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Diecast Delights: Barkas B1000 in 1:43

Jay Ramey April 3, 2013 Diecast Delights 10 Comments


Here’s something I’ve noticed about advertisements for 1:43 scale models in magazines: often the scale model advertised will be priced well north of $75.00, and the ad will make a huge fuss about the model possessing a certificate of authenticity. You know, to address the rampant problem of counterfeit scale models of cars. Because at some point in your life you will have to prove to somebody that your very tangible, metal, and heavy 1:18 model of a Lambo Gallardo was not cast, machined, and glued by some guy in his basement in Indiana (thus making it about 26 times more expensive and time consuming to produce by hand). You know what? That would actually be very impressive if someone were to build a one-off metal scale model of a Lambo Gallardo from scratch. I’m betting a jeweler with twenty years of experience may be able to pull it off in 110 hours or so. Imagine how much that “fake” would bring at auction.

And here’s a very detailed model that costs well below $75.00 and is flying out of online stores despite not relying on a framed and matted certificate of authenticity. Or even magazine advertisements, for that matter. This diecast Barkas B1000 in 1:43 is made by IST and usually retails for about $25.00, but can be found for much less if you know where to look. Let’s take a closer look at this beast.


The Barkas B1000 was produced in East Germany for thirty years, starting in 1961. Powered by the two-stroke engine out of the equally underpowered Wartburg, the Barkas served as a small delivery vehicle and minivan, often used by the postal service. A number of other versions existed such as a 2-door pickup truck with a short bed, an ambulance, a fire truck, a box truck, and a route taxi. A ton of these were seen in the 2010 film The Debt as ambulances, postal vans, and MPVs. The Debt was filmed in Hungary, which has become a popular stand-in for Cold War-era locales for film production, and probably has quite a few old Barkases that are still in use.


Private citizens were allowed to buy Barkas vans (which was rare among Eastern Bloc states), and some Barkas vans received engine swaps when their lameness became too unbearable. They were usually fitted with what was lying around, which was often a 4-cylinder out of a Lada. The Barkas is still rather plentiful as a classic car, and for a while in the 1990s various government agencies that got stuck with them practically couldn’t give them away for free. Well, they’re not quite free now, but they’re not exactly expensive either if you want the real thing.

In case you don’t want the real thing, in addition to not wanting to part ways your significant other as a direct and immediate result of purchasing an East German minibus (even disguised with VW badges on magnets), there’s instead this nicely detailed 1:43 scale model for your consideration. The details on this Barkas are amazing, and the model is just as well executed as the ZiL 118 that we took a look at last week.


Once again, the Electro-Bays are the best and easiest place to find these, and you shouldn’t pay more than $25.00 for this green/cream two-tone version. A blue Barkas B1000 made by the same company is also available as a budget version with fewer interior and exterior details, and tends to sell for around $12.00. And with the leftover money you can get a real East German driver’s license on the same eBays and paste your picture into it. Now tell me that’s not better than a certificate of authenticity.

  • Sjalabais

    Nice take on the certificates, it had to be spelled out. I remember these from my childhood, they were everywhere: Police, ambulances, postal vans, plumbers – classic socialist unity. And then there was the "Petermännchen" for tourists:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Petermaennchen,_Schwerin.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • Jay_Ramey

      Yeah, the whole certificate thing is some stateside marketing gimmick, you don't see Minichamps or AutoArt bothering with that at all.

      • Sjalabais

        My monthly motor club magazine is plastered with similar adds. Weirdly, companies offer certificates for scale model cars, coins and dolls. And obviously there is always the chance to save 75, no wait… 90%, on some cutlery. Some business models exclude pride and honesty.

        • Jay_Ramey

          So true, I was gonna mention coins – that's perhaps the most ridick example of this schlocky tactic. But hey, it sells apparently.

  • Goodwin

    Whats up with the decal on the door? Its twisted///

  • wisc47
    • Sjalabais

      …and it is crazy overpriced, especially for a Barkas in this condition!

      • Jay_Ramey

        Yeah, that's at least 2 times the asking price for one over there. But kewl that there's three of them stateside.

      • wisc47

        It may be crazily expensive but considering there are allegedly only 3 in the US, someone with more money than sense will probably buy it and restore it.

  • Nick Barkas

    My last name is Barkas but my father was Greek and I know of no German blood lines. Why was it named Barkas? Anybody know where I could get a modal in the states, preferably Ohio? Are there any collectors in Ohio or adjacent states or in museums? I would love to get my picture with one of these vehicles.