Model: Grell IFA F9
Line: Sternquell Brewery promotional line
Ebay link: Grell models on Ebay
It’s been a while since I have covered something from the DDR, but today’s daily is back behind the wall to look at an early IFA vehicle. For those of you who’ve been keeping up with my Lamley articles, you may recognise this one from one of my first (actually 3rd!) Lamley posts from back in January. In it I covered the brilliant world of Grell branded diecasts, and amongst the Wartburgs and Barkas vans was this: the IFA F9.
The F9 was based on an old Auto Union prototype called the DKW F9, a car that was in the testing phase when World War 2 intervened. Post war, the Auto Union plant at Zwickau fell into the Soviet occupation zone and became part of East Germany. The new owners of the plant, IFA, mated the existing prototype body to the drivetrain of the older DKW F8 to create the new F9. Examples began appearing in 1949/1950, powered by a 3 cylinder, 2 stroke engine. Production moved to the former BMW plant in Eisenach in 1953, and the car was used as the basis of the Wartburg 311.
And to me it’s a wonderfully pretty car, one of the most attractive vehicles to come out of post war Germany. Lucky then, that Grell managed to do such a good job of replicating it. The graceful swoops and curves look just as good in in miniature.
This was one of the promotional models done with the Sternquell Brewery, and as to be expected the tell tale green of the Brewery is present. But while it let some Grell models down by creating anachronistic and dull looking paintjobs (the Wartburg 353 and the Melkus RS1000 spring to mind), it works so well here. And the body coloured steel wheels are a great touch.
It’s a real favourite of mine but it makes me feel slightly sad. Cars from the DDR aren’t really recognised in 3 inch diecast form anywhere near as much as their counterparts from the West. Cars like the F9 and Trabant were no less significant to their target audiences just because of where they were made. If anything, they were perhaps more significant than lets say, a Golf Mk1 was to a West German buyer. As crude as some of them may have been, and regardless of politics, these cars mobilised their people. And in the case of the Trabant, have become cultural icons. It’s therefore a bit surprising to me that more Eastern Bloc vehicles don’t really exist in 1/64 form. In 1/43 no end of choice is available, but past the Welly and Maisto Trabants, nothing much else exists outside of the Grell lines. It’d be nice to see an established European brand being brave enough to tackle an IFA design. How good would a Schuco Trabant or Barkas look for example?!
I can but dream! But for now, I’m happy that Grell chose to get these models made in the first place. And that they are still relatively inexpensive and accessible on Ebay. I’ve still got some Grell models to revisit (and to purchase) so rest assured we’ll be popping backwards and forwards through Checkpoint Charlie in the future for more Eastern Bloc motoring.