The Hodge's Beloved Beetle Donated to MOTAT
After 54 years of touring the world in their vintage VW Beetle, Ivan and Beth Hodge have donated their beloved vehicle to the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland. But before they said their final goodbyes, they headed off on one last road trip – this time it was around their native New Zealand rather than far flung shores.
Mr Hodge said, “To take the Beetle on the last drive was incredibly emotional because it has been such a big part of our life – from within a year of our marriage, with so many highlights and exciting things we’ve done along the way. And now we have completed our last ever drive, which was very important to us. We wanted to share the happiness and the New Zealand story with as many people as we could.”
MOTAT’s chief executive Michael Frawley says,“MOTAT is honoured to become the custodian of Ivan and Beth’s VW Beetle to ensure their remarkable story lives on. This vehicle has become a symbol of endurance, dependability, loyalty and innovation. We intend to relay these noble qualities on to our visitors by showcasing the VW Beetle at MOTAT and inspiring them to become like the Hodges – true trailblazers.”
The Hodges now live in Mosman, Australia but they originally hailed from Levin. The couple bought the car for their honeymoon in London, August 1960 for 430 pounds. Together they have travelled twice around the world in the Beetle, clocking up 188,000 miles over the years. Ivan and Beth originally spent six months driving from London to India in 1961 and then repeated a similar trip 35 years later in 1996. Their adventures have been well documented in the book ‘For love and a beetle’ written by Ivan Hodge in collaboration with Petronella McGovern.
Mr Hodge commented, “After seeing many wrecked and rusting cars, I thought our Beetle is too important to us to end up like that. Our Beetle has travelled the world and lived an exciting life. To end up in a wrecking yard would just be terrible. We decided we would like to donate it to an organisation that would respect it. So we turned to MOTAT."
MOTAT had been looking to add a VW Beetle to its collection for a number of years. This iconic vehicle was a common site and form of transport in New Zealand during the 1960s through to the 1980s. The Museum didn’t want just any Beetle though, they were looking for something with a unique and interesting history - the Hodge’s trusty Beetle fits the bill perfectly.