IT is natural for owners of vintage cars and sports cars to wish to get together to compare their cars, discuss kindred matters and swop experiences. The rarer the make indulged in, the greater the need for fraternisation of this kind. But when it comes to normal family cars, bought with mere transportation in mind, one doubts whether the incentive to congregate is very strong. Except, of course, in the case of the Volkswagen, whose owners are mostly enthusiasts, even fanatics, for the irrepressible “beetle.”
So the success of the Safer Motoring VW Owners’ Rally at Mallory Park on October 23rd was ensured in advance as it were, and would have attracted an impressive number of owners even if the weather had been unpleasant, whereas the first day of winter was one of chilly October sunshine. Foregoing the pleasure of seeing overseas guests of the Guild of Motoring Writers driving the latest British cars round Goodwood or members of the Vintage S.C.C. competing in the Eastern Rally, we took ourselves to the distant venue of this VW rally, appropriately driving a 1953 1,131 c.c. “beetle.”
After finding elusive Mallory Park and queuing up to cross the pedestrian foot-bridge, we found Robert Wyse, who had organised it all, looking occupied but satisfied. In the car-parks hundreds of VWs, mostly recent “beetles,” had parked themselves on the grass in neat rows, all of them spotlessly clean, the personification of proud ownership, an occasional Ford or Singer or whatever looking conspicuously dull among them.
On the track various sizes of VW took part in time-trialsa lap speed of 64 m.p.h. was announced soon after we arrived— and impressive demonstrations were given by all manner of gas-flowed, twin-carburetter, high-compression and otherwise “hot” VWs and the 1,200 c.c. VW-engined Beach Formula Vee single-seaters. The latter, with cooling fans protruding above the tail and four small-bore exhaust pipes effectively magnifying the characteristic VW exhaust note, were very well turned out and impressively fast. Saloon beetles with exciting-looking Speedwell-B.R.M. road wheels, others with widened rear track and special tyres, thronged the Paddock road, while in the pits firms like D. A. Aldington (Components) Ltd., Arthur Moore & Sons Ltd., Continental Car Conversions, Theo. Decker and G. P. Plastics Ltd., displayed Volkswagen “goodies.”
The Volkswagen Insurance Service (G.B.) Ltd. answered queries about how you cover these tuned cars, and VW caravans were separated by J. P. White of Sidmouth. The visitors, whom Mr. Wyse had wisely granted free admission, roamed everywhere, seemingly deeply engrossed in all aspects of VW lore.
This VW Rally will, one hopes, become an annual fixture, perhaps with the visiting VWs ranged in classes according to age and early and special models paraded round the track— there is even a lake at Mallory Park for amphibian VWs to wade in.