosmic symbols, archetypal motifs and words in ancient languages that symbolized the Summer of Love.
For Woodstock’s 50th anniversary in 2017, Hieronimus planned to film a documentary restoring the old psychedelic van, but he and Grimm couldn’t remember where they left it 50 years ago. After an extensive search involving researchers, private detectives and even a psychic, the bus was never found.
Giving up their search in 2018, they decided to create an exact replica now know as the “Light” bus.
To learn more, check out Hieronimus’ documentary titled The Woodstock Bus.
The Wedding Beetle
Making your Cinderella dreams come true, this whimsical, iron-bodied Beetle was created by Mexico City welder and blacksmith Rafael Esparza-Prieto.
In 1968, Esparza-Prieto built this Beetle’s skeleton using white wrought iron and filled in the gaps with floral patterns and decorative swirls.
Blown away by his talent, Volkswagen commission Esparza-Prieto to create two more Wedding Beetles to put on display at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Esparza-Prieto immigrated to California, where he built another pair of Wedding Beetles. Other welders have created the magical Beetle in his honor, so in total there are about 23 Wedding Beetles in the world today found on display in museums or well-kept in private collections.
The Mountainous Masterpiece
As the official sponsorship vehicle for the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors in 2017, Volkswagen gifted the PSIA-AASI’s operational leadership team a new Atlas, Tiguan and Gold Alltrack for its support vehicle fleet.
To make these SUVs stand out amongst the snow, Volkswagen commissioned Pacific Northwest artist Mimi Kvinge to give them a colorful makeover.
Kvinge painted a beautiful mountainous landscape with bright blue-sky background on each vehicle.