When they stumbled upon archival pictures of a man and his 1955 Beetle, Volkswagen Canada and Toronto-based agency Red Urban realized they had a story to tell. As it turns out, that story is pretty amazing. They tracked down the man in the photo, Paul Loofs, who has driven the car around the world three times. Amazingly enough, that car is still running.
So Volkswagen Canada and Red Urban teamed up with Academy-nominated director Hubert Davis to tell his story in an (approximately) 30-minute documentary film. That documentary, Once More, The Story of VIN 903847, premiered on Discovery Channel and Bravo in January and is featured above (not a bad way to spend a lunch break). It tells the story of Loof’s unlikely, low-budget solo treks around the globe, which included many obstacles and unexpected, fortuitous events. Loofs eventually sold the car back to Volkswagen for use in an advertising campaign. A man named Emmanuel Thuillier bought the car and tracked down Loofs on the Internet, then surprised him by reuniting him with the vehicle for the first time since 1967.
“We feel that it really speaks to our fans, not only reinforcing the emotional connection so many people have to the brand, but celebrating the truly remarkable stories that so many of our owners have. It is not so much about a single car, although this Beetle is remarkable, it is more about how one car connects so many different people and their experiences, proving itself as The People’s Car,” said Volkswagen Brand Marketing manager, Lynne Piette. The documentary will continue to air on Discovery Channel and Bravo until February, with the following showtimes:
As amazing as the film is, the story doesn’t end there. An interactive site, oncemore.ca, “uses the film as a backbone to an immersive exploration of the Beetle’s 58 year (and counting) history.” The site combines the film with a map of Loof’s travels, his journal entries, photographs, and other artifacts; the site can also be explored “using the map to access specific locations on the Beetle’s journey.” A few stills from the site are featured below and after the jump (along with credits).