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A Short History of the Trabant
The Trabant or "Trabi" is the most famous car produced in the former East Germany (DDR). The auto maker VEB Sachsenring exported the Trabant to countries both inside and outside the Soviet Union. The main selling points were that it had room for four adults and luggage in a compact, light and durable shell made of space-age Duroplast at a price affordable to the common family. With its mediocre performance, inefficient two-stroke engine, questionable fuel safety, poor braking, noxious fumes and chronic production shortages, it was often hated and ridiculed - But with the passage of time the Trabi has become a cult favorite among those sentimental for the objects of their youth or simply as a curiosity from the central planners of the past.
A total of 3,096,099 Trabants were produced between 1957 and 1991, but there were never enough to go around. Since it could take 11-18 years !! for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered, people who finally got one were very careful with them and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing them. The lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years. Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately, while the latter required the infamous long wait!
This makes every Trabant a one-of-a-kind with unique and unsual repairs and accessories. Today there are approximately 56,000 remaining by some estimates, probably because the plastic body doesn't rust away easily.
There were four principal variants of the Trabant, the P50, also known as the Trabant 500, produced 1957–1962; the Trabant 600, produced 1962–1964; the Trabant 601, produced 1963–1991; and the Trabant 1.1 produced 1990–1991 with a 1,043 cc (63.6 cu in) VW engine (making the "1.1" an optimistic branding campaign).
Want to know more? Introduce yourself in The TrabiReg Forum
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About This Website
This site was launched in December 2011 by Skye Nott as part of The AutoShrine Network. All design and content is © Corvus Digital Corp unless otherwise noted.
Speical thanks to A Spooky Ghost and Martijn Kolkman for use of their photographs in the header.
This website is not in any way connected with, or authorised by, VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau.