Trabant! Speedy Gonzales eat your heart out!

Trabant! Speedy Gonzales eat your heart out!


I’ve been in Budapest and had the pleasure to try and drive the Trabant. Trabant is a real cult car and annually there are great Trabant meetings where various special versions shown up. The name Trabant was developed through a survey, the name means traveling companion or companions.

Please test to drive a Trabant if you get the chance, it’s a bit like driving a toy car into adulthood. Whether you drive yourself or alternatively you have a driver. There is a maximum seat for 4 people in a car including the driver. Activities with Trabant are usually also very much appreciated as a group activity.

Where does the Trabant come from? And why did they start to produce it?

Trabant is an East German car brand VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerk, an automobile manufacturer based in Saxony. It was developed by East Germany’s response to West Germany’s Volkswagen and the vision of a people’s car. The year 1954 the Politburo decided to manufacture a robust small car with Lloyd as a model. Lloyd, a small car from Bremen, had celebrated great success since its introduction in 1950. The Trabant was first produced in 1957 and the production lasted until 1991. In total there was manufactured 3,051,385 Trabants.

The cars were exported to Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia. The first version was built in 50 copies. The car has a two-cylinder engine of two-stroke and front wheel drive. Trabant which is very small quickly became outdated and when also the wall fell was soon Trabantens days numbered.

What then is the Trabant made of?

Cotton is perhaps not the first commodity to put up on the list of to begin serial production of passenger cars. But in the case of the GDR handed the domestic body sheet only to a car factory (IFA), as the country was subjected to an embargo during the Cold War in the early 1950s. A substitute was needed to the other East German car factory and it became the East German invention Duroplast.

Trabant body was built thus of cotton mixed with phenolic resin, which is then baked for six minutes under pressure in heat presses. Not exactly rational but well stainless. The cotton comes from the Soviet Union and has so short fibers that can’t be used to make clothes. Stainless in Trabant case, cause unfortunately is today a curse, for the cars never scrapps and can therefore poison the air indefinitely with their steaming stroke engines.
There is something special about German cars! 🙂


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