The Incredible Saga Of The Lost Antarctic Volkswagen Beetles

A red volkswagen beetle hauling a sled on a ice sheet in Antarctic
A red volkswagen beetle hauling a sled on a ice sheet in Antarctic

Normally, when planning an expedition to Antarctica, you might look for a beefy vehicle for wandering the great wasteland of snow and ice. Something like the building-size Antarctic Snow Cruiser, or the tough Soviet-made Kharkovchanka. You’d probably over look, say, a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle.

Rookie mistake! You’re going to end up like Australian explorer Douglas Mawson overlooking the hard-working People’s Car little car like that. Through a wonderful combination of timing, science and marketing, several Volkswagens made their way to Antartica via Australian researchers in the 1960s. And, as it turns out, the humble little Beetle was damn useful for getting around!

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While Volkswagen claimed to be the first car in Antartica, that claim to fame actually belongs to a car brought on a Shackleton expedition in the early 20th Century, the little VW Bugs were much more useful. This whole video is delightful, as are the other videos Calum puts out.

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