A sight I never thought I would ever see. I think I will go slap myself.
Was this Mercedes’ famous banked corner at their test track in Stuttgart?
It featured in a lot of M-B advertising for a few years in the late 70s.
I think VW had their own high speed banked curve. Although I don’t know why they would have back in 1968, since they had not fast cars back then.
In looking at it closely, it’s clear that the red bus isn’t going as fast as it should be. These curves are designed to be taken at a specific speed where the g-loading is symmetrical. Looking at the red bus carefully, it’s clear that it’s listing to its side some, meaning that it’s not going fast enough. I suspect the design speed was closer to 90-100mph, but the bus could only manage maybe 70. Which may explain why the drivers are leaning so hard to one side. If the car was going fast enough, they wouldn’t have to lean like that.
It’s likely Ehra-Lessien, as it was brand-new in 1968. An interesting fact about the track was Volkswagen chose to build it close to the East German border because it was, at the time, in a no-fly zone. I would assume the high-speed banking was utilized quite a bit by Porsche in the day, as I don’t think they had their own dedicated test track until Weissach was built in the early ’80’s.
there was an ad in 74 or 75 with the golf, polo, sciroco and passat all going round a banked track.
Exceptionally slow? 🙂
You would want a banked track like that to take turns at their 65 mph top speed in a Type 2. Without a hint of crosswind, please. My father rolled his ’70 Westy weekender onto it’s side on an interstate onramp in Washington state on a gusty day while we were returning to the states from Alaska when I was 9. It didn’t even damage the sheetmetal, it just sort of took 5 seconds to roll over slowly like a fat cat lying down. Even the wrecks in Buses are slow!
Would this be the most boring IROC type racing series ever? Imagine VW bus race drivers being famous and loved like like Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna & Alain Prost are in Formula One! At least the advertising would be easy to see plus mandatory nationality flags on the roofs like on Minis.
Why would that be boring? Most spectators like to see the crashes. The races might end early though.
I’d like to see Formula One drivers racing VW buses around the streets of Monaco.
Exceptional driving characteristics especially when fighting a crosswind……but it always started and DIY repairs were easy. 🙂
Hmmm. My ’71 Campmobile (from which I had stripped everything from the front seats back) would do 70+ on the flat (not uphill!) and did not feel tippy even with fairly aggressive (for a Campmobile) driving. I did not drive it like I had my Vega, but it never felt unsafe (at any speed!), either.
Arlo Guthrie discovered his German heritage. “So we loaded the wienerschnitzel and beer into the back of a red VW microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, and headed off to the Nurburgring.”
Either that or it’s a German episode of Top Gear.
Either way, it makes for some entertaining commentaries. 🙂
The drivers of the red and blue ones are leaning so far into the hill they’re practically horizontal.
I presume VW was pointing out that the T2 did have substantially improved handling vs the T1. But did they have to tell us these were all VWs?
I’m surprised they could go fast enough to get up the banking without sliding back down.
My 68 probably didnt go fast enough to stay on banking that steep only had a 1600 twin port, but yeah vastly better roadholding that the split screen vans.
These are C111 prototypes being tested before fitting of the correct bodies. The automotive paparazische were hiding in the bushes and MB wanted to throw them off.
What a fantastic pic.
Thanks for finally explaining it.
Lol, nailed it Don!
the red one is leaning over pretty well to the inside…the driver is hanging out the other, thinking “don’t roll, don’t roll…get the pic, get the pic already..” 🙂
“Sorry, that shot was too blurry..another lap, guys!”
[A typo in the headline, Paul…….]
Cool photo/ad nonetheless–thanks for posting!
I’ve had more Typ II VW’s than you can imagine and drove the living crap out of them across America many times ~ the stock shocks were pretty poor , good KYB (white ,not the silver garbage) or Bilstein’s & quality radial tires helped a tremendous amount .
Cross winds made driving them like flying an underpowered airplane ~ you sort of crabbed on down the road and hoped the wind didn’t suddenly let up .
Going 75 and getting passed by a Semi going 90 + could help you get Religion ! .
’68s still had the single port 1500 , I had a ’68 Typ 211 Panel truck for years and routinely drove it from L.A. to Scottsdale , Az. to visit my rich GF . slow but 1,000 % reliable , I’d always come home via Jerome , Az. .
“I was driving my VW Camper”, recalled Heinrich from his hospital bed, “and just minding my own business, when all of a sudden VW vans started raining down on me from above…”
Whew! After reading this marvel of German marketing, I had to go listen to my CD of the Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.”
How are these things not barrel rolling?!?!? Crazy pic for sure! Ive driven only one VW bus…my ex’s brother had a clapped out ’73 bay window similar to blue one bringing up the rear. He could drive it like an expert, but I couldn’t find the gates in the shifter. The linkages were so incredibly sloppy, there was nothing resembling a positive shift. Driving it felt like piloting a motorized tool shed powered by a briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine. But even though it would break down on him 2-3 times a month, the average repair bill was about $30. It soaked up an unreal amount of abuse. One night in particular, we were having a real rager of a party and made a beer run in it with no less than 20 people stuffed inside. I thought no way this thing will even move…but move it did, and we even took a side trip on some pretty steep gravel mountain roads! Good times!
Maybe this was when the IRS rear suspension first came out. Big time improvement over the reduction gear swingaxles that would jack up the rear end when accelerating. The rear wheel would try to lift and ‘hop’ around a corner if you went a little too fast. Still properly terrifying in the cross wind, however. Or if your crazy enough to try to pass someone on a two lane road.
I owned/drove a 36(?) hp 56 model and a 40(?)hp 64 model. I feel like such a doofus for never taking them racing. Who knew?
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