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  • Barkas van

    Phoenix is rust free, so it's a good place to find old cars (and aircraft), preserved by the dry climate. When I spotted this van today, I had no clue what it was. It bore no insignia. I asked inside the auto shop -- they said it was a Barkas, and that it was German. I got the idea it had been sitting in the lot longer than anybody could remember.

    It's a Barkas B1000 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barkas_(van_manufacturer). I'll be surprised if anybody here has had a ride in one, but you never know. Looks less top-heavy than a Commer, at least.

    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    I remember seeing plenty of them in the Czech Republic.

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    • #3
      Might be a cool project to convert to electric!
      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
      USA Maryland 21030

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      • #4
        How the hell did it wind up in Phoenix?

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        • #5
          I've ridden in one several times and driven it many too. A late friend had one and only 10 years ago used it for his 2000mile honeymoon trip.

          Good going in a 1 litre two stroke that was close to 40 years old at the time.

          Over on the UK it was a rare sight, he worked with his dad who also used a B1000 as company transport for their church clock restoration business. Their party trick was getting the driver to shuffle down low in the drivers seat while the passenger read the paper.
          To passing motorists it looked as plain as day that the driver was reading the paper and not watching the road .(we're used to right handed drive vehicles). He had so many great stories of journies made in East German vehicles all over the UK and Europe.





          Sent from my D5803 using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            I remember seeing VW beetles and buses in the Phoenix area and talking to local guys and them saying “oh,that one is really rough” and I’m thinking “it’s not rusted up to the quarter windows, that thing it minty fresh.”

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            • #7
              The East German Barkas vans etc, Wartburg and of course Trabant cars seemed to be everywhere in Czech Republic just after the Velvet Revolution but in a few years they seemed mostly gone.

              There the roads were filled with interesting vehicles in the '90's, not just the East German cars but also Tatra cars trucks, Praga trucks, Karosa buses, Zetor tractors and of course such gems as the Velorex 'cycle cars' and the very comprehensive range of Skoda road and rail vehicles.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CarlByrns View Post
                How the hell did it wind up in Phoenix?
                I drove by this morning, but the nameless auto shop was closed for the weekend. I can't call -- the building is as unmarked as the van. You can prowl around the neighborhood here: https://goo.gl/maps/so8UD2wWVML2.
                Allan Ostling

                Phoenix, Arizona

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                • #9
                  I assume that in the US as elsewhere there were a number of ambitious folks who imported one or two vehicles from Eastern Block countries hoping there was a market to be exploited. Embassies and diplomatic missions are also potential routes for foreign and unknown marques to get on to the roads.
                  Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 01-06-2018, 04:28 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Artful Bodger View Post
                    I assume that in the US as elsewhere there were a number of ambitious folks who imported one or two vehicles from Eastern Block countries hoping there was a market to be exploited. Embassies and diplomatic missions are also potential routes for foreign and unknown marques to get on to the roads.
                    It's not that simple. Car & Driver brought a Trabant to the US and had to promise-under-penalty-of-prosecution not to start the engine ( called by the Environmental Protection Agency 'a gross polluter').

                    In the 1990's some so-called 'gray market' non-US spec cars were imported- mostly BMW's and Benz's- but (in New York, anyway) they were impossible to trade in to a dealer because they were non-spec. As used cars banks wouldn't finance them and insurance was expensive- if you could get it.
                    The gray market process was expensive, so the cars tended to be Big Iron- not many people wanted to pay $50K for a 2CV (but there's always a few!).

                    That Barkas must have an interesting history.
                    Last edited by CarlByrns; 01-06-2018, 08:47 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CarlByrns View Post

                      That Barkas must have an interesting history.
                      I will try to find it out when the shop opens on Monday.
                      Allan Ostling

                      Phoenix, Arizona

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by aostling View Post
                        I drove by this morning, but the nameless auto shop was closed for the weekend. I can't call -- the building is as unmarked as the van. You can prowl around the neighborhood here: https://goo.gl/maps/so8UD2wWVML2.
                        Backing off from the street view, I get the name of the building occupant as "G Collection" with a link to a web site: http://www.gcollectioncars.com/about.html Looks like this could be an interesting and very eccentric place if they are still in business. Click on the three horizontal bars at the upper left of the page to view additional pages on that web site.
                        Last edited by tom_d; 01-06-2018, 10:35 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CarlByrns View Post
                          It's not that simple. Car & Driver brought a Trabant to the US and had to promise-under-penalty-of-prosecution not to start the engine ( called by the Environmental Protection Agency 'a gross polluter').
                          None the less I believe there are a number of Trabbies on the roads of the USA.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tom_d View Post
                            Backing off from the street view, I get the name of the building occupant as "G Collection" with a link to a web site: http://www.gcollectioncars.com/about.html Looks like this could be an interesting and very eccentric place if they are still in business. Click on the three horizontal bars at the upper left of the page to view additional pages on that web site.
                            I confess to being amazed.

                            The "G Collection" is, as you noted, not a physical sign, but a virtual I.D. provided by Google Maps -- it is depicted on the roof of the featureless building. The website data has a phone number which I will call on Monday.

                            I'd love to see the inside, too, once I get caught up with post-Christmas chores.
                            Allan Ostling

                            Phoenix, Arizona

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                            • #15
                              Knowing now that this building is a clandestine museum makes sense of what I saw in the yard. This Mercedes bus, like the Barkas, may be awaiting shipments of parts (from Europe?), to eventually go on display.

                              The Gauthier Racing sign is on a haulage trailer. I'd noted that before but did not know about its connection to the proprietor.


                              Last edited by aostling; 01-07-2018, 12:19 AM.
                              Allan Ostling

                              Phoenix, Arizona

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