Cold war comes to Norfolk and Suffolk in form of Eastern Bloc cars

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:13 05 June 2015

Rupert White of Norwich in his Moskvich on SALT 6 in Leicestershire in 2012

Rupert White of Norwich in his Moskvich on SALT 6 in Leicestershire in 2012


They are cars that evoke Cold War memories and could cause mirth to some modern day motorists as they compare their vehicles to them.

But now in another sign of detente between the free world and the former Soviet Union era a small army of Trabants and Skodas will be taking to the roads of Norfolk and Suffolk this weekend as their owners visit some of the region’s rich Cold War heritage.

From today 25 Eastern Bloc vehicles will be taking part in a tour of the region organised by Soviet Auto Luxury Tours (SALT).

For the ninth annual SALT tour the Cold War classic cars will be based in the south Norfolk market town Harleston and tomorrow they will go visit the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum at Neatishead.

During the Cold War RAF Neatishead played a pivotal role in monitoring airspace and had houses Bloodhound missiles ready to shoot down any Eastern Bloc interloper.

The SLAT tour tomorrow will also pass the former RAF Coltishall site, which again would have played a pivotal role if the Cold war had turned “hot” as its Vulcans, Lightnings and Jaguars took on the enemy.

Over the course of the weekend the SALT weekenders will also visit the City of Norwich Aviation Museum, the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton, near Bungay and Norfolk Tank Museum at Forncett St Peter.

Organiser Dominic Russell-Price said: “A hint of east/west détente will be in the air this weekend when owners of Cold War classic cars head to East Anglia to tour B roads and broads for a weekend discovering the region’s rich Cold War history.

“Past tours have seen SALT tourists in Skodas, Trabants, Tatras, GAZ, VAZ, Yugos and Ladas visit Cold War sites in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Essex and Leicestershire.

“For the ninth annual tour more than twenty Cold War classics will be based in Harleston and tour to the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, City of Norwich Aviation Museum, Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum and Norfolk Tank Museum.

“In addition to vehicles from Yorkshire, Devon, Surrey and Wiltshire, members of the Trabant club Blue Cloud Mittelhessen in Germany will be making the trip in a selection of rare and unusual East German cars, including a 1962 Wartburg 311 police car in full Volkspolizei livery and a 1987 Trabant 601 kombi owned by the same family from new.

“As it is rare to get such a selection of fine Eastern Bloc engineering in one place members of the public are encouraged to view the cars and chat to the owners either at the event headquarters at the Swan Hotel in Harleston on Friday or Saturday night or when parked up at one of the destinations, except for at Neatishead, which is closed to the public.”

The SALT tour is due to be at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum at 2.30pm on Saturday, and on Sunday the group is due to arrive at Flixton museum at 10am and then the tank museum at 2.45pm.

The SALT weekend starts today with an informal tour of Southwold from 11am .

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Norwich Evening News. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Norwich Evening News