1965 Volkswagen bus wrapped in 1,500 Christmas lights cruises through holidays

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FRESNO, Calif. – You’ve probably seen it across the central valley, lit up in all its glory but meet the man behind the wheel with all the Christmas spirit.

It’s not a car. It’s a bus and it’s got character.

Cosmic green paint, chrome radar rims and pop-out safari windows in the front. This 1965 Volkswagen bus has been lowered six inches and most importantly — it’s wrapped in LED lights. 1,500 of them.

“Next year, I’m hoping to have more,” said Edward Martinez.

Ask Martinez about his addiction to VW. He’ll tell you he’s got the Volkswagen virus.

“15 years old, I saw one driving down the road and I just loved the body style. I loved the look of it and told my folks that’s what I want for my first car,” said Martinez.

At 16, Martinez’s wish came true. He’d eventually share that VW love with his wife. 30 years later, he’s owned more than 80 Volkswagens.

Edward Martinez and his wife Vanessa started this tradition about three years ago. Each thanksgiving they start putting the Christmas lights on the Volkswagen bus and they’ll ride around each weekend for about 12 hours.

“Some people have been saying, ‘yeah it’s Mr. and Mrs. Claus out riding around in their VW sled’ and so hey we’ll take it. I like that title,” said Martinez.

The holiday spirit is transported to malls where people stop, stare and take pictures.

“The response is like a gift. You see kids light up,” said Martinez.

Martinez says there’s about 70 more Volkswagen buses in Christmas lights throughout the central valley. He wants to mobilize and make the holidays even brighter next season.

“If I’m getting smiles and giving gifts of joy, I’m happy,” said Martinez.

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