Parts and Technical expertise makes Max a commercial star in record time. Seems VW's is now aware of what air-cooled VW enthusiasts have known for years?.That the vintage air-cooled VW Beetle is an icon. In Volkswagen's newest series of TV commercials, Max, a black 1964 VW Beetle (AKA Bug), is given a German accent and hosts a little talk show complete with celebrity interviews, a band, and once in a while, a new VW model.
In a June 2008 Hot VWs article by Lynn Anderson; Scott Linnen, Vice President of VW's Ad company CP+B Stated, "Something we thought a lot about as we worked on this was how to expand the brand to lead toward volume success?. To once and for all balance our past with our future and create a new true VW brand in America,? a brand that has a great history and heritage". From an enthusiast's point of view, that's like discovery the sky is blue and puppy's are cute. So VW's ad company is going for what enthusiasts see as the obvious, but CP+B followed up in a smart way. From the Detroit News story by Maureen McDonald on April 18th, 2008, Brian Shultz, another member of the ad company team explained, "There were a large field of vendors to select from, but we wanted a team with passion for the brand to bring Max to life".
First to be contacted was soon to be Project Manager Bob Ellis of Airhead Parts. Bob writes tech articles and helps Airhead Parts customers with parts and restoration tips. Airhead Parts was the company that supplied the majority of the beetle restoration parts, including the "hard to find" Steering Wheels. Bob, a VW enthusiast to the bone gives us the inside scoop: Bob begins, "My part in the Max project started in the middle of December 2007, when I received a call from Brian Schultz of CP&B. We had worked together on a previous project, and he knew that I was his man for an upcoming project to restore a number of Beetles for the new "08" ad campaign. Brian put me in touch with Dave Sherman from AMCI Inc.
Dave in turn hired me to locate and purchase the Beetles as well as all the parts that would be needed." Bob adds, " I was also in charge of authenticity, and the mechanical restoration portion of this HUGE project Next, we had to find a shop to do the paint and body portion. Many shops were screened for quality work, but also had to be Vintage VW fluent, not to mention the tight timeline.
A local VW enthusiast, and shop owner, John Bickell of State of Mind Customs stepped forward, and turned out to be the perfect man for the job. John, his apprentice Drew, and I, all took absences from our day jobs for 3 months and took on a restoration project that we'll never forget. We all moved in for the duration, including my 3000 LB toolbox.
The first 2 cars were done in 14 days, the third in 7 more days, and the other 2 were at a more relaxed pace. 80% of the parts were from Airhead Parts". The restoration was videotaped using time-lapse photography and can be seen on YouTube. The commercials are also there and feature celebrities Heidi Klum, David Hasselhoff, Leonard Nimoy, NCAA Coach Bob Knight, Napster's Sean Fanning, and NASA Shuttle commander Rick Seafross, and Max of course.
Airhead Parts is a supplier of Restoration Parts for all Air-Cooled VWs (pre 1979) and VW Vanagons. Founded by Scott Dempster in 1989 as Karmann Ghia Parts and Restoration, the company expanded to all models of vintage VWs in 2004. They ship world wide through their mail order catalog and have been on the web since 1995.