1. Gromyko

    Gromyko Newbie


    I've been on the lookout for Trabis in the US for the past few months - and I understand it's a very slim market. However, it seems that about 40-50% of the listings I come across are priced at 6,000 to 9,000 USD. The Trabis are usually in so-so condition (I understand higher costs if the owner has made modifications to help keep the Trabi).

    It seems on European markets, in Germany and my home country of Czechia that good quality Trabis will often sell for 1,500 - 2,500 euros. When you add in the cost of ~600 USD for a flight ticket, and ~900 USD for shipping from Germany, it would come to around 3,500 - 4,000 USD. This still seems like a far better deal than what I usually see.

    Is anyone here familiar with the registration of Trabis in the US? Import Tax, other fees etc?

    Ah but besides, I'm curious what you think would be a good price range for a good condition Trabi in the USA.

    When I see some of these listings, it makes me wonder if it would be better for me to just bite the bullet and jump through the hoops and barriers to import a Trabi myself.
  2. BillB

    BillB Loyal Comrade Administrator Forum Donor

    Too many variables with way too few cars over here to come up with any averages for US car value.

    I bought my car on eBay.de for 1.200 EUR, an East German model originally from Chemnitz and was extremely lucky with it's general condition.
    I then imported my '89 Trabi using a "RoRo" ferry service which seems to be about as cheap as it comes.
    They picked it up on a flat bed truck, hauled it to Bremmerhaven, on the boat to Baltimore and trucked it to my house outside Chicago.
    With all the paperwork, $2,800 (and have been told this is a very reasonable/low number).
    That was 3 years ago and was flying to Germany often for company biz and used a company counterpart to help me organize most of the details.
    So, I was very fortunate and extremely lucky and I spent around $4,500 USD with title and license plates in Illinois (one of the easier states to register in).
    I imported because I wanted the bragging rights to say that I brought the car here from Germany.
    I would not recommend the process to the average Joe.

    At the same time, I would be careful on some of the cars over here in the US.
    Many of them are a mish/mosh of various parts and typically cars that were questionably rebuilt.
    If you choose to purchase on this side of the pond, inspect the daylights out of the car before making any commitment.

    As the saying goes, "buyer beware" or "your mileage may vary"
  3. Gromyko

    Gromyko Newbie

    Thanks BillB,

    How did you find this ferry service? What sort of paperwork did you have to register besides actually registering the car in the state (it came to around 1700 USD for this sort of stuff?)? It seems it might be my best bet to organize and plan the importing of a Trabi from Germany or the Czech Rep, but the bureaucracy of it all is a bit intimidating.
  4. BillB

    BillB Loyal Comrade Administrator Forum Donor

    Just Google "Roro Service". The company comes right up
    Not sure where you come up with $1,700?
    I paid 1.200 EUR, then $2,800 USD for Roro.
    That is about $4,200 USD, then $300 for license and plates = $4,500 USD
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  5. Gromyko

    Gromyko Newbie

    Ah ok, sorry I came with the 1,700$ figure by subtracting your 2,800$ figure from your 4,500$ figure. Thanks for the information! I assumed the 2,800$ figure included shipping cost, and the remaining 1,700$ was for legal costs.
    BillB likes this.
  6. BillB

    BillB Loyal Comrade Administrator Forum Donor

    I check www.mobile.de to get a feel for Trabi asking prices vs condition (as best as one can tell from the internet). The values have gone up in the past three years. A 601 in similar condition to mine would likely now be in the 3.000 EUR range.
    Being close to the coast in Connecticut, your shipping cost is likely lower to transport after customs.

    My point is, I wouldn't use money savings as a factor on importing a car.
    Do it because you want to and cost is not the driving factor.
    The process is time consuming and expensive.
  7. mbeamish

    mbeamish Loyal Comrade

  8. Gromyko

    Gromyko Newbie

    You make a very good point, for a car like this it's better to just go all the way with it.
  9. Gromyko

    Gromyko Newbie

    I have been keeping an eye of some of those as well - but I avoid it myself as I'm a bit anxious about the fact that parts are probably rare and there isn't much of a community around it that can lend help.

    There are many good listings though! Especially on sbazar.cz.
  10. TheHun

    TheHun Puttering Along Forum Donor

    If you decide to import and you have someone to help you in Eastern europe the prices will be lower, ex yugoslavia, bulgaria, etc
    You can search them on mobile.de, change the country...saw a very nice late model
    601s for under 1K usd in Sofia, shipping will be more expensive than from germany but process is similar, hire a company to do it...
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  11. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    I did the same as BillB. My shipping story is stored here someplace, you can look it up. I had a very helpful seller in Germany. I spent a lot more than Bill (he got a REAL deal) but the prices for Trabants in nice shape is going through the roof. The price I paid for mine (3300 euro) in 2016 is considered low today. But I've been very happy with mine. It has certainly been an education.

    The days of nice Trabants for 500 Euro is long over. Try adding a zero to that price for a really nice one. Unless you have much experience with mechanics and body work, I wouldn't buy a fixer-upper. Get a nice one, take really good care of it, and it will take care of you. Oh yes- and keep it in a garage!

    Also, correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a while, but a ro-ro ferry is only for cars that are registered and driven, and are merely being transferred. You can't bring a junker or a parts car. The latter would have to be shipped in a container or some such.

    Have the shipper send it as a no-start car. Invariably, nobody knows how to start a Trabant, even with directions in two languages zip-tied to the dashboard....

    You'll pick it up in Bayonne, NJ. Go get it yourself, rent a Uhaul trailer.

    If you are in CT, Luke Vancraeynest (sp?) is fairly nearby, and I am in MA. TrabiNYC is in NYC. There are a few of us around. We are always willing to help!
    BillB likes this.

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