News came to hand late in January that the 1957 Australian Alpine Trial was a victory for Molina’s Volkswagen, another Volkswagen taking second place, ahead of a Peugeot. In this event, which has been described as “a Grand Prix in all except the straw bales,” competitors were called upon to drive over 1,000 miles of Australia’s most mountainous roads at very high average speeds, no work on the cars being permitted in the controls. Hillmans did well, but work in a control on Firth’s Hillman cost it the trial, the VWs requiring no such emergency repairs.
VW was absent from the recent Chicago Show, the reason being that space allocations were allocated on the basis of selling superiority for domestic but not for foreign makes. Volkswagen claimed they should have been given stand space appropriate to their sales success in the U.S.A. and withdrew from the Show, thereby recalling similar protests by Ford in the past, who, if they didn’t receive major consideration from motor-show organisers, were apt to go off and have a show of their own!
To obviate writing to all those readers who ask for intimate details of how the Editorial VW is faring, we can say that it has now been in almost daily service for nearly three years, the mileage being 50,000. Two of the five original Michelin tyres were replaced by a couple of Michelin “X” at 42,829 miles; before this the five tyres were changed round distinctly casually and now two show plenty of tread, two some tread, while the remaining tyre is not quite smooth. Originally the engine required no oil between sump drainings (refill = 4.4 pints) but lately a pint of Castrol has been required every 1,000 miles, equal to an oil consumption of approximately 8,000 m.p.g. 40 m.p.g. of Esso Extra is obtained on long runs and a consistent 36½ m.p.g. under give-and-take cold-start winter running. In three years’ ownership no water has been consumed by the cooling system. The paintwork still polishes up like new after weeks of neglect, and the doors still shut with that “expensive” click, but some of the chromium has deteriorated badly. Door and window sealing is its new. In reply to the comment “What about its lack of a starting handle?”, it can be remarked that a satisfactory start was obtained after the car had stood out in the cold and the snow for ten days and nights—and the little Oldham Major 6-volt battery is over four years old. — W. B.