Monday, August 9, 2010

Pictures from show 8th August, Moynalty Co.Meath. Ireland

Don't I look nice?
That's Iain sitting in the back, my son.

All four of us headed to Moynalty, yesterday which is a huge fair day, in the Irish midlands.
They have a large classic car display, steam threshing, vintage Tractors, many types of machinery and masses of side stalls with wares for sale, auto-jumble, food and drink.
It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we all enjoyed it.
My Wartburg was the only one there, indeed the only IFA vehicle in attendance.
The only other Eastern block car was a nice Yugo 511, as per the previous show in Trim.
There are a few Trabbie owners in Ireland, but they seem very reluctant, this year anyway, to bring them!
The Wartburg got plenty of attention, with many people photographing it and commenting how nice it was.
I spoke with a man, from Mullingar, who owns a Wartburg 311, which is currently undergoing restoration at the moment. It's a 1960 model and right hand drive and it's light grey in colour.
Should be a nice addition to any future show.
I felt like asking the owner of the beetle if she was close enough!!!
but when she almost hit my door, I reckoned I better move, or risk damage.
That's Kaitlin, my daughter to the right, enjoying her lunch.
I also spoke to people, English and Irish who were previous owners of Wartburg Knight's and all spoke highly and some nostalgically about them.

The car drove brilliantly and I've now done about 500 trouble free miles, since the work and recent overhaul.
I reckon this car is as good as what's out there, anywhere in the Wartburg world and I'd have the confidence to drive it anywhere.

Wartburg-Mercedes 170 V

This is a car made from 1956-1960, which used a Mercedes chassis, engine, gearbox and suspension, coupled with the body panels of the Wartburg 311.

Made by the German Schwarze company, of Gorlitz,  the car was powered by a four-stroke engine of 1697 cc displacement, which produced 38 Hp, making it no more powerful and a lot slower,  than the 900cc, two stroke engine that powered the 311. Further testimony to how good the Wartburg engines are!
It was of course much heavier than the Wartburg 311 and service intervals would have been more frequent with those oil changes necessary for four stroke engines.

Wartburg-Mercedes 170
taller than the 311 beside it
don't they look dignified!
These Wartburg-Mercedes cars had a longer wheelbase than the 311, so the body panels used were elongated versions of those used in the 311. The car would also appear to sit taller.
The car also had a different styled, front grill and a restyled bonnet,  from the 311 and used 16" inch wheels with Mercedes insignia on them.

These cars were a big favourite with German Taxi drivers and many were still being used in the 1970's, so durable these cars proved to be and their mechanicals had a reputation for being unbreakable.

Sadly though, there appears to be few left to be seen, nowadays.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trabants are getting scarce!

The following article appeared in yesterdays New York Times:

August 3, 2010, 2:36 PM

Save the Trabants!

In 2007, Trabant owners gathered to celebrate the car’s 50th anniversary. Three years later, there are only 35,000 Trabants remaining on the road.Oliver Hartung for The New York TimesIn 2007, Trabant owners gathered to celebrate the car’s 50th anniversary. Three years later, there are only 35,000 Trabants remaining on the road.
The hapless Trabant, a symbol of East Germany industrial failure, is falling victim to progress.
According to the German Federal Office of Motor Vehicles, reports Spiegel, there are only 35,000 Trabants registered in Germany — that’s down from a million in the early 1990s.
“Naturally, the cars are just too old,” said Stephan Elsner, a spokesman for the German motor vehicle agency. The car was introduced in 1957.
The Trabant, built of a composite of plastic and cotton-waste fiberglass, was far more lovable as a planter than as a source of transportation. Still, East Germans revered the car as a symbol of independence, and some waited up for to 10 years to have one delivered.
The last Trabant was built in 1991. But in Berlin, where lots of in-fashion Trabants are likely to be found (and sold, for about $1,300 in the classifieds), the car has graduated from its status as the butt of jokes to something of a tourist attraction. In 2007, more than 2,000 owners showed up to a 50th anniversary celebration in Zwickau, where Trabant had a factory.
While some German cities have low-emission zones that would restrict the use of the Trabant, Berlin in 2009 made an exception by relaxing emissions standards for the Trabant.
But then last year, Germany, like the United States, enacted a cash-for-clunkers program, which created the incentive for owners to dump their Trabants.
Matt Annen, who operates TrabantUSA, a Web site devoted to Trabant fans in the United States, estimates that there are from 200 to 250 cars in the United States and Canada (having been privately imported) with private owners. He says that finding older models is getting harder to do.
“I love these cars; they’re really simple, easy to work on, you can pull the engine in an afternoon,” he said. He owns a 1979 Trabant wagon, which runs on a 26-horsepower engine. “You don’t have a lot of power, but you can really whip ‘em around.”
There is another intriguing coda to the Trabant tale. At the Frankfurt auto show last September, Herpa, a company that makes model cars, announced it was working with the auto-parts maker IndiKar to make a battery-powered Trabant. The developers said they expected that the car will become available in 2012 at a cost of about $32,000.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------When you consider that there were just over 3 million Trabants made, Wartburgs must be getting even more scarce now. There were only 1 million of the 353 made.
I have noticed of late, that prices for Warts and Trabants are pushing upwards. Mark