A brief history of luxury motoring in Hungary, 1971–2011

It’s been over 20 years that Eastern Europe threw off the shackles of communism. Plenty of time for a radical change in car culture. But what Budapest-based publisher and entrepreneur Erik D’Amato found out was that some things never change. –Ed.

Then: Well-connected members of the ruling elite ply Budapest in foreign-made vehicles seen as nothing special in the West but breathtakingly exotic and luxurious to average Hungarians, filled up with fatty bacon and other hard-to-obtain delicacies they get as bribes from favor-seekers. Everyone else takes the bus home, grumbling, and eats cabbage.

Now: Well-connected members of the ruling elite ply Budapest in foreign-made vehicles seen as nothing special in the West but breathtakingly exotic and luxurious to average Hungarians, filled up with Jamón serrano and other hard-to-obtain delicacies they buy at the gourmet shop with the cash bribes they get from favor-seekers. Everyone else takes the bus home, grumbling, and eats cabbage.


This story originally appeared on Pestiside on May 12, 2011, and was republished with permission.

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