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  1. IronJaw

    IronJaw Puttering Along

    Hello Chaps,
    I've had an interest in Trabants for a while now, but more recently that interest has manifested itself into a full blown sick obsession :D

    I come from a racing family, and cars have played a central role in my life since birth when my Mum went into labour during the 1986 RAC Rally ;)

    My fleet currently consists of my 71 Triumph Herald 13/60, 2002 Jaguar XJ Sport and a 1986 Audi Coupe GT. The Herald I bought 12 years ago from my mechanics teacher as a shell and I spent 10 years building her into what she is today. The XJ is one of the last X308 saloons built and my third one of the type, I bought this one in 2016 and did a mini restoration bringing her up to as new condition. The Audi is identical to one my Dad had when I was born, I co-own this car with him and we are renovating it together so that he can pick up where he left off before I came along :p

    But over the years I've always liked the little Trabi, but I've decided that now I must own one. Which is what has brought me here to your forum.

    I'm totally new to the "scene" as it were, but not to restoration. So I'm looking for advice from members on where is good to buy parts and accessories, what types of things I should look out for, do's and don't's as well as general buying advice. Ideally I'm looking for something that wants a restoration, but not a basket case. I've seen a couple for sale but I'm not going to buy until I've learnt some more.

    So thanks for reading this, and I look forward to hearing back from folk.

  2. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    Hi welcome parts are readily available from Germany the biggest problem with trabis is rust as with all old cars they also don't like being left standing for too long,the brakes seize up but are simple and easy to rebuild,trabis are a basic car and easy to work on but you're best buying a car which is up and running and just needs tidying up but if you're a bit tight like me and don't mind doing more work you can buy a cheaper project
    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  3. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Welcome to the forum. Well I have been a Trabi owner for 16 months, the first one was a 1983 6v 601 saloon found on ebay for which I paid £400. I towed it home without knowing if it ran, but it looked complete. The story given was that it had not been on the road since 1990 so I knew quite a lot of work was needed. With help from this forum, I spent 5 months and £500 on getting it roadworthy and another £100 getting it UK registered. I also decided from the start to make it 12v instead of 6v, and I'm glad I did. I showed it all last summer and got a lot of attention from the public and classic car owners alike.
    Then in September I went to the other end of the scale and bought a roadworthy 601 Kombi (estate) which virtually needed nothing doing to it, for less money than I sold the first Trabi. This car is one of the last 2 strokers made in 1990, and is great to drive (well as good as you get Trabi wise). There is a 4 stroke version with a Polo 1.1 engine in it but to me that's not very interesting. So you make your choice depending on how much time and money you want to lay out. Virtually every part can be bought new from Germany on various sites and posted to the UK by DHL in a couple of days. Compile a full list of parts before you order to keep the postage costs down. It helps if you know any resident of Germany who you can liaise with to get your parts.
    Some of the UK guys on the forum such as myself have a few new and second hand parts for sale.
    Trabantwelt.de and LDM tuning in Germany are the sites I deal with but there are others.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  4. IronJaw

    IronJaw Puttering Along

    Hi Thanks for the replies!! :)

    I'm not quite in a position to buy a car yet, but I'm not afraid of any work needing doing as long as it isn't a total basket case. I'm more than competent with wiring, trimming, painting and mechanicals it's just welding I can't do. I'd be handing any welding over to my mechanic friend who is an absolute artist with a welder. I've got another friend who loves his mad BL cars such as Maxis, Landcrabs and Allegros who is also chomping at the bit to help me with the Trabi when it arrives. Notice I said when and not if, I've definitely decided I'm going to get one ;)

    I'm actually able to speak a bit of German and I've got a few contacts in Deutschland who may be able to assist me with stuff locally. I'm really getting excited about this idea.

    However I don't really know a lot about the cars and how they're equipped etc, do they even have a heater? Are there any owners or meetings in the North West I may be able to go along to or meet with to discover more?

    One thing I'm not though is a purist, I'm adverse to anyone modifying or improving their cars. My Triumph has a lot of uprated and modernised parts to aid with reliability, comfort and safety. Although none of these things ruin the period look of the car, and I'd probably apply the same treatment to a Trabi. So what types of mods do people do to these cars?

    Thanks Again for the replies so far :cool:
  5. Andrewwoey

    Andrewwoey Loyal Comrade

    Welcome. If you have some mechanical knowledge then they are simple to work on. When i purchased mine i had a 120mile nightmare of a drive home at night. I had a total electrical failure and had to hotwire the lights on and a violent steering wobble. I put a modern fuse box in it, sorted out previous owners bad wiring and bare live wires that were floating around. Put a lightweight small 12v alternator on it. Put a new steering hinge on the near side. The car is very reliable now. Did a 200 mile drive in it last Friday night and even overtook 3 cars. Lol.
    I think you will enjoy it when you get one.

    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  6. IronJaw

    IronJaw Puttering Along

    I've got plenty of mechanical experience, just to give you an idea here is a photo of my Triumph when I bought her and the day I finished her. Forgive the first photo as it was taken on a camera phone from 2006.

    I'd probably be inclined to undertake a whole rewire of a Trabant with some modern and safer wiring and connections, as well as fuses etc.

    Attached Files:

    RogerDerSchrauber likes this.
  7. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Mods can be whatever you are prepared to do within reason, but I have to say that's not my thing. I have heard quite a few fit disc brakes on the front (standard are drum all round). Then bigger engines, usually 4 stroke , I have heard of Hyabusa engines fitted, etc and then like I say you get further and further away from a Trabant. You turn it into a modern car with a Trabant shell. Not for me. The 601 2 stroke is inherently dangerous, who else would stick a petrol tank sitting right behind the engine, but to change that would take away the charisma. That's where the tank was designed to be as it relies on gravity feed. Keep on changing the design and it no longer becomes a Trabant, but instead another boring modern car which are two a penny.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  8. Andrewwoey

    Andrewwoey Loyal Comrade

    Your triumph looks great. I must start the rebuild of my Austin A35 some day. It keeps getting moved down the to do list. Hahaha.
  9. IronJaw

    IronJaw Puttering Along

    I agree! I've not got any intention on changing the engine as it's the most entertaining part of the car! I've driven a Triumph Herald 1200 with all round drums and found she took city driving well. I drive for a living and I've driven all sorts of mad, weird and aged vehicles over the years as my boss has a collection of vintage military vehicles and I quite often drive them for him. The Willy's Jeep is quite entertaining by itself.

    All I'd be interested in doing to the Trabant is improving the wiring for safety and piece of mind, possibly improving the front seats and adding my own individual stamp on the car. I'm going to do my research on these cars though, I need to know all about them.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    Steve likes this.

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