Home » Autos & Vehicles » In 1963 a VW Beetle donated by the manufacturer became the first car in the Antarctic. It was so good for Antarctic use, being able to withstand temperatures below -50°C and winds above 150 km/h, that it was nicknamed “Red Terror” by the users.

In 1963 a VW Beetle donated by the manufacturer became the first car in the Antarctic. It was so good for Antarctic use, being able to withstand temperatures below -50°C and winds above 150 km/h, that it was nicknamed “Red Terror” by the users.

Polar Bug: When the Volkswagen Beetle Conquered Antarctica

In 1963, the humble Volkswagen Beetle became the first production car to explore the Antarctic under the auspices of ANARE, the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions. Dubbed Antarctica 1 and painted ruby red so as to stand out in the snow, the car was provided free of charge by VW’s marketing division—which was keen to demonstrate the vehicle’s capabilities in all weather conditions. It later starred in an ad campaign touting its admittedly impressive imperviousness to the elements, complete with fascinated penguins.

Transported via icebreaker, Antarctica 1 spent a year at ANARE’s remote Mawson Station, competing with dog teams and larger tracked vehicles, such as the Snowtrac, according to the book Knowing Australian Volks… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

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