Extraordinary Event in My Ordinary Life: I Won a Car

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle (Photo credit: Karen Roe)

When I was 16, I drove my father’s tan Chevrolet station wagon to school. I worked at a woman’s retail shop that offered bumper stickers to promote the rock radio station WKTK in Baltimore.  I put a bumper sticker on my father’s station wagon because  it was the hip thing to do. (Remember, I was only 16 and I was all about cool.)

I did not know that the bumper stickers were part of a contest. Employees from WKTK drove around the Baltimore area and wrote down license numbers from cars that displayed the WKTK sticker.  During the summer of 1973, they selected one license number per week and announced it over the radio. If the owner of the license number called in, they won a stereo or other music related prize. I didn’t pay any attention to the contest, so I never listened for my license number.

In the fall of 1973, during an Elton John concert, WKTK drew one license plate number. The grand prize was a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle. They drew my father’s name.

WKTK contacted him the next day. He called me at school and I was paged over the public address system. He told me that I had won a car.

The car was bright orange with WKTK written on it. Yellow beetles and butterflies were painted on the hood, sides and back of the car.  You couldn’t miss it! 

My father taught me how to drive a stick shift, so that I could drive the Volkswagen. Previously, my parents bought me a used blue  Pontiac Firebird that I loved. (It was sleek and plain,  not souped up like the Trans Am.)  I worked at an ice cream shop and I gave my parents money towards the car. (I probably paid for a couple windshield wipers.) 

The Volkswagon was worth about $2,800.00.  After driving it for a few months, I suggested that my parents sell it.  I told my parents to keep the money, but they had to tell everyone that I paid for my Firebird. It was a win-win!