RECREATING A NEW LIGHT 2018-2019
Abridged from woodstockvwbus.com
Nothing more symbolizes the baby boom, the 60’s, and the hippie generation than Woodstock. And its ultimate symbol is the hippie bus. “The Woodstock Bus, LIGHT, painted by Dr. Bob Hieronimus, is like the era of peace, love and understanding it symbolizes and celebrates. It is very valuable… priceless. It is arguably the most well known piece of American modern pop cultural automotive art. And it’s lost. We’re out to find it,” says John Wesley Chisholm, director of Arcadia Content.
But the bus, like the opportunity and promise of the generation, is apparently lost. The quest is to find and revive it to reveal its true value. Dr. Bob has inspired a team of experts to help him find and restore the bus for Woodstock’s 50th. “We’re out to help Dr. Bob restore the bus, and along with it maybe something of the Woodstock spirit of peace, love, and understanding.”
VW buses have become a symbol of the era and the generation; they’ve also become valuable collector’s cars and campers and kept on the road by hundreds of thousands of loyal fans. A stock restored bus recently sold at auction for over $300,000 USD
We started searching for the lost original LIGHT bus in 2016. Our last photo and license plate is from April 1972. We investigated all leads. We searched the archives for the registration. We’ve consulted detectives and psychics, investigators, experts, and VW fans and collectors worldwide. The Baltimore Sun reported on our nationwide search in the summer of 2017 when we realized we were running out of time and needed to come up with a Plan B. After talking with Dr. Bob we realized that the bus was just ‘the canvas’ and that he had the ability to recreate the artwork exactly as it was if we could find an identical bus.
Vintage Volkswagen people tend to be the nicest, kindest, and most open and enthusiastic folks you’re going to find. So it was no real surprise when we met folks along the way who were really keen to help. We hit a bit of a glitch in the middle when we acquired a substitute bus that ended up being unsuitable, but eventually we settled on a vintage 1962 11 window, non-walk through Volkswagen Type II, the exact same model as the original LIGHT Bus.
Our first mechanics on the job were Fallon Taylor and her amazing team at East Coast VW Restorations in St. Augustine Florida. If you love VW vans you’ll find great comfort in knowing Fallon’s garage exists. They’ve resurrected and restored over 160 of them so far. The awards and accolades are rolling in as fast as the buses roll out. It’s just a joyful place doing joyful work. #womenwhowrench
Our second mechanics on the job were Robert Skinner and his amazing team at Skinner Classics in Vacaville, California. Being introduced to this famous shop was just another in a string of serendipitous events that fell into place as we struggled to make up for lost time and get that ’62 restored and repaired for the artists to begin painting at the end of the summer 2018. Thanks to the Skinners’ generous flexibility in clearing their schedule, we made it in the nick of time. A primed white and drivable bus was delivered to Owings Mills, Maryland on August 28, 2018.
Dr. Bob and his crew worked their magic with their paintbrushes and serious study of the symbols, and they created a new LIGHT Bus. Read more about the artists and the magic here. [link to the About the Artists page] By October 31, 2018 it was on its way back down to St. Augustine for the restoration of the interior. But first the bus made a pit stop in Glen Burnie, Maryland for a visit with Johnny Chrissomalis and his amazing team at J.C. Customs. Once again the LIGHT turned on something inside these good people and they cleared their schedule for us and lovingly and very carefully applied a fine coat of clear finish on top of the original artwork to protect it from scratches and UV damage from the sun.
In February 2019 LIGHT was back on the road returning to Skinner Classics in California for some final transmission work and the last touches needed before makes its debut to the world. We’ll hit the road and share the experience with people connected to and inspired by Woodstock and the many mega-fans of VW buses. All are invited to follow the LIGHT as we travel back to Woodstock for the 50th anniversary.
Later we want to find a forever home for the bus. Somewhere that the most possible people can see the bus first hand and share the experience of learning its symbols and story so it won’t be lost again.
About the Search Team
John Wesley Chisholm and the crew at Arcadia Content have been making a business of searching for lost and hidden things for over 15 years. Lost shipwrecks, Knights Templar, Stories of the Apostles, elusive narwhals, vintage machines and historic treasure have been the subject of their work with National Geographic and Discovery Channel. With this project, involving the search, restoration, and repainting, which they will document for broadcasters in the US, Canada, and Germany, they’re more challenged than ever before, and their time is running out.
To learn more about this project, please contact
John Wesley Chisholm, Search team leader
6454 Quinpool Road,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Direct: (902) 225-0763