Auto Body Design

Will. I. Am. Customized 1958 VW Beetle

Custom design work on vehicles is more than just altering door panels and producing customized colors. It also involves ridiculous additions, glaring color combinations, and soothing enormous egos. Will. I. Am.’s custom whip pictured here is hideous by any standard, yet the carriage maker was able to charge $900,000 to create the pop-star’s vision.

$900,000 may seem like crazy money but it should also signal to you that there are some lucrative specialized business opportunities for professionals who are skilled at custom bodywork. This is exactly why undergoing collision repair training is so essential for you or anyone else who wants to construct the next eye-popping custom ride. Celebrities and other wealthy individuals are always looking to outdo one another and own a car that is different from what is currently seen on the road today. This is exactly the case with the Black Eyed Peas singer Will. I. Am.

(Click here for our list of the Top 10 celebrity rides)

In recent months he has spent over $900,000 creating a custom vehicle from a rather surprising original chassis: a 1958 VW Beetle. Few individuals could see the potential of a car such as this becoming a brilliant work of mobile art, but for someone with the right collision repair and fabrication training, there is no limit to what is possible (especially when the client is a famous music producer and artist with a huge pocketbook with an equally vivid imagination.)

In 2009, Will. I. Am brought the body of the old 1958 Beetle to Austin Weiss, owner of The Garage in Stuart, Florida. Originally, Will wanted a twin turbo Porsche flat six in the rear of the vehicle (the engine for the Beetle is located in the rear, which makes the customization flow naturally with the original design and body work of the car.

However, after about six weeks, Will clued the garage with an updated design. He told Austin and the rest of the workers about his new desire of something completely crazy and futuristic, witch stretch doors and a front engine (moving the engine from the rear to the front of the car).

Although Austin recommended starting with a completely new chassis, Will wanted the body of the Bug utilized, which set up the challenge for The Garage in Stuart, but it also allowed them to design around the original look and use it as a guide. As is the case with many high-end client, Will continually called and tinkered with the design. Originally, he didn’t want fenders, but then again he called in the middle of the design and requested the addition be made. He also wanted the grill of a Bentley and suicide doors for both sides of the vehicle. At the completion of the body work (this this date), the cowl is the only actual part left of the Beetle, as everything else is custom.

It just shows how essential it is for you to be able to work on the fly and adapt to what the client desires. Most clients are not going to vary in design so drastically as Will, but it is an exceptional example of how collision repair training prepares you to do just about anything.

As Austin stated, at the beginning of the process Will knew nothing about cars. This is a common aspect of clients who are rather demanding. They might not realize what they request is either not practical or just not possible. However, Austin went on to state Will now know a considerable amount regarding the cars.

Ultimately, Will wanted the car done so fast he ended up picking it up and moving it to a location in California, where 25 individuals worked on it around the clock. The garage in Florida only had three professionally trained mechanics and designers working on it. It just shows when Will sees something he wants he tends to do whatever he can to make it happen. However, it is still important to never rush a job, as design quality is always better than inferior results.

ATC collision repair school is located in Exton and Warminster, PA.

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To learn how you can work on celebrity rides just like this one, download our free ebook, Top 10 Tricked Out Celebrity Rides.

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