Founded by University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman and Oregon native Phil Knight, Nike began as the athletic shoe company Blue Ribbon Sports back in 1964. Nike’s first employee, Jeff Johnson, opened the company’s original brick-and-mortar storefront in Santa Monica, Calif., in 1967. When not manning the shop, Johnson would often drive his personal vehicle – a Volkswagen Type 2 bus – to local track meets to sell and deliver products directly to local runners out of the bus.
In a homage to the brand’s roots, Nike wrapped the Volkswagen ID. BUZZ CARGO electric concept van in original Blue Ribbon Sports fashion The new-age delivery vehicle toured three major U.S. cities, kicking off in Santa Monica on Oct. 5, stopping in Chicago on Oct. 12 and concluding in New York City on Oct. 15.
At each location, fans were able to purchase exclusive Blue Ribbon Sports footwear, learn about Nike’s genesis and participate in Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program, on theme with Volkswagen’s “Drive Bigger” message. Nike’s program collects used athletic shoes and transforms them into surface materials for running tracks, athletic fields and school playgrounds.
Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may change.
Fans of both Nike and Volkswagen also got an up close look at the ID. BUZZ CARGO concept vehicle, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November. Built off the MEB electric platform, the ID. BUZZ CARGO imagines what a commercial vehicle version of the upcoming ID. BUZZ – part of Volkswagen’s worldwide plan to build about 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 – could be.
The exclusive footwear available at the pop-up locations includes the bright orange Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 and classic Cortez ’72, which was one of the first sneakers to don Nike’s iconic logo. Sneakerheads take note: inventory of each design will be limited to 3,107 pairs, a nod to Blue Ribbon Sports’ original Santa Monica storefront address of 3107 Pico Boulevard.
“To learn Volkswagen played such an important role in Nike’s early history is a really big deal to us,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president of Volkswagen brand marketing.
“Supporting the rebirth of BRS is the perfect platform to help promote the values of our companies, while showing the world Volkswagen’s commitment to electrification isn’t just about personal transportation – it’s about moving things in a smarter fashion.”