Why are we preserving and restoring historical buses?
Since the founding of our Association, one of the main goals has been the preservation and restoration of historic rolling stock – well-known exhibits that have been running on the streets of Sofia for decades. In 2017 we launched the campaign “Let’s preserve Bulgaria’s historic trolleybuses” with the desire to preserve the last remaining iconic trolleybuses – DAC-Chavdar 317ETr and Skoda 9Tr, before they go for scrap. With your help, we managed to buy them back, transport them to Sofia and preserve them in one of Sofia’s trolleybus depots. Restoring them will cost a significant amount of money that we do not have at the moment. You can support us by a donation.
We have focused on preserving and restoring historical buses, as their fate also seemed predestined. After learning that the Canadian GMC-BBC trolleybus could not be bought back because it was cut up for scrap, we visited the city of Sliven and found out that the last Bulgarian bus, the Chavdar B14-20, was facing a similar fate. Our decision to save it was not easy, as it had not been driven for more than two years and had its registration plates removed. With the help of many donors we managed to buy it from its previous owner – ZMM Sliven AD. We made a lot of effort to get it on the road to Sofia, and to find a place to home it. We started a partial renovation, which turned into a major one because of the poor condition of the roof and bodywork. With our own forces and means the restoration is going slowly but with quality.
In the meantime, with our own funds, we saved two more iconic bus models – Chavdar 130 and Mercedes-Benz O305G. Their condition is very good and currently does not require major repairs, but only minor, cosmetic repairs.
Thus, we keep two models of city buses of native production, as well as their German competitor from the same era. Paradoxically, the second-hand Mercedes supplied also contributed to the end of the Chavdar (Botevgrad) plant, as the Sofia Municipality preferred to supply second-hand buses from Germany instead of buying new Chavdar buses. With much higher quality workmanship and more extras and rear-mounted engines, the O305G and subsequent models from the Mercedes-Benz brand are gradually replacing the Chavdar and Ikarus buses from domestic roads.
Restored in their original form and in use, the buses we have preserved will be a living testament to the history of public transport in Sofia, and in Bulgaria.