In the late 1950s, they still had high hopes for the future at VEB Barkas-Werke. The obsolete V 901/2 has been replaced by an internationally outstanding successor model within the framework of a well-thought-out and precisely implemented concept. The idea of the East Germans was to standardize vehicles of different sizes for different tasks as much as possible, to require as few different parts as possible, which also reduces development, production and maintenance costs, which can only benefit the manufacturer and the customer.
The forward-looking idea has been successfully implemented. Manufactured from the summer of 1961, many parts of the new B1000 were identical to the Wartburg 311, with the 3-cylinder, two-stroke engine’s intake manifold and exhaust system modified from 900 to 992 cc in the early stages of the test period, modified to deliver less power juice. The gearbox, which is connected to the engine accessible between the first two seats, was next to the bone-colored steering wheel from Wartburg, but was replaced by a self-supporting steel body, independent front and rear suspension and torsion springs instead of a chassis. Because it was front-wheel drive, the mechanical elements fit in the nose, which increased the load capacity, the size of the cargo area, and also reduced the height of the loading ledge. Of the Western competitors, only Citroën HY could boast a similar structure!
As its name suggests, the initially 42-horsepower B1000 was capable of handling 1 tonne, was capable of a top speed of 95 km / h, and consumed between 10.5 and 14.5 liters of the 1:33 mixture, depending on whether 500 or 1000 kg and was driven on flat or even hilly roads. At that time, environmental protection was not an important aspect, no special attention was paid to the emissions of the two-stroke engine, the simple design meant fewer parts, and it was generally considered reliable. All of this was packaged in a body that was also considered modern at the time, which was eventually an integral part of the street scene for 40 years, so it took another two decades for our eyes to look beautiful again.
However, he was still in a sensational number in 1961, when the first specimen arrived from Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz) to Budapest. In the October 15, 1961 issue of our paper, we wrote about the East German novelty: “… the mechanics of the factory were now traveling with him to Hungary to visit the car repair shops in the capital and in the countryside.” The novelty was unveiled to the public at the Leipzig Fair in 1962, which was continuously developed in the following years. In addition to the original, 6 m³ capacity closed cargo carrier, it had a round window version for 5 or 8 people, and from 1965 it was also made as a flatbed van. The latter has been available since 1964 with a dual-circuit braking system, modified cooling system and heating, more comfortable seats and a floor changer. The interesting thing about the structure is that the arm built next to the driver protruded from behind, as usual. At that time, the Fire Department and the ambulance service had already deployed Bark, these designs were given a more powerful electrical system to supply various extra consumers such as flashing, sirens and auxiliary heating.
At that time, there was still lively development work in the GDR car factories, so its four-stroke development began in 1968, which was eventually not realized due to the political conflicts and economic difficulties of the time, and instead increased its two-stroke power to 45 horsepower from 1971. An increasing number of practical and durable B1000s have been exported to the CMEA countries, so it is not surprising that at the end of the decade, more than 20,000 people worked at VEB Barkas Werk. The advantage proudly proclaimed at the time could only have been maintained if development had not slowed down by the 1970s, so the driver’s seat belt on the series had to wait until 1975 and the passenger side until 1978. After a while, the modernization was almost exhausted by replacing smaller or larger parts the same as the Wartburg 353. All this did not avenge itself until the collapse of the non-market-based system, the party leadership, the factory management and the people working there were happy together in 1980 to produce the 100,000th Barkas. In 1983, the design was updated with some new exterior elements, new bumpers, mirrors and rims, fog lamps became standard equipment, an 11-person military version was introduced, and a raised-roof ambulance used in the GDR was completed.
As the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the socialist system approached, the four-stroke project was launched at the last minute, with the B1000-1, built in the fall of 1989, receiving a 1.3-liter engine licensed from Volkswagen. Although, like Wartburg, attempts were made to modernize the Bark with plastic elements, with the exception of a few prototypes, the last 1,900 specimens were said goodbye in 1991 with the classic look. Most of the specimens that survived the 90s spend their retirement years with brand lovers and, restored to glitter, preserve the memory of an era.
BARKAS IN HUNGARY
Of the 175,740 units produced, a significant quantity arrived in Hungary, similarly to other vehicles of the Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau (IFA). Of the B1000s operating at various state-owned companies, the fleet serving Posta and Malév is memorable, and even lunch was delivered to public institutions by Barkas in the early 1990s. Although it was used as an ambulance only on an experimental basis at home, in the colors of the Komárom Car Repair Company, it often helped distressed motorists with a car ambulance structure. Although experimented with in the factory, the Ministry of Metallurgy and Mechanical Engineering, together with the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development, built 10 electric-powered Barks in 1973. Due to the 22 kWh battery, the load capacity of Elektro Barkas, which weighed 2,700 kg instead of 1,200, was reduced to 500 kg, able to cover 50-80 km on a single charge, and reach a top speed of 55 km / h with a 17-horsepower electric motor. Although this would have been enough in the Posta bond, they only used the prototypes for a few years due to their high maintenance costs.
Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.
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