The Australian Ampol Trial was an exceedingly tough event, described in one source as ” a trial by terror, in hideous conditions almost inconceivable outside Australia, and rarely experienced by anyone save the most veteran of bush drivers.”
The winner was a Peugeot 203, which lost 258 marks, followed by a Volkswagen which lost 395 and a Holden which lost 688. A Vanguard lost its engine bearings and many cars broke down. In the subsequent Redex Round-Australia Trial, fought out through desert, bogs, snow, dust and heat, Volkswagens were first, third, fourth and sixth.
The success of the VW in these and other severe Australian trials is attributable to the excellent traction afforded by having the engine over the driven wheels. We had an excellent demonstration of this recently in a gentleman’s estate in the Cotswolds, where several cars were set to climb a hill in a field on a surface of wet grass. A Standard Vanguard was tried first and couldn’t move off. A Vauxhall Velox and a small Ford van failed in just the same way. Then a standard Volkswagen was put to the test and climbed to the summit, afterwards repeating the performance towing a laden two-wheeled trailer.
Another Australian success, in a different sphere, was gained by Volkswagen, when one of these cars won the Economy Run, another being placed third, Volkswagens also winning the team prize with a loss of only 229 points to the loss of 2,370 points by the team of Hoidens which was placed second. In yet another sphere, and much nearer home, a Volkswagen was over 2 seconds faster in the li-litre production-saloon class in the Craigantlet Speed Hill-Climb, beating a Sunbeam Rapier and a Jowett Javelin of some 400 c.c. greater capacity and being beaten amongst the saloons only by a 2-litre A.C. Aceca !—W. B.