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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How it all started. Part two. The story of my current Wartburg 353 Tourist.

Having bought the Wartburg on Ebay, I had the problem of getting it back from the Uk.
The car was in East Sussex, which is almost as difficult a place for me to get to, as could be.
Bringing a car back to Ireland, you have to use either Liverpool/Birkenhead or Holyhead.
There's also a crossing from Fleetwood, but it's not practical, for me anyway.
Plus, I'd have to fly into London, get a train to East Sussex, then drive back the way I'd
came past London again, and continue onto any of the above ports.
Nomatter which ferry port I'd have used, I'd have had a 400-500 mile drive to get there.
The vendor told me that the car had been used very little in the past eighteen months, so
I reckoned the only way for me to get the car home was to use a transporter.
Again, I'd bought a car unseen, but a condition of sale for the car, was that the seller would
put a fresh mot on it at his cost.
So I reckoned with this fresh mot and the fact that the car had had a paint job two years previous
and came with a spare engine, full exhaust system in packaging, new clutch and pressure plate,
used carburettor and a big box of other bits and bobs, it couldn't be too much of a risk.



I went onto a couple of websites for getting transport quotes.
There's a number of these and they let you put in your details and then the transporters
quote you and bid for your custom.
I ended up getting a quote of 350 quid sterling, which I thought was pretty good value.
That was right to my door, so I did pretty well on that one and also became friendly with
the transporter and developed a good contact for future use.
So, I got the car back about a week later and as far as initial impressions go, my heart sank!
For starters, it was absolutely filthy, with the type of ground in dirt that looked like it had been
lying up for a very long time. There were leaf imprints all over the bodywork.
I got it off the transporter and started it up. The engine sounded good, which was a minor respite
to how I was feeling.
The key in the ignition though, felt extremely tight, as if I turned it a fraction more than was necessary
to engage the starter, it would break.
My driveway is quite steep and I drove the car up to the top of it, but it seemed very underpowered
and I just about made it.
After a few minutes idling, the engine developed a bad miss and began running very roughly.
I turned it off for the moment, until I got the transporter sorted and away.
I checked the car over and realised that the ignition key was a copy and wasn't right for the car.
When you engaged the starter, it would often as not, fail to disengage after firing.
This was purely down to the key being wrong for the car and sticking.
On occasion, it was even possible to take the key out of the ignition, with the engine still
running and the starter staying stuck!
The wipers didn't work.
One of the headlamps was out.
The indicators didn't work.
The black wartburg insignia was missing on the car.
There was a cd player in the car, minus the detachable cover, which
was an eyesore and totally useless without the cover.
The speedo was either disconnected or broken.
.
Although the respray on the body had been well done, there was a couple of touch-ups
on the car that had been done with the wrong shade of green, on the tailgate and front
panel that houses the headlamps.
The spare engine and box of parts had been put in the boot
The engine was pushed so tight against the tailgate, that I had great difficulty getting it open.
How the engine didn't smash the rear windscreen on the journey to Ireland, I'll never understand.
Apart from the disappointment I felt, the thought uppermost in my mind  was, 'How did this car
pass an mot four days previously?'
Next day, I started the car and again it fired up with no problems and initially ran well.
Somewhat heartened by this, I took it out for a spin.
I got about a quarter of a mile, before the car started missing badly and making loud and
horrible cranking noises from under the bonnet.
The power also had decreased at the same time, to the point where the car would start but
would not drive.
I had to park the car up and come back later to tow it home.
All I could think of at this moment was, what a good job I didn't arrive in England to
drive the car back!

I'm no mechanic but will do a bit of servicing and basic repairs.
I realised that whatever was wrong with this car was beyond my capabilities and in the
frame of mind I was in, the car seemed to be nothing but a disaster.
I did feel that the loss of power was probably something to do with the fuel pump,
but it could have been anything. The miss in the engine was very worrying, as well
as the noises that accompanied it.
I thought there was a big possibility that the spare engine I'd got with the car, would
be called into use.
So, I towed the car to my mechanic, Noel  and hoped for the best.

The manual fuel pump in the car wasn't working, or would work a little with the choke out.
This explained why the car would drive a short distance, before losing power.
As soon as the choke was disengaged, the car was being completely starved of fuel.
He fitted a new electric fuel pump which worked a treat.
The miss in the car was due in part to the carburettor which ended up having to be rebuilt.
This wasn't as costly as it might have been, due to the fact that the car came with a spare carb.
 Noel used the best parts of both carburettors, to make one as good as possible.
Although greatly improved, the car would still run rough and seemed to only run on two cylinders
at times.
Noel tested the 3 coils individually and they were fine, but he did find a broken earth wire under
them  when he had them out of the car, which was significant.
The original carbon plug leads that were on the car were also faulty and once these were changed
the car ran as sweet as a Wartburg can. New Ngk plugs were also installed.

The speedo it turned out was merely disconnected.
The wipers and indicators are powered by the same fuse, which just needed changing.
A new fuse was needed for the lights as well.
I got a new ignition switch from German Ebay with 2 keys for 25 euro delivered.
I found a seller on Ebayuk who had original chrome 'Wartburg' insignia for sale and
bought a set for about 20 euros and put them on the car.
I got, also from German Ebay, a 'Konstant' radio from a Wartburg 311 and fitted it in place
of the 'half a cd player'.

Shortly after this work was done and the car had been used a few times, the alternator
started playing up. There was no current going to the battery.
I managed to find a brand new one ( old stock) on German ebay
There were both new front brake pads and rear brake shoes in the box of parts, so I fitted these
and changed the gear oil. The coolant system was then flushed and the coolant renewed, along
with a number of hoses that had probably never been changed since the car was new.
I'm not mad on the bright green colour, so I had the tailgate and the front panel that houses the
headlamps sprayed in Ivory white, which complements the green and also hides the touch-ups
that were done in the wrong shade of green.

I was far from happy with the people who sold me the car and told them as much.
To cut a long story short, they agreed to refund me part of the purchase price, which went
a little of the  way to sort the car out.
When you focus on the negative aspects of any car, you are blind to the positives.
The interior of the car is very good, seats and carpets came up great when thoroughly
cleaned. The bodywork is excellent and the underneath is as solid as could be.
The car has a massive history file and lots of receipts.
The car came with an original Ddr toolkit and first aid box which are very nice items.
Likewise, the spare wheel has an original 'Pneumant' winter tyre on it.
Now that the car has been sorted, it's an enjoyable drive and I'd take it anywhere
with confidence.
This car feels faster and fresher than the one I had before. It's also quieter.

The car stands me a good few quid, but I'm now happy with it and I know I'd go a long
ways now to find a better one.
For me, Classic car ownership is as much about keeping cars on the road for as
long as possible, as driving the cars themselves.
This car is as good as I can make it and should provide enjoyment for many years
to come.

I took my fourteen year old son, Iain, to Berlin last week of June this year and we saw some
nice IFA vehicles. I also saw a lovely Wartburg 311 driving along in the Mitte area.
We stayed in Frankfurter Allee and enjoyed the break.
Amongst other places, we visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp and explored
East Berlin quite a bit, including seeing other less known, remaining parts of the Berlin wall.
For those interested in Ddr history, there's a brilliant documentary made by independent
film maker, Ian Hawkins, titled ' My Ddr t-shirt'.
In the film, he speaks to many former Berliners about what life was like in East Germany,
and how their lives were affected in many ways, positively and negatively.
The film is extremely well balanced and speaks to people from East and West.
It's a very well made film with lots of interesting Ddr footage.
He also visits a field full of Trabants.
I've spoken to Ian Hawkins and he has agreed to give a discount on this film to IFA
club members.
.
It's normally £8, but if purchased through myself it's £7 including P&P


Info on the dvd 'My DDR T-SHIRT:    www.myddrtshirt.co.uk

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That Good-for-Nothing Car Is Good for a Laugh - NYTimes.com

I found the following newspaper article from March 7,1991, about the film ' Go Trabi Go'.
The article was written by Stephen Kinzer:




CHEMNITZ, Germany, March 1— As eastern Germany spirals toward economic collapse, people who live here have found a way to escape from the onrushing specter of unemployment and social upheaval.
They visit the local movie theater and see "Go Trabi Go," the first film comedy about German unification. It makes them laugh not precisely at themselves, but at the absurdities of the system under which they lived until last year.
In the six weeks since "Go Trabi Go" was released, more than 600,000 Germans have seen it, making it one of the most successful German films of recent years. It is playing in 125 theaters across the country, and is drawing big crowds in western as well as eastern cities.
The film tells the story of a father, mother and daughter from the bleak Saxon town of Bitterfeld who, finally free to travel abroad, pack into their Trabant and drive toward Italy. All three leading actors turn in lively performances, but the real star is the Trabant. A Part of the Family
Probably no symbol of the former East Germany is as widely recognized and ridiculed as the ugly, polluting Trabant, or Trabi, as it is affectionately known.
"You had to wait 10 or 15 years to get one, and when you did, you cherished it," said Wolfgang Stumph, who plays the father. "Your Trabi was part of the family. It represented your connection to the world."
"The Trabi was a lot like East Germany. It was far from perfect, but somehow it worked. You had to improvise every day to keep it going. It was small and smelly and it broke down a lot, but it was what we had."
Mr. Stumph, a well-known satirist and cabaret performer from Dresden, portrays a high-school German teacher entranced with Goethe's accounts of his travels in Italy. Whe East Germany's Communist Government collapses, he resolves to live out his lifelong dream of following Goethe's path. He paints the slogan "See Naples and Die!" on the back of his Trabi, packs his wife and daughter inside, and sets out.
The family's first contact with the West is in Bavaria, where a brother-in-law lives. He turns out to be a fat and boorish character who personifies the excess of West Germany's self-satisfied prosperity. When the noisy, overloaded Trabi pulls up in front of his impeccable suburban home, he gasps, "The Saxons are at the door!" and quickly hides his half-eaten chocolate cake.
From Bavaria, the family makes its way south, through nations of people who seem to love laughing at Trabis. At one point, when the car breaks down, the father telephones for road service. "What kind of a car do you have?" the service agent asks. "It's a 601," the father replies. "What, a Porsche?"
"No, a Trabant!"
The agent bursts out laughing. "Why don't you just leave that plastic can by the side of the road?" he suggests. The Trabi Triumphs
The Trabi survives a host of other outrages, including being mistaken for scrap at an auto junkyard. Insensitive Westerners subject it to ridicule at every stop, but it serves its owners well and no amount of abuse can destroy it. Like East Germans themselves, it survives through difficult times and ultimately triumph.
Thanks to the Trabi, the intrepid pilgrims from Bitterfeld finally reach Naples and are able to walk where Goethe walked.
Public premieres of "Go Trabi Go" have been held in several cities in eastern Germany. The three lead actors recently attended a premiere in Chemnitz, near the Czechoslovak border. The theater was packed, and outbreaks of delighted applause suggested that viewers recognized themselves on the screen.
"There's nothing in that film that isn't true," a young man said after the lights went back on. "You have to love your Trabi, just like you have to love your wife. It's part of what we are." Real-Life Vacations Recalled
Mr. Stumph and the actress who plays his wife, Marie Gruber, were surrounded by autograph-seekers after the show. The real commotion, though, was around 25-year-old Claudia Schmutzler, who plays the cheeky teen-age daughter. "Go Trabi Go" is her first film, and critics have suggested she has an appeal that could make her a star of the future.
As a girl growing up in East Germany, Miss Schmutzler took several real-life vacations in her family's Trabant. "Of course it's not so comfortable in the back seat, but it was a chance for the family to have an adventure together," she said. "In the West, people just fly from place to place. It's a very different feeling."
"Go Trabi Go" was made by Bavaria Films, the largest studio in Germany, for about $3 million. It is a trifling sum by Hollywood standards, but fairly expensive for a German film. No figures are yet available, but the film has already grossed much more than it cost to make.
Bavaria Films is a well-established Western studio, and Peter Timm, the director and screenwriter, is a native of the former West Germany. The producer, Reinhard Klooss, has lived in Munich for years but was born in the East.
"I was watching TV the night the wall fell, and I was fascinated by the thousands of Trabants pouring across," Mr. Klooss said in an interview. "I was instantly curious about who those people inside the Trabis were. What had they gone through? What were they really like?"
"Audiences have a very warm reaction to this film. It shows people from the East as good-humored, optimistic and happy with themselves. For a lot of people in the West, it's the first time they've had any glimpse into the way East Germans really are." So Much Stress Now
After the Chemnitz premiere, when the last autographs were signed, Mr. Klooss and his three stars climbed into their car -- not a Trabant -- and sped away. A man standing on a corner watched and waved.
"People ask if things are better now, since the reunification," he reflected. "What does 'better' mean? Sure, you can make real money now. But everything is so overwhelming. There's so much stress. In the old days we knew what to expect."
Few citizens of the former East Germany feel genuine nostalgia for the days of Communist rule. But many insist that life back then was not all bad. After all, they say with a smile, there was always the chance of getting a Trabi.
Photo: Probably no symbol of the former East Germany is as widely recognized and ridiculed as the Trabant, a car that is the real star of the German film "Go Trabi Go." The film's human stars are Wolfgang Stumph, at the wheel, Marie Gruber and Claudia Schmutzler, on the hood. Reinhard Klooss produced the film. (Axel Petermann for The New York Times)

I haven't seen this film yet, but it is available to buy on German Ebay ( Ebay.de) and I will review it at a later date. Apparently there's been a sequel to the original as the picture denotes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Trabant. Die Letzten Tage der Produktion ( The Final Days of production)

Very good book, with text in both German and English.
The only Trabant book I know of which is not in German, apart from the 'Ddr Trabi owners handbook' translated by Professor Lew Schnurr.

This book briefly outlines the history of the Trabi and the factory in Zwickau where they were produced. It also features a very good newspaper article that was published by a German newspaper in April 1991, just days before production of the 'Trabant' ceased forever.

The rest of the book is made of of the stark, yet brilliant photography of Martin Roemers who visited the Trabant factory in 1990 and 91 to photograph production.
One of the most evident things the pictures show, is the look of despondency on the faces of the workers, who know their factory, livelihood and life as they know it is coming to an end soon.
Also poignant is the lack of youth amongst the workers and the pictures of elderly women operating powertools on the assembly line.
Another shot, shows a male worker on his break, his clothes so poor, the crotch of his trousers has clearly been patched over.
Black and white imagery gives a much more bleak and perhaps, depressing picture than the same images in colour would. Nevertheless, the pictures show a factory that was archaic by modern production standards and the cars built there were as hand crafted as cars could possibly be.
The images would not look out of place from the 1950's and this factory probably changed little from then to 1991.
To say, Car manufacture here was extremely labour intensive, would be an understatement.

But the fact that this factory produced cars at all is largely due to the ingenuity and determination of the East German people.
In the aftermath of the Second world War, the Russians confiscated all major tooling and machinery. Practically anything of any industrial value in the Gdr was stripped, crated and sent to Russia.
Imports from the West were now a thing of the past and there was obviously no industrial help forthcoming from Russia.
The Sachsenring factory in Zwickau ( like the Wartburg factory in Eisenach) had to start from scratch and practically make their own tooling applications and overcome countless production problems, using their own ingenuity, stubbornness and the extremely meagre financial investment from the Gdr government. ( which the Soviets had ultimate control over)
To combat steel shortages, the Germans invented a new material for body panels which was called 'Duroplast'. This flexible and strong material was made from Plastic resin mixed with cotton waste. The body panels made from this were then mounted onto a unitary steel frame. This enabled the Germans to build cars, using a bare minimum of steel compared to other contemporary cars.

Production of cars started with the introduction of the P70 in 1958. This was followed by the P50 and then the P601 followed in 1964 and continued with few visual changes until 1990. The 601 was only meant to be produced for a few years and engineers wanted to replace it as early as 1968. Many prototypes would be rejected by the Government who insisted they only build the 601, many times over.
There were also repeatedly refused permission to switch from Two stroke power to a more modern and more environmentally friendly, four stroke engine.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the demand for the Trabant virtually ceased.
East Germans now had easy access to Western cars and wanted them as human nature generally hankers for what's never been had, or has been denied.
The final Trabants (90-91) made were given a four-stroke Volkswagen engine from the Polo, which the Zwickau factory had been producing under license for Volkswagen.
This was a last ditch attempt to save the Trabant from extinction and somehow make it appealing to East Germans, despite the car looking largely the same apart from a new powertrain and transmission. It failed.
Prior to this, waiting lists were between twelve and fourteen years to get a new Trabant.

In the immediate aftermath of the 'Wall' falling, Trabants were literally given away or abandoned on roadsides as their owners saw them as symbols and reminders of the oppression they'd been forced to live by.
Nowadays, the Trabant is fast becoming evermore scarce and an object of desire by classic car enthusiasts and is seen at many car shows.


The final pictures of the book, taken in 1992, are as poignant as they are telling.
They show hundreds of Trabants piled up,waiting to be stripped for parts and then crushed as the factory is now owned by Volkswagen and now producing for their own interests.
This is a very good and enjoyable book for anyone interested in Trabants and Gdr history.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bought myself a Trabant!

Just done a deal for the pictured car. It's a 1989 Trabi  601 S Kombi.
Interestingly, this was the last year of production for the two stroke model and was manufactured in the same month(Nov) that the Berlin Wall opened.
This improved model had the coil spring suspension and electronic ignition.
The car is a great runner and the previous owner has made quite a few improvements, with  new brake cylinders and drums, new bonnet frame, windscreen, tyres and battery.
I'm on my second Wartburg, but this will be my first Trabi.
It needs a little work to improve, namely two door sills to be spliced into place and a little welding around a wheel arch. But the car has a long mot and is taxed.
It's on the button mechanically, has a good solid chassis and clean seats and interior. Has only covered about 40k miles from new. Will post more about it soon.
The car is still in England and I have to make arrangements to go and collect it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

DVD REVIEW FOR ALL TRABANT FANS

TRABANT Ein Auto fur eine Mark! ( A CAR FOR A DOLLAR) DVD.:


 THIS EXCELLENT DVD IS A MUST FOR ALL TRABI FANS. ALMOST ONE HOUR LONG IT TELLS THE WHOLE STORY OF THE TRABANT FROM IT'S INCEPTION, THROUGH TO ITS DEMISE. IT ALSO TELLS HOW THE CAR WAS BUILT WITH MUCH HUMAN LABOUR, AFTER THE RUSSIANS PILLAGED THE FACTORY AFTER WORLD WAR II AND SENT MOST OF THE MACHINERY AND TOOLING TO RUSSIA. AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW THE TRABANT WAS MADE FROM 'DUROPLAST', WHICH WAS A MIXTURE OF PLASTIC RESIN, STRENGTHENED WITH A BY PRODUCT OF COTTON WASTE. MANUFACTURER 'SACHSENRING' INVENTED THIS NEW MATERIAL OUT OF NECESSITY AS STEEL WAS VERY HARD TO COME BY AND PROHIBITIVELY EXPENSIVE. THE WEST WOULDN'T SELL THEM ANY AND THE RUSSIANS DIDN'T HAVE ANY TO SPARE. AS THE DVD SHOWS, DESPITE THE DERISION IN MANY CIRCLES OF THE 'PLASTIC' BODY OF THE TRABI, IT ACTUALLY FARED BETTER IN CRASH TESTS THAN MANY WESTERN VEHICLES. THE DVD TAKES YOU INTO THE FACTORY FLOOR, WHICH SHOWS THE TRABANTS WERE BUILT WITH MUCH HAND LABOUR. INTERESTINGLY, SACHSENRING PRODUCED MANY REPLACEMENTS FOR THE TRABANT AND BUILT MANY PROTOTYPES, BUT WERE REPEATEDLY REFUSED PERMISSION FROM THE GOVERNMENT TO PRODUCE THEM. THE TRABANT TRULY WAS A PEOPLES CAR AND COST ON AVERAGE A YEARS SALARY. MANY PEOPLE HAD TO WAIT UP TO 16 YEARS TO RECEIVE ONE, WHICH USUALLY MEANT THAT ONCE THEY GOT ONE, THEY LOOKED AFTER IT AND BECAME SKILLED AT MAINTAINING THE CARS. THE TRABANT WAS SIMPLY BUILT TO ALLOW NON-PROFESSIONALS TO WORK ON THEM. ALTHOUGH THE TRABANT RECEIVED MUCH BAD PUBLICITY AND WAS THE BUTT OF MANY JOKES IN THE WESTERN WORLD, WHEN IT WAS LAUNCHED IN 1958, IT WAS QUITE ADVANCED WITH FRONT WHEEL DRIVE, UNITARY CONSTRUCTION AND WAS THE FIRST CAR EVER MADE FROM RECYCLABLE MATERIALS. THE MAJORITY OF WESTERN MANUFACTURERS HAD SWITCHED TO CLEANER BURNING FOUR STROKE ENGINES, SO TWO STROKE ENGINES, LIKE THE TRABANT WERE SEEN AS OUTDATED AND UNFASHIONABLE. THE TRABANT THOUGH WAS VERY ECONOMICAL AND GAVE REASONABLE PERFORMANCE, RELATIVE TO THE TIME IT WAS BUILT AND THE 600 CC ENGINE WOULD HAVE BEEN ON PAR WITH MOST WESTERN FOUR STROKERS, UP TO 1000CC. THIS IS PROVED BY THE REMARKABLE SUCCESSES THE CAR HAD ON THE RALLY CIRCUIT, WHERE THEY REGULARLY BEAT BMW AMONGST OTHERS. INTERESTINGLY ONE OF THE PROTOTYPES THE 603, LOOKS REMARKABLY LIKE THE VOLKSWAGEN GOLF WHICH APPEARED ABOUT 3 YEARS AFTER THE COMPANY WERE REFUSED PERMISSION TO BUILD THE CAR. THE AUTHORITIES NOT ONLY REFUSED THEM, BUT CONFISCATED ALL PAPERWORK AND FILES. STAFF AT SACHSENRING BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNMENT SOLD THEIR PLANS TO VOLKSWAGEN, WHO IN TURN PRODUCED THE GOLF. THIS 603 PROTOTYPE IF PRODUCED WOULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST HATCHBACK CAR EVER AND WOULD HAVE APPEARED 3 YEARS BEFORE THE RENAULT 5 (WHICH WAS THE 1ST). IT'S A GREAT DVD AND TELLS THE COMPLETE STORY. IT ALSO SHOWS THE TREMENDOUS POPULARITY 'TRABIS' NOW ENJOY ALL OVER THE WORLD AND THE CLUBS, ASSOCIATIONS AND EVENTS DEVOTED TO THEM. HARD TO BELIEVE THAT WHEN THE WALL CAME DOWN IN 1989, TRABANTS COULD BE BOUGHT FOR AS LITTLE AS A DOLLAR. THEIR OWNERS SO HAPPY TO ESCAPE TO THE WEST, SAW THE TRABANT AS A REMINDER OF THEIR OPPRESSIVE PAST. ALSO THEY WANTED WESTERN CARS AS THEY WERE LARGELY DENIED THEM ALL THEIR LIVES IN EAST GERMANY. VOLKSWAGEN TOOK OVER THE SACHSENRING FACTORY IN 1990 AND THE LAST TRABANT WAS MADE UNTIL 1991, WHEN PRODUCTION STOPPED. SACHSENRING HAD BEEN MANUFACTURING ENGINES FOR VOLKSWAGEN, NAMELY THE 1.1 POLO ENGINE AND THIS WAS USED FOR THE LAST YEAR OF PRODUCTION IN THIS LATEST TRABANT 1.1. THE DVD IS IN GERMAN, BUT THERE IS SOME ENGLISH AUDIO AND SUBTITLES. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


NB: CHECK OUT OTHER DVD RELATED BOOKS AND DVDS ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THIS BLOG. THEY ARE ADDED TO REGULARLY. THIS DVD IS READILY AVAILABLE TO BUY ON EBAY.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ddr car statistics for 1988. Interesting reading.




The following data is my interpretation from two books. One book listed the number of cars on Ddr roads.
The other listed the prices in 1988. When you consider the Trabant ( which was by far the cheapest new car option) , cost on average, a years salary, the imported cars cost an absolute fortune and were way beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.


PRIVATE CARS ON DDR ROADS,1988.                           COST NEW IN 1988.

Trabant : 1.9 million. Cost 5,240-7,240 Deutsch Marks.

Wartburg : 353. 606,000.   Cost 8,900-11,154. DM.

Lada. : 329,000. Cost 14-18,500. DM

Skoda : 303,000. Cost unknown.

Moskvitch: 127,000. Cost unknown.

IMPORTED CARS AVAILABLE TO DDR CITIZENS:

Volkswagen Golf. 22,000 Cost 19,500- 24,500 DM

Volkswagen Passat: Numbers unknown.  Cost 31,500-32,500 DM

BMW 3 series: Numbers unknown( very few):   Cost 32,000 + dependent on model and spec.

Peugeot 309 GR: Numbers unknown(very few).  Cost 22,500 DM.

Ford Orion 1.3. Numbers unknown (very few) Cost 20,500 DM

Fiat Uno60 was available for special order, but no prices were given.

Prices for the Barkas and Volkswagen Transporter vehicles are listed, but no numbers given.


Barkas B1000 Van type Commercial. Cost 15,200 DM.

Barkas B1000 Flat bed Truck. Cost 14,100 DM.

Barkas B1000 Minibus.  Cost 17,200 DM.

Volkswagen Transporter kombi:   Cost 29,000 DM  ALMOST TWICE THE PRICE OF THE 'BARKAS'.

ANALYSIS:


You could buy 4 Trabants for the price of a medium specification Volkswagen Golf.
The Lada was a  pretty expensive, Communist car, compared to East German offerings.
Almost 3 times the price of a Trabant and 50% dearer than a Wartburg.
The Russians clearly didn't do their 'Socialist' brothers any favours when it came to Imports!


No mention is made of the expected waiting time for an Imported car to be delivered.
Typical waiting times for a new 'Trabi' were 12-14 years, longer for Wartburgs.
Perhaps someone reading this can shed some light??


The most popular imported Limousine type car for Government ministers and similar echelons of East German society was the 'Volvo'.


the above figures have been rounded up or down respectively.

Nothing much to report

All has been pretty quiet. Had the Wartburg out a few more times and it continues to perform brilliantly.
My favourite Wartburg of all time would be the 311, particularly in one of the two tone colour schemes, which are such a welcome contrast to the bland and mundane colours of the seventies and eighties Wartburgs.
IFA F9 1956 Model.   Don't these have lovely lines?
I particularly like this black and grey combo. These cars had plenty of chrome, leather type seats and wooden  door cappings on the inside under the windows. After the Eisenach factory stopped producing Bmw's and Emw's, they made the IFA F9 for 3 years. Production of the Wartburg 311 began in 1956.