Drive-It-Day plans revealed – all Eastern Bloc classics welcome!

The Wartburg Trabant IFA Club will be celebrating Drive it Day 2019 with not one but two events – one in Scotland and one in England’s South West.

Drive-It-Day is co-ordinated every year by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC). The aim is to demonstrate the popularity of  the classic vehicle movement in the UK by encouraging classic vehicle owners to take to the road and celebrate the start of the driving season.

This year’s Drive it Day will take place on 28 April 2019 and the Club is offering two opportunities for owners of Eastern Bloc classics to join the fun.

‘Cars in the Park’ will see a gathering of Cold War Classics at Alice Park, Bath (BA1 7BL). Tony Hickman, owner of the Cafe in the Park, has invited Club members to display their vehicles at his family-friendly cafe.  After a coffee or a late breakfast the assembly will head out for a  road run, possibly taking in a visit to the Motor Museum in Calne.

Scottish IFA Day will start at the Scottish Submarine Centre, Helensburgh (G84 8UN), with time to look round this new attraction with a cold war interest. From there the road run will head north up the A818 joining the A82, stopping off at Luss Filling station next to Loch Lomond to fill up and take photographs. The run will continue up the west side of Loch Lomond through Tarbet  to the famous Green Welly for a relaxed lunch and impromptu car (and bike) show. The total route is just under 40 miles.

Club Chairman Mel Holley said: “We love to give Club members the opportunity to get out and about in their Eastern Bloc classics. We’re great supporters of Drive it Day and I’m especially pleased that in our 50th year we’re offering twice the opportunity for members to take to the road.

“All owners of Eastern Bloc classics, whether on two, four or more wheels, are welcome to take part, in Helensburgh or in Bath.”

The Wartburg Trabant IFA Club is proud to be a member of the FBHVC, which fights for our freedom to use old and classic vehicles on the UK’s roads.

* Head to  Facebook for more details of the two Drive It Day events.

21 January 2019


Dates confirmed for Club’s 2019 flagship weekend meets

Peek behind the scenes at the Morgan factory, tackle the famous Prescott Speed Hill Climb, delve deep below the Wakefield countryside, and enjoy road runs, steam trains, beer, and camping with like-minded enthusiasts – just a few of the reasons to put the Club’s two premier 2019 weekend meets in your diary!

The Club has confirmed that the 2019 Eastern Bloc Vehicle Weekend will take place from 10 to 12 May in and around the medieval market town of Tewkesbury.

The weekend will include the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Morgan Motor Company, where the iconic British brand’s three and four-wheel sports cars are still built by hand, and a visit to the Prescott Speed Hill Climb, where the Club has been invited to ‘cavalcade’ on the famous course. Participants on the weekend will also be able to display their vehicles for the public to admire at the historic Gloucester Docks.

After several successful years at Foxfield, the Iron Curtain Vehicle Weekend is heading to a new venue in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales for 2019.

From 19th to 21 July the Club will be based at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, near Skipton, North Yorkshire. A packed programme of adventure and exploration includes the chance to go underground at England’s National Coal Mining Museum on Friday, and one of the Club’s legendary road runs on Saturday, climbing up to Hawes, England’s highest market town (and home to Wensleydale cheese. Cracking!)

Members and supporters are equally welcome, and the Club invites all  Eastern Bloc classic vehicles, whether on two wheels, three, four – or more! Participants are welcome to join in for all or any part of either weekend event.

Visit the Club’s events page for full details of these and other IFA Club events.

13 January 2019






Chocks away for IFA Club’s half-century at Bicester Sunday Scramble

The Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK launched its 50th anniversary year in traditional style with tea and cake at the first Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble of 2019.

Appropriately dressed for the weather in an authentic Soviet fur hat, Club Chairman Mel Holley cut the birthday cake and welcomed members and enthusiasts to the Club’s pitch with an offer of tea, coffee or hot cocoa.

Among the IFA vehicles making their debut on the Club display were a rat-rod style Trabant Kombi 1.1 well-known on the VW scene, and a pair of restored MZ motorcycles. The heavily-modified Wabant which drew the crowds at the 2018 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show proved equally popular at the Oxfordshire airfield.

Mel said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better launch venue for our 50th anniversary year than the Bicester Sunday Scramble.

“Like Bicester, the IFA Club takes pride in our heritage but is determined to make classic motoring relevant and accessible to today’s motoring and motorcycling fans.

“The youngest Trabant owner on our stand this weekend was just twenty, driving a car that was already ten years old when he was born. It was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome him to the launch, and we hope that our packed programme of anniversary events will give many more Eastern Bloc vehicle owners – of all vintages – an opportunity to join in.”

7 January 2019

Bring Christmas Home – with a Trabant!

Club members have been enjoying the advert breaks a bit more than usual this Christmas thanks to Asda’s ‘Bring Christmas Home’ campaign.

Launched onto the small screen on 2 November, the 60-second ad starts with  Santa sending a flaming Christmas pudding into the air to summon a Christmas convoy of skiers, Santas on motor bikes, cowboys riding Christmas trees and – most importantly! – Trabant-driving Yetis – to pour down a snowy mountain laden with Asda festive goodies.

Asda’s Chief Customer Officer Andy Murray said: “We really wanted to hone in on a universal feeling about Christmas that people could relate to. The one thing we all kept coming back to was the sense of excitement that comes from preparing to bring your nearest and dearest together, how crazy and chaotic it can feel, but ultimately how all the effort results in something wonderful when you bring Christmas home.’

The ad was created by Caio Giannella and Diego de Oliveira of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO,  and directed by Agustín Alberdi from the Stink production company.

We have reached out to Stink to ask where the inspiration for the Trabant came from but they are so far keeping their cards close to their chest. Maybe Agustín is a secret two-stroke fan!

  • watch more behind-the-scenes footage here.


A Minor infringement?

The motoring press had a bit of a giggle this week with a stats-based press release from insurance comparison site Money Supermarket.

The firm looked at more than six million car insurance quotes run on the MoneySuperMarket website over the last 12 months (1st November 2017 to 31st October 2018) and found that  Hereford is the UK’s drink and drug-driving hotspot.

Money Supermarket also revealed that the car most likely to be owned by a drink or drug-driver was a Morris Minor. Which seemed…surprising.

We asked the firm whether the Trabant or the Wartburg was on the list and it seems that you are all a well-behaved bunch. The top ten, according to Money SuperMarket, is:-

1.       Morris

2.       MG

3.       Austin

4.       Isuzu

5.       Opel

6.       Vauxhall

7.       Dodge

8.       Renault

9.       Saab

10.   Alfa Romeo

There’s a serious message behind the release, of course, which is to remind us all that as Christmas parties and other social events start to pack the calendar, it’s really important to take steps to avoid driving while over the limit.

Emma Garland, data scientist at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Drink or drug driving can be damaging not only to your licence, but also to yourself and others – so if you are doubting your sobriety, don’t put yourself or others at risk by driving, even if it seems like an inconvenience at the time.”

9 December 2018

East Germany comes to Cheshire

The University of Chester and the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK teamed up to bring an experience of life in East Germany to Cheshire.

Eight IFA vehicles, from a Barkas B1000 van fresh from the Club stand at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, to the last East German Military Police staff car still on the road, arrived at the University of Chester’s Kingsway Campus to support the Totally East: Life in East Germany exhibition of documentary photographs by Harald Hauswald.

The exhibition was organised by the University of Chester’s Department of Modern Languages and Department of Art and Design.

Dr Richard Millington, Programme Leader in German at the University of Chester, said: “The presence of the IFA Club UK and their vehicles at the exhibition really added an extra level of authenticity to the day. The visitors to the exhibition were really enthused by the photographs and the cars, and I’m very grateful to the members of the Club for coming to Chester and helping to make the day a great success.”

University of Chester Modern Languages undergraduate Austen Lowe seized the opportunity to tour the local streets in IFA Club Chairman Mel Holley’s Trabant 601.

Austen said: “The exhibition gave a true insight into life behind the Iron Curtain, while the IFA Club’s presence made the event so authentic and fascinating.

“As a student researching East German identity and nostalgia, I found the event completely refreshing. Having joined the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club, I cannot wait for similar events in the future and thank all members who have made me feel so welcome.”

IFA Club Chairman Mel Holley said: “Club members found these unique photographs depicting everyday life in East Germany absolutely fascinating, and we really enjoyed the opportunity to chat about our cars and the Club with Chester students and residents.

“We’re very grateful for the invitation to support the event and hope we really added to people’s enjoyment on the day.”

The exhibition was also attended by Ian Sanders, the creator of the popular Cold War Conversations podcast. Ian interviewed Richard, Austen, and several IFA Club members for his latest episode.

24 November 2018



Kenton’s our winner!

Gainsborough-based car enthusiast Kenton Rose enjoyed a day out at the UK’s premier classic car show as a VIP guest of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK, the club for people who appreciate the eclectic cars of the former Eastern Bloc.

Kenton won the Club’s online competition for a pair of tickets to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2018 and started his day at the NEC with a visit to the Club’s Berlin Wall-themed stand.

“I’m into all the Eastern European cars,” Kenton said. “I’ve always been a fan of Skodas – my granddad had one years ago, and then I grew up round them with the family. At one point I had 17. I’ve had Ladas, FSOs – I can honestly say that I’ve had over 100 cars.”

Kenton owned a Wartburg Knight years ago and says that he would love a Trabi but at more than 6 foot tall he doubts he would fit behind the wheel.

His dream Eastern Bloc car would be a Tatra 603, the luxury car reserved for senior party officials and factory owners in communist Czechoslovakia.

Kenton works as a coach driver but over the last decade has built up a thriving photography business, concentrating on cars and aviation. He also enjoys retro caravanning and owns a 1983 Kip Kompakt lightweight ‘van which he rescued from a hedge in Grimsby and is renovating over the winter.

Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK Chairman Mel Holley said: “We were delighted to meet Kenton, who is a real enthusiast for Eastern Bloc motoring.”

12 November 2018

Your chance to meet writer David Young

Friend of the Club and owner of a Wartburg 353 in Volkspolizei livery, author David Young will be in conversation with Cold War expert Dr Richard Millington during this year’s Chester Literature Festival.

David will be speaking about his Stasi Child series and the in-depth research he carries out to explore the real-life stories that inspire his books.

Stasi Child, the first in the series featuring  Oberleutnant Karin Muller, was a  Times Crime Book of the Month and a Telegraph Pick of the Week, as well as winning  the 2016 CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger for best historical crime novel. Muller’s story continues in  Stasi Wolf and A Darker State. The fourth in the series, Stasi 77, is expected in early 2019.

Follow David on Twitter (@djy_writer) for more about his novels, and his Wartburg!

* David and Richard will be in conversation on Thursday 15 November at 6pm. The event is free but tickets need to be booked.


Competition time – Win tickets to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2018!

The UK’s largest classic car and motorcycle show returns to the NEC this year bigger and better than ever, taking over a whole extra hall to offer visitors the world’s biggest gathering of classic car clubs – including the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK.

With more than 2,500 classic vehicles on show and 300 car clubs, it’s a fantastic day out – and the Club is giving away one pair of tickets for Saturday entry.

To enter the draw for a pair of tickets to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2018, head on over to the Club’s Facebook or Twitter pages and follow the instructions!

The competition closes on Wednesday 31 October. Good luck!

The small print:-

1. The prize draw is available to people 18 years of age and over. Proof of age may be required. Committee members of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK Club or immediate family of Committee members of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK and parties professionally associated with the promotion may not enter this promotion.
2. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions and agreed to be bound by them when entering the Promotion.
3. You can enter the prize draw via the Club Facebook page or the Club Twitter page
4. Closing date: All entries must be received by 11.59pm 31 October 2018.
5. One winner will be selected at random, after this date from all complete entries received before the closing date.
6. The winner will be notified by Facebook Messanger or Twitter DM after the closing date.
7. The Prize is 2 adult tickets for Saturday entry to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2018.
8. The prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives in place of the prize.
9. The Promoter reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time.
10. If the chosen winner is not able, for whatever reason, to accept a prize, or cannot be contacted within 7 days of the draw date, the Promoter reserves the right to award the prize to another entrant.
11. No correspondence will be entered into. Entries that do not comply in full with these entry rules and conditions will be disqualified.
12. Entry to the draw is free and it is not necessary to be a member of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK to win. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules.
13. The winner agrees to allow the Promoter to use their name and likeness for a news story publicising their success.
14. The protection of personal privacy is an important concern to the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK. Any personal data collected will be treated in accordance with current data protection legislation. We will use your personal data for the administration of the competition. We will not share personal data provided with third parties. For more information about our data protection policy please go to

Deutschland 86 premieres in Berlin

An instagram post from Jonas Nay teasing that he was “Getting dressed at @ladage.oelke for the premiere of DEUTSCHLAND 86 in Berlin tomorrow” set more than a few Club members’ hearts racing.

Cold War drama Deutschland 83 was hugely popular with Club members, not only for its gripping plot featuring Nay as ‘Hummingbird’, border guard turned undercover agent, but also for the many Eastern Bloc cars available to spot throughout the series.

Deutschland 86 catches up with Martin Rauch, his aunt Lenora and their HVA comrades three years after the end of Deutschland 83. Martin is recalled from exile in Africa and sent back into the field, with missions taking him to South Africa, Angola, Libya, Paris, West Berlin and finally back to the GDR.

The ten new episodes will be shown exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, beginning in Germany on October 19, 2018. The show will make its US debut  on Sundance TV  on 25th October, and is expected to air in the UK in the new year.

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