Spotted: Two Commie cars in London
I guess it's not everyday that one can spot two East German cars in a row in the very heart of Central London, but I happened to stumble onto two of these dapper Germans right there. There they were, in a rather tatty condition, the blue one a Trabant and the other one a rather less obiquitous Wartburg 353 Tourist. It made for a great contrast with the hugely expensive red-brick mansion blocks just behind it (FYI you probably can't even get a 1 bedroom property there for under £500,000). I wonder who's the owner of the cars, does he live there? It did say resident permit holders only on the parking sign, so I guess the owner is one and the same person. So who could it be, someone rich to live there and mad enough to drive around in these cars, a banker with a great sense of humour perhaps? A rich marxist? Some dazed university professor (this bit of London happens to be riddled riddled with universities)? A former East German ambassador? Well, I guess we'll never know. Though, do enjoy the photos (that I sadly had to take with my awful camera phone).
Look at the Wartburg 353 Tourist in particular, it has been a favourite of mine for some time now. The functional, yet somehow very interesting exterior got me thinking again about the lack of elegantly functional cars produced in West-Germany at the same time. I can't help thinking that these East-Germans were actually getting onto something with their Wartburgs and design-wise way ahead of Volkswagen & Co. Look at it this way; the way it was designed somehow has a lot of similarities with the innovative 1970s product range of Braun, the German electronics company. Yes, bear with me on this, perhaps you can't see it, but I can, this Wartburg is like a Braun hairdryer, with a simple yet elegant exterior design, both made almost entirely from plastic. Go on, do a google and see for yourself.
You see; Wartburg - Braun hairdryer? No? Well it might look more like a Lada really, sounds like a broken hairdryer though..
What is there to say about this one..