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 https://wp.ifaclub.co.uk/privacy-policy/

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.

Read more: http://www.ufa-fiction.de/projekte/serie/deutschland-86/

Say hello at the Show!

November sees the Club returning to the NEC for the hugely popular Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – more than one million square feet of cars, autojumble, clubs and trade stands.

Among the 3,000 cars on show will be a selection of our much-loved Eastern Bloc classics taking pride of place on the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club stand.

As well as the Club Chairman’s Wartburg 353, van fans will be able to see a very unusual Barkas B1000 which is brand-new in the UK, sourced with the help of Hungarian IFA enthusiasts.

This Barkas spent its first ten years in the DDR, then in Reunified Germany, before being taken to Hungary where it was used by a Skoda Car Parts business for events. Ten years ago an IFA enthusiast brought it to use at club runs and drive outs until she decided to sell it to its new UK owner.

Also on the stand the Club will be displaying a 1.3 Wartburg Tourist.  This rare model was brought to the UK some years ago but never registered. ‘Mr White’ joins ‘Mr Grey’ in the collection of Club member Ivor Burgess.

IFA vehicles in DDR livery always attract attention and the Club will be showing a Trabant Kombi in Interflug colours, created as a tribute to the hardworking Trabis at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport.

It’s still to be confirmed, but the Club also hopes that the stand will feature a Wabant – a Trabant with a Wartburg engine.

Visit the Club in Hall 5, stand 140.

The show runs from 10am on Friday 9 November 2018 to 5.30pm on Sunday 11th.



Club AGM coming soon

The Club’s AGM will be held during the 2018 Red Oktober meet, taking place this year at the Wythall Transport Museum on  Saturday 6 October.

As well as the AGM, the meet includes a Cold War classic road run and a special vintage bus trip around the local area.

The AGM’s formal business includes reports from the committee and a chance for members to ask any Club-related questions.

There will also be a discussion about how best to celebrate the Club’s 50th anniversary next year.

All members are welcome to attend.


Totally East – University of Chester hosts unique photo exhibition

A unique exhibition capturing  life in East Germany before the wall came down is coming to the University of Chester in November.

The photographs were taken by Harald Hauswald, who documented everyday life in Berlin, and selected by Stefan Wolle, director of the GDR Museum in Berlin.

Hauswald trained as a photographer in Dresden and moved to East Berlin in 1978. In the eighties, he took photographs of the life he saw around him – “things that other photographers overlooked or regarded as uninteresting: scenes of everyday life, lonely and elderly people, couples in love, rockers, hooligans and young people in churches standing up for peace and environmental protection.  In East Germany, he did not receive any art award for this, but gotinto trouble with the authorities.”

Hauswald often came under scrutiny from the Stasi  and the GDR government, especially in 1987 when he published a collection of his work in the West, with fellow photographer Lutz Rathenow.

A Stasi critique of the book was part of the  1,500 page file they complied on Hauswald, commenting on the project as a whole and on each photo in the book:

The idea is to present the capital of the GDR not as it is, but according to the ideas of circles hostile to its constitution. The authorship of two young men from within opposition or dissident groups is intended to create a pretense of knowledge and “objectivity”… All stylistic means of an image-based and emotional language are used to mix impressions, memories, real, invented, made up or lying stories into a hodgepodge of half truths and slander, presented to the reader as reality.”

    • Totally East: Life in East Germany will be on show from Tuesday 13th November to Thursday 22 November in the Foyer Gallery, Kingsway Campus.
    • Read more about Harald and his work in this interview with Deutsche Welle.
    • The Club hopes to arrange a group visit to the exhibition on Saturday 17th November. Please visit the Facebook group for more details and to sign up.