Trabis mark fall of the Berlin Wall


Almost 100 Trabants descended on the German capital to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event, which included a tour of the city, took place 25 years to the day since the unification of east and west. Dave Richards was there.

It began in a supermarket car park, which was chosen for its proximity to the recently opened 'Ostel', an authentic East German-style hotel.

Organiser Klaus Brinkmann, who has owned his 1965 P60 Camping since 1990, explained: “We wanted to make a real celebration of the cars we love and the reunification of the city that gave them their notoriety.” 

Dominic Russell-Price and partner Christine Blackburn drove their Trabant from Yorkshire to Berlin for the event

As the fume-laden convoy sped off to the West, many onlookers were astonished – and choked – to see the IFA cars head past. The enterprising Marko Strohbach took part in the tour in his 1968 P601 Limousine, complete with six volt electrics, while towing a 1982 IFA QEK Junior Wohn Wagen, or caravan.

Helmut Mann and Dieter Herrmann own a menagerie of DDR vehicles. Here they've re-enacted camouflage and dress uniforms of the hated Border Guards along with a genuine NVA (National People's Army) 1985 Barkas B1000

After proceeding to the Victory Column (in the former British Sector), the cars parked at a large roundabout for a photo call before heading to the place where the world-changing events began, Bornholmer Straße. It was there that the first border post was opened and the exodus to the West began. It's now another supermarket. Shortly thereafter the 100-strong parade of Trabants made a symbolic crossing of the 'Evil Bridge', so-called because of the number of people shot by border guards between 1961-'89. 

1965 P60 Camping of organiser Klaus Brinkmann ready to lead the parade through Berlin

Two enterprising Brits joined the throng: Dominic Russell-Price and partner Christine Blackburn drove their 601 all the way from Yorkshire to Berlin and back, covering more than 2000km in the process. 

“We only had a failed window regulator and exhaust fumes to contend with the whole trip,” he laughed.

Joining the fun was Detlev Hauss with his 1964 Wartburg 311/7 pickup. Only five were made under the control of the DDR

Also battling the Trabant's poor reliability was Essex-based Richard Hemington, who completed the trip without a starter motor. “I just had to get anyone available to bump start it whenever necessary,” he said, before dropping the side curtains of his ex-National People's Army Kubel and heading for home.

Morning stop under the Victory Column, close to the Brandenburg Gate. Marco Strohbach's IFA QEK Junior caravan caused a stir everywhere it went

Essex-based Richard Hemington drove his ex-military Trabant Kubel without a starter motor, all the way from England. We salute you!

Berlin fog had descended by the 3pm finish at the Alexa Shopping Centre in East Berlin, obscuring the Fernsehturm TV tower 



Add your comment

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <br> <img>
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

You must be logged in to comment
Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.