News of a new model of the Volkswagen, best selling and most successful of modern cars, is as keenly anticipated and causes as much excitement as was the case when the model-T Ford and Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost were due to be superseded. And on March 2nd came the bare but stimulating announcement from Wolfsburg that there is, indeed, a new Volkswagen, the VW1500, to be shown at the next Frankfurt Show, as Motor Sport predicted some months ago.
All that is known at present is that the “beetle” shape has given place to conventional lines and that the flat-four air-cooled rear-mounted 45-b.h.p. engine is of 1½-litres capacity. The VW1500 will come in two forms, a two-door very spacious saloon and a station-wagon. It is significant that VW seem to have buried for all time the bogy some people see in the rear-engined car, namely, lack of luggage space, for the VW 1500 not only has generous luggage space under its front bonnet but, in addition, a roomy, external-access, boot in the conventional place at the back, so that total undercover luggage accommodation should be appreciably more than is provided in “conventional” cars of equivalent size!
It is stated that the new VW is “not influenced by any particular whim of fashion but combines usefulness and solid comfort with the usual Volkswagen quality finish.” Thus we can look forward to the durable exterior finish, high-class trim, comfortable seating, extremely light steering and gear-change which have endeared the smaller-engined VW to over four million purchasers. It is logical to assume that many of the well-tried components, such as the race-bred torsion-bar all-independent suspension and impeccable synchromesh in the four-speed gearbox will be retained, and thus the well-known long tyre-life, reliability and comfortable ride, etc., may be anticipated in the new car. The more powerful 1,192-c.c. engine transformed the ” beetle” from a sluggish to a decently-brisk car, so the performance from the 1½-litre engine should be even more rewarding. Reverting to luggage capacity, the under-floor location of the compact flat-four power unit should result in quite phenomenal stowage space in the VW1500 station-wagon. Top speed is quoted as 80 m.p.h., on the usual wear-reducing very high axle ratio.
It would seem that with modern-styled, more powerful, more spacious models Volkswagen are all set to establish even greater sales successes in the future than the famous and well-loved “beetle” has achieved the World over since the war. We are promised a car ” that is a real Volkswagen, in technical conception, efficiency, reliability and very high quality throughout,” and we shall lose no time in publishing a road-test report on this tremendously exciting VW1500 as soon as the opportunity arises.
Meanwhile, the Volkswagenwerk states that it has no intention of dropping the 1,192-c.c. cars. Indeed, it has announced that the bulk of its productive capacity will continue to be devoted to the familiar model and that it plans to increase output still further, probably to over 4,000 cars a day.
I am quite frequently asked which car I regard as offering the best value-for-money in the World today, and when I name the VW I am asked why. I found a very apt explanation in the current issue of the V.S.C.C. Bulletin, in which a contributor questioned why car prices have usually risen in spite of the fact that general production costs have gone up very little in the last seven years, and when the rise in production should, he contends, have sent prices down, not up. Purchase tax has not altered, as, for these two years. He appends a table, as follows:-
A.C. Ace £1,279 £1,836
Alvis £1,822 £2,827
Aston Martin £2,622 £3,968
Bentley saloon £4,393 £5,944
Bristol £2,976 £4,244
Daimler roadster £1,673 £1,395 (See, they can do it.)
Morris Minor two-door £530 £590 (Bigger engine)
Rolls-Royce £4,695 £6,093 (Ditto, but still . . .)
Vanguard (four-cylinder) £787 £989
Volkswagen deluxe £720 £717
While apologising to my friend Mr. W. G. S. Wike for thus quoting from his erudite article, I must thank him for making my point about the Volkswagen far more concisely than I could have done!
Value-for-money is bound up with the service and attention a purchaser receives from a manufacturer or his agent. And to cement my assertion, made above, I refer you to the letter from Mr. D. G. Lewis on page 293, The VW surely deserves its great conquest!—W. B.