There’s something about those past-era vehicles that hold a certain nostalgic romance, fill us with historical interest, and keep that appealing retro look that’s both dazzling and stylish in this modern age. This is true for the lovingly-maintained 1950s sedans of Cuba, and it’s also true for the legendary Ikarus buses of Hungary, that evoke 20th-century Europe, the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet world all at the same time. With these buses we have a piece of history that’s both quaint and fascinating, and a window into the Hungarian past.
Ikarus is the all-Hungarian bus manufacturer that dates back to 1895 when in Budapest a blacksmith workshop was opened by Imre Uhry. It didn’t receive the greek mythology-inspired name until later, but the same company has survived two world wars and a communist era, and still battles on into the 21st century.
It was under Soviet rule that the company really flourished and made a name for itself, as after the second world war Ikarus saw a fresh demand for transport and responded by producing chassis-less buses, with rounded, unibody designs. The model Tr 3,5 was the first of its kind in the world, and continues to impress bus enthusiasts 60 years later.
Due to their massive success, Ikarus buses began to be exported, with more than 100,000 buses sent around the world, making the company the fourth-largest manufacturer by 1973. Though they were mainly transported to other Soviet Bloc countries, they were also exported as far and wide as China, Burma, Canada, Cuba and Tunisia. The company struggled after the collapse of communism, but after two separate buyouts it was relaunched in 2007 and continues to provide the world with its buses. The old models are still a sight to look out for, in Hungary and elsewhere, as they tend to still grace the world with their inimitable touch of Hungarian class.
Also bearing that unique nostalgic aesthetic, but with a modern and functional engine, and reconditioned to make a perfect, transportable bar, the Budapest Beer Bus really has the best of both worlds, and is ready to show its adventurous guests the finest side of this wonderful city. Don’t miss out on this fantastic experience!