The Volkswagen Beetle was the first car to Antarctica in 1963

El Volkswagen Escarabajo fue el primer coche en llegar a la Antártida en 1963

The classic Volkswagen Beetle has always been a model that has stood by its reliability and its robustness. Maybe that was the reason why in 1963 the ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) decided to use the Volkswagen Beetle as a protagonist for one of their missions in the Antarctica. The car was donated by the marketing division of Volkswagen Australia, having seen here a great opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the model, as so was and manufactured in Australia.

Christened Antarctica 1, this Beetle color Ruby Red was the first production car to get to Antarctica, the South Pole. A little over three months after being manufactured, the Antarctica 1 reached the continent most frigid of the planet aboard the boat icebreaker Nella Dan. There began a expedition of twelve months in that the Volkswagen Beetle would face temperatures of up to 52 degrees below zero and a hostile territory without roads or any infrastructure prepared to welcome the arrival of conventional vehicles to engine.


El Volkswagen Escarabajo fue el primer coche en llegar a la Antártida en 1963

And went up and down the Antarctica 1 the Nella Dan

Renowned as Red Terror by the members of the expedition, the Antarctica 1 was a Beetle completely standard, with the exception of that in spite of being manufactured in Australia, had features specific to the models in the north of Europe, better prepared for the harsh winter conditions that those models aimed to cross the australian Outback. Its air-cooled engine was ideal for the Antarctic, as no coolant could freeze and cause a motor breakdown. We used kerosene refined as a lubricant for the boxer four-cylinder.

over the 12 months that this Volkswagen Beetle was in the Antarctic, with more than 2.400 kilometres travelled, there were no problems noted with the car. Strong winds, sometimes in excess of 160 km/h, did that more than once the hinges for the doors not to resist. The mechanical breakdown more serious was the breaking of the anchors for the torsion bars front, that because of the cold, the snow and the rocks of the icy landscape came to breaking on more than one occasion.

El Volkswagen Escarabajo fue el primer coche en llegar a la Antártida en 1963

Aerodrome of Rumdoodle

the main mission of The Red Terror was to transport people and equipment from the aerodrome of Rumdoodle to the scientific base of Mawson. Less than 20 miles separated these two locations, but even so, the record time recorded by the Beetle was 50 minutes, leaving evidence of the poor conditions to travel with a car for the Antarctic. It was also used for small research expeditions and to work in recreational moments of “good time”.

in Spite of the harsh climatic conditions and terrain, the Volkswagen Beetle, helped by a few strings, was able to successfully complete the expedition. Demonstrated a great capacity to cycle through these lands that subsequently the marketing department of Volkswagen exploded commercially, since even edited a documentary. In 1964, when this car returned to Australia, he competed in the BP Rally of 1964, winning. Later lost track of the Antarctica 1, and despite the fact that in 2002 a group of fanatics tried to give with the after a number of investigations, even today his whereabouts are unknown.

In 1964, ANARE conducted a new expedition to the Antarctic, but this time with a new Beetle in color International Orange and baptized as Antarctica 2. This second adventurer was going cold on the icy continent until 1969.