NEARLY 70 years ago, Australian servicemen helped save West Berlin from the grips of Stalin’s regime, dropping food instead of bombs, in the biggest humanitarian airlift operation in history.
Mike Duff visited the key sites of our role in the remarkable Berlin Airlift in a German-built Opel that’s headed here to fill the shoes of an Aussie icon.
Duff drove an Opel Insignia powered by the 191kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four, which will come here as Holden’s new ZB Commodore 2.0T, across Germany on its famed autobahns where he pushed it to 248km/h.
That just happens to be about the cruising speed of a Douglas C-47, which the Royal Australian Air Force used tirelessly during the Berlin Airlift. Duff found one RAAF example on display at the Luftwaffe Museum at Gatow near Berlin which provided a symbolic photo opportunity.
According to Duff, the Insignia made the 550km journey from Russelsheim to Berlin “without breaking a sweat”, allowing him to look further into Australia’s involvement in the Airlift and the Cold War remnants that still scar the German landscape.
Read about his journey, the Berlin Airlift, and his impressions of the car that will form the backbone of Holden’s post-production line-up, in the September edition of Wheels out now.
Here is a selection of images of that journey from Tom Salt to get you primed.