A nostalgic trip into a past when buying a car constituted a lifetime’s work – especially for those Europeans who had a maximum of two handful of brands at their disposal. This cheerfully edited collection of auto biographies from socialist production evokes seemingly carefree times when the motorized vehicle was allowed to be simply a status symbol: free from ideological turf wars revolving around the climate crisis and mobility diets.
From Russia via Bulgaria and the Czech Republic to Germany and Norway, love stories between humans and Trabi, Moskvitch and Volga are captured on film. We meet protagonists who are fond of their beloved piece of tin, then or now, or have even amassed a considerable collection. There’s a couple who met and fell in love at a retro car exhibition and still drive the same model today. We meet a sexton who passes on his official car after 32 years of use. We make the acquaintance of a pin-up who always poses in front of vintage cars from the East. They all have a soft spot for these rickety rust buckets, because even though the products of the socialist car industry were usually slow, chunky, tedious to drive and to repair, they were all regarded as showpieces of a successful life. And there was one in almost every family: coveted, long longed-for, assiduously polished.