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78

Sir,
“Still an Owner” is sadly adrift over VW spares prices. Shock absorbers are not, as he believes, £8 each. In the pre-1951 models German-made front shockers are under £5 apiece and for people like me who think that this is too steep, he will be pleased to know that Messrs. Andre’s, of Putney, provide Hartfords, which are an effective substitute, for £2 16s. a pair—and no conversion brackets are needed. Far less than £8 will buy a pair of British-made rear dampers for early type VWs, to which the existing linkage can be fitted in a few minutes. On the current models British-made telescopic dampers costing, I believe, £2 2s. each can be fitted as replacements all round.

Mr. R.S. Aspinall (“VWs are horrid little cars,” he said. Remember ?) surely cannot be serious when he compares the excellent Citroen Light Fifteen (25 m.p.g.) with the VW (35 m.p.g.) ? This one major discrepancy invalidates the rest of his argument. Far from asking you, Mr. Editor, to soft-pedal your praise of the VW, I implore you to redouble it. Perhaps in that way Britain’s manufacturers will be helped to realise just how far this country has slipped behind in small-car design and manufacture. Isn’t it the harsh fact that in this field Britain is producing quite nice little cars for housewives to do their shopping in, but which are hopelessly out of the running when it comes to real motoring ? Poor little things! With their castor-like wheels and gross undergearing, their unfortunate long-stroke engines are buzzing themselves to destruction long before they attain normal VW cruising speeds !

For sheer effortlessness of performance the VW is unapproachable in the small mass-produced car field. What other comparable car can be batted along all day at nearly 70 m.p.h. with the engine running lazily at 3,300 r.p.m. and a mere 1,500 f.p.m. piston speed ? No wonder VWs don’t need running-in; their engines are only working at running-in stresses all their lives. No wonder they wear like pigs’ noses.

And that VW gearbox ! People who haven’t driven a new VW just don’t know what unbeatable synchromesh is. If they think their own cars have good synchromesh, let them try changing down to third at 55 m.p.h. just by dabbing at the clutch and poking the lever through as fast as they can move their hand. Mr. Aspinall didn’t say if he liked the Citroen’s gear-change. Frankly, I don’t blame him ! Nor will anyone else who has sampled it wonder why he kept quiet! I could go on and on—just like you, Mr. Editor—in singing the VW’s praises. True, it has its snags—blind spots in forward and rearward vision, and, let’s face it, a tendency to chase its tail on wet roads. But, the more post-war quantity-produced British care I drive —and I have handled practically every one during the past few years—the more firmly am I convinced that the VW is the most outstanding automotive achievement of the post-war era.

I am, Yours, etc.
Tunbridge Wells. S.H. MARSHALL.