“Drag links connect the swing axle ends with the tubular backbone chassis, those from the front suspension being inclined rearwards, and those from the back being inclined forwards. Each completes a sturdy triangle for the suspension layout.
“The ride is very firm, and somewhat bumpy over bad roads, but the vehicle has a feeling of immense strength, so that really rough going can be attacked at speed without fears of damage.”
So, before we get stuck in, how did the Haflinger handle on the road?
“The steering provides sensitive control with a minimum of play. Little effort is need and there is little wheel shock. An unexpected feature, in view of the height off the ground, short wheelbase and unsporting purpose of the Haflinger, is its excellent handling, which allows it to scuttle along winding country lanes.
“The finned drum brakes are of a generous size for such a light vehicle, but in spite of this, they need a firm shove on the pedal for quite ordinary stopping. Hard non-fade linings mean that the brakes do not deteriorate with prolonged use on long descents. They are, however, severely affected by water – a point to remember when making use of the car’s deep wading prowess.
And now to the mountains.
“The worse the conditions, the more the car impresses; but it is not without limitations. Our assault on a mountain had to be called off when the most hopeful route ended in a deep ditch with no way around it. Attempts to cross resulted in the only occasion on which the vehicle became bogged down; but it freed itself quite easily with the aid of a two-man push at the front. This lightness is perhaps one of the greatest assets of the design.
“As the going gets tougher, the Haflinger driver has three lines of reserve to fall back on, beginning with his four-wheel drive control. This is a simple handle between the seats. It engages the front differential and there is no need to stop the vehicle to use it. Should traction still be inadequate, there are two more pull-up levers for locking both the front and rear differentials. These can also be engaged while you’re on the move.
“With both of these locks and four-wheel drive engaged, the vehicle will keep going through mud, sand, marshes – anywhere, in fact, until the terrain is so bad that not one of the wheels can find any grip.
“The third resource is a very low gear marked K (for kriechgang, or creeper gear). Fitted for an extra £45, this gives an overall reduction of 75.6 to 1, and a maximum speed of about 2mph. The four normal gears have excellent syncromesh, but not surprisingly the kriechgang has to be engaged with the vehicle at rest.