Blame the virus – what should have been our final main event of the year turned out to be the first!
We returned to the ever-popular Peak District and the National Tramway Museum, Crich. Many memorable Red Oktober meets were held here until the Museum moved away from such events – well we were back albeit, at Museum request, without military re-enactors.
As with all IFA Club events, all vehicles with an Eastern Bloc pedigree were welcome. As well as the Trabants and Wartburgs (and a bicycle!) from IFA, Eastern Bloc manufacturers represented included Skoda, Yugo, FSO Polonez, MZ, Jawa and Moskwich. We were especially pleased to welcome several DKW vehicles with which our IFA vehicles share a mechanical pedigree.
Photos below, in mostly random order, give a taster of the day. Thanks to Lorraine Clutterbuck, Reg Tubby, John Killick, Dave Richards and Fendy Photography for sharing photos.
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:-
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.”
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 members spent a rainy Saturday afternoon helping turn a Coventry back road into a Berlin border crossing for a music video starring the Club’s own Elizabeth Sayle and Ivor Burgess.
Elizabeth plays the eponymous heroine of a track called “Russian Spy” by Coventry band Eyes of Isabel.
She explains: “We went to Cars and Coffee at Coventry Transport Museum one Saturday morning and Andy McGeechan (the director) came up to me and started chatting as soon as he saw the Wartburg. We were chatting about our shared experiences of Berlin as students – he’s older than me so was lucky enough to experience it before the wall.
“We became friends on Facebook and he sent me photos of his time there and then asked if I wanted to feature in his video – he has teamed up with local group ‘Eyes of Isabel’ to make their videos!”
Elizabeth plays a spy who meets a sticky end, while on Saturday Ivor was a stern-faced border guard, checking her passport as she crossed from West to East watched from a distance by ‘Eyes,’ her minder.
Robert Cannon and Alex Cheasley brought Margot the Trabant to help create the illusion, while Hortense the 2CV lurked on the Western side of the crossing.
Members as interested in the history of the DDR as they are in the best oil ratio or the advantages of electronic ignition should tune in to Yesterday tomorrow for the latest epsiode in Jamie Theakston’s Fobidden History series.
In The Stasi: Behind the Berlin Wall, Theakston will look “behind the hidden remnants of this notorious symbol of division to tell the story of East Germany’s State Security Service.”
Forbidden History is an original commission by UKTV and promises to uncover “the startling truth behind great myths, historical legends, conspiracy theories, ancient treasures, lost civilisations and war time secrets.”
The Stasi: Behind the Berlin Wall will air at 8pm on Thursday 26 July.
New Trabant owner Matthew Adams got more than he’d bargained for when he posted a photo of his 1984 601 s on the Supporters of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK Facebook page for members to admire.
Club guru Peter Frost was able to tell him that the car was one of the first brought to the UK after the wall came down in 1990 and had been imported by The Sun as a prize in a readers’ competition to “win the world’s worst car”.
Peter knew this because he’d bought the car from the winner!
Both Peter and Matthew were featured in today’s edition of the paper, with a longer write-up on line.
Matthew told The Sun: “I like to think of it as an underdog. I have driven it a few times and it is like being in an armchair on top of a lawnmower.”