Antarctica Flag

  Antarctica 1 License Plate
Picture (left) by The Volkswagen Classic and Vintage Club of Australia
Picture (right, bottom) by The Beetle
Background and Geography Antarctica Map In 1963 a ruby-red Beetle spent 12 months at the Mawson base in Antarctica which is part of the Australian Government's commitment in the Antarctic through the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition (known as ANARE).

The Beetle, model 1962, was built in Australia by the Volkswagen Australasia Pty Ltd. Bodywork, engine, glass, electrical system, paint and tires of the Beetle "Down Under" built in sixties were in fact produced in Australia without using parts from Germany. It was the first production model in Antarctica which explains the name "Antarctica 1" assigned by Volkswagen. Scientists nicknamed the Beetle "Red Terror" because of the colour of the body which stood out against the white landscape.

During that year in Antarctica, the Beetle was used as means of transport for people and equipment. The car had to endure heavy snowfalls, violent winds and it travelled on snow and ice for a long distance, sometimes on such inaccessible grounds even to sleighs towed by huskies.
There is no requirement to have cars registered in the Antarctic however a set of number plates had been made up with "Antarctica 1" painted on them. These plates have since become collectors items. Replicas have since been made and sold to VW enthusiasts worldwide.

Exploits of Antarctica 1 were very well documented and publicized as early as May 1963. Volkswagen Australia used the pictures and stories in much of their advertising at the time. This continued in 1964 when Antarctica 2 completed a similar tour of duty.

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