People who love a particular brand of scooter that was made in Iowa more than 70 years ago will be congregating in Webster City with their machines this week.
Gerald Huisman is spokesman for the Doodle Bug Club of America, which is holding its annual reunion starting Wednesday to allow owners to trade parts, stories and most importantly, to ride their two-wheelers around town.
“1946 was the first Doodle Bug production and they were built in ’46, ’47 and ’48,” Huisman says. “Approximately 40,000 of them were made and we struggle with estimating how many are left but somewhere around 1,000 to 1,500 of them probably still exist.”
There’s no way to know how many of those are still in working order. The scooters were initially priced at $69.95 and by the end of 1948, they were retailing at $169.96. Today, they may sell for $6,000, though one sold at a recent auction for $12,000.
“They’ve been restored to perfect, pristine, original look and a lot of them have been modified to have a bigger engine or a different drive system,” Huisman says, “but the original Doodle Bug went about 21 miles an hour and the modified ones, well, they even have some that might do 60, but most of them will do about 35-40 miles an hour.”
Doodle Bugs were made by Beam Manufacturing in Webster City. Collectors of the motorized scooters will come from all over the country for this event. “The fun of the reunion is the enjoyment of riding on our trail here in Webster City. The other part is just fellowship amongst Doodle Bug owners,” he says. “We call it a reunion and it really is a reunion of friends to come together and have a good time together.”
Among this week’s highlights, Doodle Bug riders will be taking part in the Webster City High School Homecoming parade on Friday afternoon. Learn more at: wcdoodlebug.org or at the Doodle Bug Club of America Facebook page.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)