I think this letter will interest you as I am an Englishman who has bought and run a VW in Germany, and thus I think I am able to give a much more balanced opinion about the Volkswagen than many I have seen expressed in your excellent journal (e.g., “Was it a Dud ? ” in the February issue).
In September I bought a 1957/58 VW (one owner, a German) with 74,000 km. on the odometer. After a thorough inspection, it was decided the king-pins and the torsion-bar link-pins were completely worn out, and so these were replaced. Parts cost about £2, and fortunately I was able to put them in myself, as the repair charges would have been about £7. The steering-wheel bush had about 1/10-in, of play and was replaced. The contact-breaker points were very badly pitted, so these too were replaced. Two months after buying the car the battery gave up the ghost. It was not the original, so that means the present battery is at least the third since new. So here is an instance of a VW with less than 50,000 miles on the clock breaking down!
Just recently the rubber dust cover on one of the swing axle arms broke and deposited a fair amount of oil, half of which seemed to find its way into the heating system. A friend remarked that he didn’t realise the VW had a paraffin heater.
The roof lining (cloth) is uniformly dirty, which I imagine is a result of the otherwise very efficient heating system. As to the gearbox, synchromesh is completely non-existent on 2nd gear. A friend (Austrian) has a 1960 VW, 18,000 km., and synchromesh on 2nd is very poor on his, too.
I get about 35 m.p.g., driven hard, and oil consumption is about 1 1/2 pints/1,000 miles. The car has now done 84,000 km. (about 53,000 miles). Of course, one cannot use the semaphore arms at speeds above about 60 m.p.h., and how infuriating that reserve tap was in Paris traffic.
But now let me come to the point of this letter. I own a car previously owned by a man who did not coddle and cosset it like many VW owners do in England. He treated it as almost all Germans treat Volkswagens, as the cheap, ordinary, robust and expendable form of transport it is in Germany. He didn’t drive slowly over bad roads, he didn’t worry too much about the servicing, he didn’t double-declutch; in short, he drove it as many Englishmen no doubt drive their Mini-Minors.
I myself enjoy driving my ” beetle ” immensely, especially now I have a set of “X “s on it, and crave a 1961 model with those 40 b.h.p., but the aim of this letter was to present the other side of the picture. I would very much like to see a letter from a German who owns a Mini-Minor, or aren’t there any ? B.M.C. never seems to advertise in any German newspapers.
I am, Yours, etc.,
Vienna. J. D. PARKER.