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!



A Chevrolet Vintage Bus Inspired by the Kombi

6 04 2013

Look what I found yesterday when I dropped off the little one at kindergarten: A Greenbrier Sportswagon by Chevrolet, apparently built between 1961 and 1965. So this baby is already fifty years old! There is also a Facebook page for this car. The layout follows the Volkswagen bus of the time: Driver’s seat above the front axle, and an air-cooled engine in the rear. Though this one came with a 2,375 cc (80 h.p.) six-cylinder engine instead of the smaller four-cylinder boxer engines in the Volkswagen buses. The interior looks similarly basic as the split-window buses. Minimalist dashboard and interior. No sliding door but a double door on the passenger side. Wikipedia mentions a camper option, but this model here seems to be a microbus version. With the heat damage on the paint on the front I assume it was only recently imported from somewhere hot in the US. Also extra lights and reflectors added on the back to pass German vehicle inspection. It is now based in Berlin and registered as a historical vehicle (H registration). There are some more photos on my Flickr fotostream. Great that someone keeps this unusual vehicle alive!