Ukraine classic car display supports humanitarian efforts
A classic car built in the currently under-siege Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya on the Dnieper River, forms the centre of a display this weekend to help the country’s humanitarian efforts.
Built by car firm Zaporozhets, the 968A on display in Birmingham is, one of only five on UK roads. It is starring at the Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC, Birmingham, this weekend (18-20 March).
Newly-restored after being off the road for more than a decade, the 1974-built car is a rare survivor of the model built in the ZAZ factory in Zaporizhzhia from 1971-1979, and nicknamed ‘Zapo’ by Ukrainians.
Says Event Organiser of the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club, Richard Hemington: “We are shocked and appalled by the tragic events in Ukraine. The conflict and humanitarian crisis is causing unspeakable suffering to innocent people.
“The club professes no political affiliations, but welcomes all who have an interest in the technical pedigree of the eclectic vehicles produced in former Eastern Bloc countries.
“The club does not celebrate nor share the politics of those regimes, and acknowledges the suffering that many people endured under them.
“We had planned our display last year, before the war, but being moved by events in Ukraine we are encouraging support of the appeal by the UK’s pan-agency Disasters Emergency Committee providing humanitarian relief.
“We are encouraging visitors to join with us in making a donation to the DEC.”
For a number of weeks club members have been helping humanitarian efforts, including driving medical, food and blankets to the border, where they have witnessed shocking scenes.
One club member – David Fricker – is leading the ‘Teddy Bear Express’ to bring joy to children displaced by the bombing.
Until the dismantling of the USSR in 1990, the rear-engined ZAZ 968A was the equivalent of the Trabant or Citroen 2CV as the ‘people’s car’ of the eastern bloc.
The rear-engined V4 air-cooled design launched in 1960 as a ‘super mini’ city car and in 1962 underwent a major revision to become the second-generation ZAZ 968A which stayed in production until 1979. The final generation of the car with more modern styling, the ZAZ 968M, was built until 1994.
The IFA Club is the home of eastern bloc classics and its members have vehicles covering a remarkable 41 makes, produced before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Founded in 1969 as the Wartburg Owners Club, after 1989 when other eastern bloc vehicles became available, it expanded its remit.
Everyone is welcome to join, whether they have a vehicle or not. The club also produces a regular newsletter and has various member discount schemes.
Details at www.ifaclub.co.uk
About the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club UK
The club is the UK home of eastern bloc classics, and the UK’s only ‘real’ club (rather than a Facebook site) catering purely for all classic vehicles from all Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War era.
Founded in 1969, we support everyone interested in ALL vehicle makes and types -cars, vans, trucks, motorbikes and mopeds - from former ‘iron curtain’ Soviet and Eastern bloc countries.
We also work with the three UK-based motorcycle clubs for the period (Cossack Owners Club, Jawa CZ Owners Club, MZ Riders Club), plus the Škoda and DKW clubs and welcome each other at our events.
In total, 300 club members own 376 Eastern Bloc vehicles from a total of 41 different manufacturers - a remarkable spread. The full list of vehicle makes/brands owned by club members is:
Auto Union (East Germany, pre-war)
Barkas (East Germany)
DKW (East Germany)
IFA (East Germany)
IWL (East Germany)
MZ (East Germany)
QEK (East Germany)
Robur (East Germany)
Simson (East Germany)
Trabant (East Germany)
Wartburg (East Germany)