Truly Unique: The Hippie Limo

Categories Resources + Wedding Planning

We’re starting a new series today on Truly Engaging entitled–Truly Unique. This new feature is all about giving a shout out to small wedding vendors providing big services and unique offerings for their brides and grooms-to-be! YAY for small, creative businesses! 

Our first shout out is for The Hippie Limo–one man’s far-out idea to help support his family and provide brides and grooms with an unusual and eye-catching mode of transport for their special day!

Richard Blake, of Lafayette, CO and owner of The Hippie Limo is a former teacher and corporate training developer turned full-time dad and part-time driver of a 1965 Volkswagen Samba Microbus called the Hippie Limo. 

First–a little history about Richard’s love for VWs:

I had always had a passion for V-Dubs from the 60′s and 70′s, largely because my first car was a 1972 VW Beetle purchased from a junk yard for the stately sum of $35. The Beetle didn’t run and didn’t steer, but Richard studied a manual he found in the trunk and figured out how to fix the car and keep it running for the seven years it took him to complete both college and graduate school while traveling among three different jobs.

How was the idea for The Hippie Limo born?

The Hippie Limo is Richard’s one-man business brainchild, born of both necessity and creativity. In 2009, with the birth of our first child and a confluence of other events, I became a full-time at-home dad. Though the rewards were great, the pay left more than a little to be desired. As a way to earn money to help support my family I decided to dust off an idea that I had had nine years earlier about using our vintage Microbus as a “Hippie Limo.” Encouraged by my wife, I began Hippie Limo as a business in 2011, which was fortunate since by then we were expecting our second child. I am not a business person, and Hippie Limo is far from a full-time job for me, but it is an ideal opportunity for me to share the experience and joy of vintage VWs with others while earning some income in a flexible environment that allows me to care for my children and household. As an added bonus, I get to drive my dream car more often, which puts a very large smile on my face. Read more of Richard’s story here.

What makes the Hippie Limo Ride so unique and unlike any other wedding ride?

The Hippie Limo provides brides and grooms with an unusual and eye-catching mode of transport for their special day that is guaranteed to make guests smile, couples beam, photographs pop, and bystanders cheer! Our 1965 VW Samba Microbus has been restored to dealer showroom condition, right down to correct factory colors, fabrics, and trim, and is a great choice for the couple who wants to make a memorable arrival, take a romantic cruise, or stage a dramatic departure (or all of the above!). Our Samba can also serve as a vintage taxi service for ferrying the bridal party and guests among hotels and wedding and reception locations. The five-foot open-air canvas sunroof and skylight windows let both mountain vistas and city skylines stream into the interior, and if you get tired of looking at the views outside we even have period magazines, knick-knacks, and toys to peruse during the ride. To make the best even better, the Hippie Limo boasts a 1000-watt high-end sound system, a comprehensive catalogue of 60s music, and the ability to play your own MP3 or Audio CDs, which means we can create the perfect custom soundtrack for your day.

 

Do you have to be a hippie bride & groom to love The Hippie Limo?

Our Samba is a Hippie Limo, not a hippie van, so those wanting or expecting shag carpeting, love beads, and lava lamps will have to look elsewhere for their joy. However, brides or grooms looking for something that will turn heads, make people smile, and provide a one-of-a-kind retro experience will find all of their wishes met in our Magic Bus.

 

 

How does the community react when they see the Hippie Limo out and about?

In the late spring, summer, and early fall the Hippie Limo becomes our family’s daily driver. I run errands, shop for groceries, and take kids to play dates in it. Even the most mundane trip becomes a parade in our Samba and there has never been a parking lot yet I have pulled into where I haven’t been approached at least once for the story behind the Hippie Limo. I get more peace signs and smiles than you can count when just tooling around, and even more so when there is a couple or group on-board. The high-end sound system can easily fill up a city block with music if the passengers decide to crank it up, and when they do everyone on the streets looks our way and more than a few start to either dance or sing along.

Tell us about the Microbus. Who are the drivers? 

I am the owner, operator, mechanic, manager, marketer, and polisher of the Hippie Limo. I joke that I wouldn’t let Mother Theresa with a CDL and 20 years on-the-road experience drive our Samba . . . but it really isn’t a joke because I can count on half a hand how many people I would trust to drive it. This is true not just because it is a rare and beautiful vehicle, but because it doesn’t handle anything like a modern car and it really takes someone who knows what they are doing to drive it competently.

How did you restore it?

My infatuation with air-cooled VWs began when I purchased my first car, the 1972 Volkswagen Beetle from a junkyard. The bug didn’t run and it didn’t steer and my mechanical knowledge at that time ended at the awareness that the engine was in the rear. That little blue car’s saving grace was that it was the only vehicle I could afford. Guided by the amateur mechanic’s bible for old VWs, John Muir and Peter Aschwaden’s 1969 classic “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Complete Idiot”,

I managed to get the bug running and steering again and eventually racked up about 300,000 miles on it. Since then I have owned several bugs and buses (though never more than one at a time) and have nursed each back to health and road worthiness. I am a shade-tree mechanic, not a professional one, but I can do some pretty complex repairs on old V-Dubs, largely due to the fact that they are so darn simple in the first place. I have done just about all of the mechanical work on the Hippie Limo, but I can’t take credit for the bodywork or paint. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, so you don’t want to let me near anything that is supposed to look nice. An amateur body man and VW enthusiast named Craig Colley was the artist who made the Hippie Limo into the beauty she is. I am just the one her got her going on the right foot and keeps her going.

 

Does the Hippie Limo pick up hitchhikers?

Only if they can pay the three hour minimum rate. ;-)

 

 

What kinds of ride packages do you offer?

The Hippie Limo has a basic 3-hour wedding package that is currently priced at $287 (some additional surcharges and travel fees may apply) and you can add on additional hours at $89/hour. If you book 5 or more hours you can get 12 “Tickets to Ride” to give to guests to take one of two joyrides during the reception.


Thanks Richard!

Is the Hippie Limo fun or what??

Your story is fantastic and we love that you not only have the privilege of taking care of your children but also fueling your passions. We wish you and your family every success!

We’re fans!! And you dear readers {especially our Denver readers} can support Richard by liking The Hippie Limo on Facebook. Want more? Of course you do–check out The Hippie Limo’s website and please encourage Richard to get on Twitter too … 

Have a small, creative business in mind that you think deserves a blog shout out? Please email me!

 

  • Rach

    What a unique idea! Looks like a blast. I could also see this as a fun alternative to the “party limo/bus” for bachelor/bachelorette parties. :)

  • http://bridechic.blogspot.com/ Amyjotatum

    Love this post!  So original.  I do love VWs and they are a real relic that conjours up images of  the hippie era

    oxoxoxo from San FranciscoAmyhttp://bridechic.blogspot.com

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