1. Mithras

    Mithras Puttering Along Moderator

    Hello again, everyone.

    Looking for my first Trabi, and have been on and off for a while. I’m currently in Orange County, California, so that essentially limits me to 1975 or before (I suppose as of January that’ll also include 1976 models.)

    I realize this might be slightly controversial, though that is not my intent, -but-... is there a general consensus as to reasonable prices for a Trabant? I’d be looking at something to use as a daily driver, so likely in reasonable mechanical condition. And, of course, things like turn signals and seatbelts might be handy.

    As always, I very much appreciate your input and advice.
    Justin likes this.
  2. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    Prices are all over the board depending on what you want. They have been going up in value. And don’t write off newer Trabis either...you’ll want to check, but I’m pretty sure you can get a 2-stroke vehicle exemption in CA.

    I’m in Nashville and mine is informally for sale. My bottom line on it is $4000
    Mithras likes this.
  3. Mithras

    Mithras Puttering Along Moderator

    Thanks very much for the answer, Justin.

    I have been unable to get a clear answer from the DMV on the two stroke issue. Most of the literature they have is on two stroke marine engines, or motorbikes. The best I can get is "1975-76 or before is the safest bet". That say, if anybody's aware of exemption, I would be grateful to hear of their info.
    BillB likes this.
  4. BillB

    BillB Loyal Comrade Administrator Forum Donor

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  5. Caleb

    Caleb Loyal Comrade

    Have you been able to drive a Trabi before? I only ask this because you say that you are looking for one as a daily driver. While they are capable of keeping up in most traffic they are not fast by any stretch of the imagination. Major highways are possible but I would not advise it especially if there are any hills. You run the risk of another car traveling much faster to close in on you too quickly. Not saying any of this to discourage you from getting one. Just some advice to examine your daily usage of a car first and make sure the Trabi is acceptable for the task. I know of previous owners who went this route for a daily driver but quickly learned the Trabi was not up to the job for their needs.

    With all that said... Trabi's are a blast to own and drive. I love mine to death and couldn't dream of getting rid of it. Prices are all over the place these days, buying one stateside is almost always going to be more expensive due to someone having paid to import. Depending on how much you are wanting to spend dont rule out importing one yourself. I think most really nice ready to drive trabis will top out (stateside) somewhere in the $6k-$7k range. Best of luck to you in your hunt!
  6. mati0921

    mati0921 Loyal Comrade

    They are great daily drivers. millions of them was used as daily drivers 30 years ago, and the trabis are still the same, only people became more demanding. :)
    It is much easyer to find a parking spot for this size car, and still plenty of space inside (i drive a kombi) also very reliable if used daily. they dont like sitting still... :)
    I have used mine as daily driver in the summertime (to avoid road salt) for 4 years now (about 40.000 km) :)
    Mithras likes this.
  7. Caleb

    Caleb Loyal Comrade

    To be clear I'm not saying that a Trabi shouldn't be or can't be used as a daily driver, just that the individuals needs and demands should be evaluated closely before deciding for sure that a Trabi is a suitable option. To use your logic... horse drawn carriages were used as daily drivers 150 years ago, horses are still the same, but obviously not really suitable daily drivers today for most people. My main point was just that Trabi's only have some much power and speed to offer. There have been people expecting to get more out of it than it can offer and were disappointed in what was actually a decent car. Just one factor to consider when looking for one.

    Completely agree that they do not like sitting for any extended period of time. Ive found that with mine the more its used the more reliable it is. I can't daily drive mine as 70mph on the way to work is usually a slow pace in traffic and the Trabi just cant do that.
    Mithras likes this.
  8. Mithras

    Mithras Puttering Along Moderator

    My most common drives are south from Anaheim to Irvine or San Diego county. Typical rate of speed varies by the day, but 60-70 will be just fine. I think a Trabi could handle that. I'm not expecting a speed demon, but I'd rather drive a Trabi than, say, an older or heavier car with its own issues.

    I'd be looking at driving it a minimum of 3-4 times a week.

    My hope had been to find a car from Hungary, since my dad is from there, but I've not been able to find any Trabants (or anything else) from Hungary imported to the country that meets California's odd requirements for foreign built imports. Wife's family is German, and her mother is from Prussia originally, so, there's some family history of Trabis on that side too. Kills me, too, as there's a lovely green Trabi from Hungary that I've been eyeing. At any rate, the sheer uniqueness and history of the vehicle is what appeals to me:)
  9. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    60-70 mph in a Trabant? Nope. Not designed for it. They won't do 70 mph. They were designed for a country with terrible roads, whose top speed allowed on highways was 50 mph (80 km). Taking it out on highways daily will mean early engine failure, in which you will have to rebuild it, and other systems such as suspension, steering and brakes.

    A 1989-1991 Trabant 1,1 with a four cylinder VW Golf engine and four speed tranny will do it, but, they are too new for your state, and harder to find for sale than a regular Trabant.
  10. Mithras

    Mithras Puttering Along Moderator

    Im afraid I dont follow. How would driving the car every day create early engine failure? I don’t anticipate redlining the thing. I was under the impression that a typical highway cruise speed would be closer to 50mph, and my impression was that a Trabi can cruise at 50, do 60 in a pinch for brief stretches. Am I misinformed?
  11. mati0921

    mati0921 Loyal Comrade

    Mine cruises fine at 65 miles. and can be stretched to 70, but then it sounds like it could explode any moment. :D
    Some go a little slower, and some a little faster. the thing i miss most bout having it as daily driver without any alternative is the ability to tow a larger trailer (propably a problem once a month. have to borrow my parents volvo) :) other than that it does well, and gets good overall economy. does about 14 km/l and cheap to own. :)
    I drive mine a little "fresh". not redlining it every time pulling away, but still keeping up with traffic, and as they say: "a Redline a day keeps the carbon away" :D
    They can get a thick layer of carbon on top of the pistons if driven too carefully all the time. then heads have to come off to remove it manually. :)
    Mithras likes this.
  12. kev the builder

    kev the builder Loyal Comrade

    Mine cruises at 65 fine and will do 80 but like mati0921s it sounds like it's going to blow up or takeoff at speed,mines got a mildly modded engine and I drive it enthusiastically I don't check the mpg,I do like surprising a few other road users by whizzing past them
    Mithras likes this.

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