2016, Sep - Oct

61st Annual Convention 

By Shell Tomlin

For the 61st time, VWCA members gathered from far and wide (Washington to Florida) for our Annual Convention, this time in Rockford, Illinois, home of the Stateline Volksfolks, our local chapter there.


It all started at the casual Machine Shed restaurant, where the early birds flocked on Friday evening for a friendly meet-n-greet. The relaxed atmosphere there allowed us to linger as long as we wanted to catch up on old friendships and new tales of our latest Volkswagen adventures. Even afterward, many lingered in the parking lot ogling some members’ new rides procured since we last met.

Our Hospitality Room at the Rockford Holiday Inn officially opened on Saturday morning as attendees poured in to register, check out their Goodie Bags and set up displays for the Mini Toy Show or Most Unusual Item contests.  The displays were viewed all day, then voted on with the ballots counted at the evening’s Awards Banquet. Also on rare display were the original trophies for the Eberle Newsletter Award, the Woodbury Dunn Safety Award and the Wolfsburg Trophy, presented annually to the most active local chapter.

After the morning’s business and Trustees meetings were completed, the afternoon event was the rallye. Fashioned after Chicago Club member Gaston Krishman’s popular “Photoscenic,” participants were given a sheet of photos with their approximate locations. The object was to drive (a VW, of course) to the location and answer a question about the photo that would verify that you actually saw it. Be careful, though; some of these were tricky. All who participated thoroughly enjoyed the event, but the credit clearly goes to our dear friend Gaston, whose invention we have plagiarized several times for our Convention.

Saturday evening is traditionally banquet time and a banquet it certainly was, being efficiently served up by the staff from the adjacent Hoffman House Caterers. After we had all stuffed ourselves with the Chicken Vesuvio and savory Atlantic Salmon entrees – there was way too much food – we took a little break for some door prizes. Awards for the best Mini Toy Show, Most Unusual VW Item, Oldest Volkswagen, Most Conventions Attended, Longest Distance Driven to the Convention, and Convention Rallye winners were presented, as well as the Eberle Newsletter Award, and the Woodbury Dunn Safety Award, Wolfsburg Trophy. Dozens of 2015 car show participants were eligible for and Jack Lyman National Car Show awards, and those present received their plaques at the Banquet. The others will be mailed. The presentations gave us just enough time for our dinner to settle and make a little room for the special Convention cake for dessert. A very satisfying evening for all!

Sunday morning it was off to Alpine Park for the Car Show. This is not your ordinary car show, but a picnic in the park where everyone just happens to drive a Volkswagen. For the 29th consecutive year, the Stateline Volksfolks again produced this popular show featuring a raffle, door prizes and trophies based on the ballots cast by those entering a car in the show. The Autoist’s Cliff Leppke dashed in from Milwaukee on Sunday morning to capture a 1st Place trophy for his sparkling red 1987 Scirocco.

Our hat’s off to the Stateline ‘Folks for providing their show as well as their collective behind-the-scenes assistance with the organization of our Annual Convention. Also a grateful thanks to all the fine sponsors and donors that helped make this event a success. We hope to see you all again in 2017 for the 62nd VWCA Convention.

Shell Tomlin | vwclub@aol.com


  • SECRETARY APPPOINTED: Rick Carlson is named to the vacant Club Secretary post.
  • NIVA BUGFEST: This was not your typical car show hosted by the Northeast Illinois VW Assn.
  • AUDI A4 S-LINE QUATTRO: High-tech features combine with a quality ride.
  • DUNE SPECIAL EDITION: From a 2014 concept, VW has rolled out a head-turner.


  • Driver's Seat - VW news & views by Cliff Leppke
  • Frontdriver – Richard G. Van Treuren
  • Small Talk - VW and Audi news - quickly
  • Retro Autoist - From the archives
  • Parting Shot - Photo feature
  • Local Volks Scene - A snapshot of local chapter activities
  • VW Toon-ups - Cartoon feature by Tom Janiszewski




Autoist Archive

Jul-Aug | 2019
Emotional rescue

Who would be crazy enough to drive a 36-year-old VW 3,000 miles over two weeks . . . with no A/C or other contemporary car creature comforts? Our Cliff Leppke, of course. He had a ball.


May-Jun | 2019
From beater Bus to dragstrip demon

The Goblin Works Garage team, part of a UK-based collective that rebuilds vehicles as part of a cable TV series, takes on a 1969 VW Bus.


Mar-Apr | 2019
Anniversary Theme

February???s Chicago Auto Show paid tribute to the anniversaries of four venerable marques, including VW???s Jetta GLI.


Jan-Feb | 2019
Tribute to a mom: How Kathy Janiszewski and a '72 Volkswagen helped inspire a lifelong hobby

From this VW Bus, Kathy Janiszewski emerges with her wedding party in July 1966. She inspired her son, Tom, to follow a passion for VWs.


Nov-Dec | 2018
Commemorative Issue

In commemoration of its milestone 500th issue as publication of the VWCA, the Autoist gets a facelift for the first time in a decade.


Sep-Oct | 2018
2019 Jetta: New, Larger Economy Size

Some things come in small packages, and the seventh generation of VW's popular Jetta sedan delivers.


Jul-Aug | 2018
What's in your garage?

Amid the chaos, a home to vehicular gems and memories.


May-Jun | 2018
GTI AUTOBAHN: VW's latest version is a shopping cart full of enjoyment

Pack 220-hp and 258 ft.-lb of turbo kick under this hot hatch's hood and you've got a grocery-getter with options.


Mar-May | 2018
ARTEON: VW introduces its stylish replacement for the CC model.

Volkswagen???s attention to detail is notable in its new Arteon sedan, which made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show.


Jan-Feb | 2018

Volkswagen has upped the ante by inflating the 2018 Tiguan to almost mid-size capacity. Is it fit for a king?


Nov-Dec | 2017

Hundreds of VWs of every stripe gathered at Foster Park in Kokomo, Ind. for the annual Oktoberfest.


Sep-Oct | 2017
62nd VWCA Convention Wrap-up

Members gathered at the throw-back Cascade Drive-in Theater for "Cars 3," part of the VWCA Convention


Jul-Aug | 2017
Back To The Future Car

Cliff Leppke's 1983 Scirocco has notched its share of more than 333,000 miles in trips to Road America in Wisconsin. The latest covered about 3,000 miles during a whirlwind vacation excursion.


May-Jun | 2017
Swingin' time is in store for members, guests at 62nd annual Club gathering

Augustino's will get members rocking while the NIVA Club will roll out another lineup of VWs at its annual BugFest, part of the VWCA Convention in St. Charles, Ill.


Mar-Apr | 2017
Will VW See The Light?

VW once again evokes the memory of the beloved Microbus with its new concept called I.D. Buzz, which created quite a stir at the annual auto show in Detroit. (Photos by Tom Janiszewski)


Jan-Feb | 2017
Costly Mistake?

Joe Mayer says he's not out to punish VW over its diesel scandal - he just wanted to make some extra money on a car he thought would be junked. (Photos by Joe Mayer via jalopnik.com.)


Nov-Dec | 2016
WATTS OF FUN . . . . . . Meet the new e-Golf

Here's the car that, when you give it a charge, you'll get one back. In VW's first important pivot from its diesel scandal, the e-Golf provides an opening salvo in the carmaker's goal to electrify its fleet.


Sep-Oct | 2016
61st Annual Convention

What's an anniversary without a cake? This one didn't go far or last long as Club members enjoyed a variety of activities, including a Sunday car show and picnic, part of the 61st Annual Convention.


Jul-Aug | 2016
It's Time To Show Off

A couple of Karmann Ghias are resplendent at the Michigan Vintage VW Club's Festival in Ypsilanti, Mich.  The club held its 29th event in May, while Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Ill., saluted the air-cooled crowd with a big show in June.


May-Jun | 2016
Windfall for TDI owners?

The scam was on as early as 2008, when this Candy White Jetta TDI Clean Diesel model, embellished with green plant matter, was rolled out.  In case anyone had a doubt, VW added the wording "Not a concept car."


Mar-Apr | 2016
Lost In Translation

VW CEO Mattias Mueller was in the hot glare of media lights at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, providing the company's latest response to the diesel emissions scandal.


Jan-Feb | 2016
VW's Game Plan

VW remains embroiled in a high-stakes game involving government agencies  and hundreds of thousands of owners of diesel models. The company's car on the road of Life has taken a big detour.


Nov-Dec | 2015
Engine with a split personality puts VW on the hot seat

The news in September was beyond belief for many VW and TDI enthusiasts: Volkswagen executives admitted that the company intentionally produced cars that violated clean-air laws.


Sep-Oct | 2015
Big bites of fun at the 60th VWCA Convention

Doug Narczewshi from Spring Valley, IL, looks over an assortment of water-cooled VWs on display at NIVA's Bug Fest event, part of the 60th VWCA Convention in suburban Chicago.


Jul-Aug | 2015
1969 Beetle gets a second chance to adorn the silver screen

Crew members working on the film "The Good Blonde" prepare for a shot on the California coast involving a 1969 Beetle owned by VWCA member and correspondent Lois Grace.


May-Jun | 2015
My Mom, the Daredevil

Around 1960, Cliff Leppke had no idea what was in store for him while being ferried about by his mother. Needless to say, his head was up and his eyes were open.


Mar-Apr | 2015
It's Show Time!

The Northeast Illinois Volkswagen Association has an activity-packed weekend planned for the 60th VWCA Convention in suburban Chicago.


Jan-Feb | 2015
Diesel Memories

Jack Pavie of suburban Philadelphia had to wait several months to get his 1975 Rabbit diesel, one of three models he enjoyed in the '70s and '80s.


Nov-Dec | 2014
Golf Lessons: Three new models charge up hatchback lineup

The scene at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va., where Cliff Leppke and other media members ran the 2015 Volkswagens through their paces.


Sep-Oct | 2014
Having fun with miles per gallon

A morning commute for a 2012 Golf TDI has become a test on how high the fuel mileage will end up. It hit a high mark in July.


Jul-Aug | 2014
2014 VWCA Convention: Wagons, wagens and more - where the buffalo roam

In the VWCA's 59 years of Conventions, the setting in Hudson, Mich. was unique. Just ask VWCA's Tom Janiszewski, the guy driving the orange 1974 Camper.


May-Jun | 2014
New Beetle milestone: Though this 1999 model has shown it's flaws over 15 years and 90,000 miles, it's been a blast to drive

May 25 marks the 15th anniversary of my family's New Beetle ownership experience. It was on that day in 1999 that we took delivery of a brand new red GLS model from Kempthorn Volkswagen in Canton, Ohio.


Mar-Apr | 2014
Dune buggy with a twist at the Detroit Auto Show

There's a saying that everything old is new again, and since the New Beetle's production debut in 1998, that has been the car's underlying theme.


Jan-Feb | 2014
Back At The Ranch

At northern California getaway, Vernon and his family found plenty of ways to enjoy life