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Thread: Trabant 1957-1991

  1. #1
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    Trabant 1957-1991

    A Brief History

    The Trabant is an automobile formerly produced by East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to other countries in, but also outside the communist bloc. The main selling points were that it had room for four adults and luggage, and was compact, fast, light and durable. Despite its poor performance and smoky two-stroke engine, the car has come to be regarded with affection as a symbol of the more positive sides of East Germany (in former East Germany) and of the fall of communism (in former West Germany, as many East Germans streamed into West Berlin and West Germany in their Trabants after the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989). It was in production without any significant change for nearly 30 years.

    The name Trabant means "fellow traveler" (Satellite) in German; the cars are often referred to as the Trabbi or Trabi, pronounced with a short a.

    Since it could take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it. The lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years. Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately, while the latter had the aforementioned waiting period of several years.

    There were two principal variants of the Trabant, the Trabant 500, also known as the Trabant P 50, produced 1957-1963; and the Trabant 601 (or Trabant P 60 series), produced from 1963 to 1991. The engine for both the Trabant 500 and 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, giving the vehicle modest performance. At the end of production it delivered 25 horsepower (19 kW) from a 600 cc displacement. The car took 21 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) and the top speed was 112 km/h (70 mph). There were two main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust and the pollution it produced. They produce nine times the amount of hydrocarbons and five times the carbon monoxides of the average European car of 2007. The fuel consumption was a modest 7 liters/100km.

    The Trabant was a steel monocoque design with roof, bootlid, bonnet and doors in Duroplast, a form of plastic containing resin strengthened by wool or cotton. This helped the GDR to avoid expensive steel imports, but did not provide much crash protection.

    More than three million Trabants were made.

    Source: wikipedia.org
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  2. #2
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    One small sidenote. It's official name was the Sachsenring Trabant. In it's days it was very advanced, more advanced then most comparable Western vehicles. Unfortunately due to bureaucracy and the lack of will with the DDR government development was continiously halted. There were atleast three new versions planned to be introduced, which were all halted in the final phases of production ready making.

    In the last models of the Trabant a 1.0 (?) engine from the Volkswagen Polo was put. This provided a significant improvement, however it could not conceal that this car was heavily out of date after 40 years (chassis was based on previous IFA models). The model with Polo engine had a updated look, it for example had slightly different bumpers and grille. The last picture is the model with Polo engine, as can be seen in the VW museum in Wolfsburg.

    The first picture above features the P500 version. It's technology(not the body) was almost identical to the DKW/IFA F8 and F9. These models also dated from before the Second World War. It was however not as cheap to produce as the DDR government wanted (4000 DDR Mark). IIRC around 30.000 of these were built. In this time the government was still prosperous and a new model was developed.

    The P60 was developed, still using a chassis based on the prewar DKW F8. However this time some major changes had been made, which made it much better. The engine was for it's time suffcient. It wasn't very spectacular, but compared to other Western vehicles, it apparently was much more efficient. 30 years later however not anymore. This obviously led to the criticism on this car.

    This year we were on vacation in the former DDR. My father and I went to a meeting with some Trabi's then. We also bought a little book with literally everything about the Trabi in it. Very nice to read about thisvery underrated piece of automotive history.

    I have pictures, I wil post them soon.

  3. #3
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    Following pictures were taken on the Traktor- und Oldtimer treffen in a town I forgot the name of

    Edit:

    Brainfart time is over. The town was called Alt Schwerin. Pictures were taken with my trusty old Fuji S5600 by the way.
    Last edited by drakkie; 01-08-2008 at 02:19 AM.

  4. #4
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    Some IFA's.
    Last edited by drakkie; 01-08-2008 at 02:19 AM.

  5. #5
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    Here's another one.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    This afternoon I paid my uncle a visit. The car company next door actually had two for sale, painted orange. Expect a selling price of around 1200€.

    Philippi Autos

  7. #7
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    The white car with brown roof in drakkies pics is a Sachsenring P70 Zwickau
    WRC - That's motorsport!

    "If you can see the tree you are about to hit, it is called 'understeering'. If you can only hear and feel it, it was 'oversteering'."
    Walter Röhrl

  8. #8
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    Very awesome, thanks for fulfilling my request Revo!
    "He who has overcome his fears will truly be free."

  9. #9
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    Trabant #3

  10. #10
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    Trabant #4

  11. #11
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