Joe Woida’s 1966 Volkswagen Beetle belonged to an 86-year-old man who wanted to donate the car to the Milwaukee Volkswagen Club. Woida thinks the car was originally from Minnesota and that the Wisconsin owner bought it used. “He had a folder with all the parts he bought recorded in it,” said Woida.
The club originally planned to raffle the car off, but they found it was going to be too expensive to run and advertise a raffle. “So, what they did is bring it to a club meeting one night and everyone in the club looked at it,” Woider explained. “If they wanted it, they would write an offer on a piece of paper and mail it to the club president. At the next club meeting, they opened the letters up to see who had the winning bid. I was the lucky one at $5,132.”
Woida said he did not win the car by $132. He believes the next highest bid was $900 lower. He thinks that he got a good deal, as he has since been offered $10,000 for the vintage green Beetle sedan. He may sell it someday, but not before he uses it to teach his grandkids about stick shift driving.
To make the car roadworthy, Woida had to put two new brake drums on it, replace a few front brake lines and adjust the valves. Then, he did some extra things like rechrome the headlight rings and directional lights and add chrome plating to the engine pullies. He also upgraded the hubcaps and put new runningboards on the car, since one of the old ones had a dent in it.
Woida has three Volkswagens altogether. One is a 1956 Beetle and one is a 1968 edition of the same model. “The ’68 is just a shell right now,” Woida admitted. “I’m not a body shop guy and a friend of mine who does body work is in the process of building a new body shop.” Woida has to wait until the new shop is done, but that’s fine with him. “I’m in no hurry,” he says.
The car’s odometer shows 40,400 miles and it has been repainted in an original color, but with base coat clear paint. Woida doesn’t think the car has its original motor, because the engine is painted gold. MoFoCo (www.mofoco.com)—a Volkswagen machine shop on East Capital Dr. in Milwaukee – is known for painting its rebuilt engines gold.
Woida took the serial number to MoFoCo and they said they hadn’t painted a motor gold since about 1998. “So, this motor was probably worked on by them way back then,” he surmised. “I’m not exactly sure of the date.”
Woida said that he knows at least 25 people who belong to the Milwaukee Volkswagen Club. “There’s probably more, but they don’t all get together at the same time,” he pointed out. “It’s kind of an informal group and you’re not required to go to meetings.”
According to Woida, the best thing about the club is that it gets invited to Milwaukee’s Germanfest every year. “They have a big tent and we put 26 cars in there,” he said. “Saturday night we do a Volkswagen parade. We all get to drive our cars around the Summerfest grounds with thousands of people cheering.”
Woida said he put over $60,000 into the restoration of his 1956 Volkswagen Beetle. “I wanted to teach my grandkids how to drive a car with stick shift, but I didn’t want to do that in a $60,000 car,” Woida explained. “So, I’m using the 1966 Beetle to teach them. That’s basically why I bought the 1966—I don’t care if they grind the gears in this one a little bit.”