Sunday, June 28, 2015

5k: Barkas Worse Than Bite? 1980 Barkas B1000 Dropside Pickup

Barkas was an East German manufacturer of oddly sour-puss looking delivery vans and minibuses starting sometime after the war.   The B1000 van (also available as a pickup truck) was powered by a 3-cylinder two-stroke engine derived from a DKW (Dampf-Kraft-Wagen -- now part of Auto Union...errr...Audi) design, but later versions get a Volkswagen flat-4.  Find this 1980 Barkas B1000 Dropside Pickup here on eBay bidding fo $4,425 reserve-not-met with a few hours to go, located in Northbrook, IL.

This Barkas looks in great shape for a relic from behind the iron curtain, and is pleasantly free of an iron oxide curtains.  The seller states that it was restored a few years ago in Germany, and the original 1.3 liter Volkswagen engine was replaced with a 1.6 liter upgrade.  Either should be considerably better than the 3-cylinder oil burner that early cars had, but don't expect to win any drag races against toddlers on tricycles....especially since most of those little punks are doping these days.

The interior shows one of the cooler features of the Barkas, a 19 inch long shift lever that reaches back to the mid mounted transmission (engine is mounted under your rear and powers the front wheels).  Shifting should be strange but fun once you get used to the pattern -- just think of it like driving an early 911 backwards.  

See a cooler car for a Home Depot run?


  1. "See a cooler car for a Home Depot run?" - nope, and not sure i ever will - the paint, the shifter, the side-opening bed - Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Elch!

  2. "... but later versions get a Volkswagen flat-4". Should read "inline 4".

  3. I'd like to see more drop sided pickups in the world. It seems so practical, having a huge flat bed with sides that drop down for easy loading. In the one picture where it shows two spare tires underneath the bed seems like a good place for a ginormous tool drawer or some ramps that'd be very handy, lockable, and not in the way of the cargo area. The van front would seem to be effective at reducing the overall length of the car, making it easier to park. That's something else it'd be nice to see in a pickup.

    Also, the vin starts with a "1" which I always thought meant "made in the USA"

    1. 17 digit VINs as we know them today were introduced for the 1981 model year. This pickup is listed as a 1980...coincidentally? Lots of gray market / kit / otherwise quasi-legal vehicles end up listed as 1980 model year on ebay.


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