Barkas B1000 – The East German Kombi

14 04 2018

The Barkas B1000 was the East German answer to the West German Volkswagen bus. It was built from 1961 till 1991, just after the end of the German Democratic Republic, so similarly long as the T1 and T2 kombis (built in West Germany from 1950 to 1979). With the round overall body shape, the sliding door on the right side and the round head lights it comes with a similar face and set up as the T2 bay window bus. In contrast to the VW buses of the time it came with front wheel drive and had the engine in the front which (as the English Wikipedia entry points out) made it easier to load and allowed more body configurations. For most of its production the engine was a 45 horsepower three cylinder, two stroke motor. Amazingly, the overall production numbers over 30 years were just below 180.000, whereas the VW T1 split-window bus was manufactured 1.5 million times (1950-1967), followed by 3.3 million T2 bay window buses (1967-1979). Nowadays, 27 years after the end of production, these Barkas buses have become a rare view on the road. I stumbled over the one below in Berlin in Dec 2017. Good to see that some of them are being kept alive!

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3 responses

20 04 2018
ewdb92

Wow, that’s a cool looking van! Kind of looks like a cross between a VW bus and corvair van. Are they common?

21 04 2018
campervancrazy

Not anymore, nowadays. Back then when East Germany still existed, I guess this was the only van type on the market, so they were everywhere.

24 04 2018
ewdb92

I’m surprised then that more haven’t survived, but perhaps there was little interest in East German cars. Poor quality perhaps? Thanks for the reply.

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