The Trabant was East Germany's car for East
Germans. The Trabant's was built in a factory
were Audi's were once built before the war. The new company that
was started to build the Trabant was named Sachsenring and began
building Trabant's in 1957.
Several models were produced but the most famous one was the model
601 that started life in 1967 and was sold until after the fall of
the wall relatively unchanged to 1991.
Its styling was very simple and to conserve expensive metal its
body was made from a plastic similar to fibreglass called
duraplast, The Trabant had a top speed of about 100 kilometres,
and its two cylinder two-stroke engine used only 5 moving parts.
The engine was so light it could be lifted out by one person, due
to it being a two stroke you could cut down on many expensive
parts. It did receive a few improvements over its lifetime
including improved brakes and electrical systems. Despite their
noise and poor performance most people who have owned a Trabant
swear by them as they are cheap to run and so simple that there is
very little to go wrong with them.
The last upgrade came in 1990, as the west started to see the
Trabant emerge from East Germany, the engine was replaced with a
four stroke 1.1 VW polo unit. Despite the much needed performance
increase the Trabant's days were numbered. It was no longer being
exported to eastern block country's and now the East Germans had
access to many more modern cars.
In 1991 after over 3,096,000 Trabant's produced the Trabant
production stopped, the factory were the Trabant's were produced
in Zwickau is now a Car museum. There are now several Trabant car
clubs all over the world which is amazing how a small car that
rarely left the communists states has captured the hearts of car
lovers the world over.