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Wartburg on your Wartburg so you can rally while you rally

Kamil Kaluski April 17, 2012 Caption This 10 Comments

My grandfather-in-law was a man who never met a project that was too big. Giusappe, or Joe, didn’t talk much so when he did, people listened. I don’t recall the details of the conversation anymore but it was something about my inability to complete some project de jour that my wife tasked me with. I will remember for the rest of my life when Joe, at a tender of 100, came up to me and said “if you don’t have the right tool, improvise”

Improvising was perhaps what some East Germans were doing when they needed to transport their rally car to the race. I don’t know the details behind this image, but the 2-stroke Wartburg could not have been much of a competitor to anything more than a Skoda or a Polonez, and it sure as hell wasn’t much of a transport vehicle. Nonetheless, when the pride of a government owned company, and therefore the whole nation, depends on your ability to deliver something that resembles are race car to a race, only the best will do. If the best is not available, you improvise.

[Image: Wikipedia and]

  • Scandinavian Flick

    I am picturing other cars does up like this. Most of them Volvos. (I gotta be me…) Some interesting images going through my head right now…

    It also reminds me of back in the day when I would drool over all the Majorette haulers at the toy store.

    <img src="; width="500"/>

    • FuzzyPlushroom

      I've seen more Saabs with this treatment than Volvos. Must be the ease of lopping a FWD car in half.

      <img src="; width=600>

      Wish I could +1 you again for the Majorette memories. Those were the best $1-ish 1/64-ish cars – proper metal bases, suspension, trailer hitches, working doors…

      • Scandinavian Flick

        Huh, I hadn't even gotten as far in the thought process as to think in terms of feasibility. That does make sense in terms of driveline configuration.

        I always loved Majorete models. Whenever I saw the two hook boxes hanging off the rack in the toy car section, I made a beeline for them. Nothing else compared. One of my favorite that I still have is a Volvo 744 with opening doors and a tow hitch.

  • RichardKopf

    Well, the Last Wartburgs did have a VW powerplant, so there is hope.

  • OA5599
  • Perc

    "… and it sure as hell wasn’t much of a transport vehicle"

    The Barkas B1000 begs to differ. Front drive and powered by the same two-stroke 1000cc 3-pot that the Wartburgs used.

    <img src=";

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    • I've had the good fortune to ride in one of those – an East German TV crew's van. It was a memorable sprint through East Berlin.

  • I wonder how much Castro paid to sponsor that race team.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    I feel a compulsion to renew my search for something like this….

    <img src="; width="425">

  • Sjalabais

    RIchard Kopf is right, you find the picture above and a busload of information on translatable German Wikipedia here:
    The engine is from a VW Polo, a much smaller car. You get more sound and style from the two stroke, though.

    The Barkas vans are really cool! The styling is just lovely, and they were available in countless bodystyles, even carrying tourists or as ambulances:

    <img src=";

    They are quite expensive now: <a href="” target=”_blank”>

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