The pit pony of Eastern Europe for nearly 30 years, Trabants were marketed as having room for four adults plus luggage. Cheap to run, simple and fun to drive, and easy to repair, Trabants had a waiting list of up to 20 years. When production ended in 1991, a remarkable 3,096,099 had been driven off the production line.
Many of us have an impression of what Trabants must be like, and some of our thoughts might not always be kind. We wouldn't automatically compare them to, say, a 1970's Austin Mini would we? You know the sort of thing, a simple, fun runaround, well worth a smile and some happy memories. Mini, simple, fun. Trabant, simple, fun. ... Hang on a minute!
Trabies run using a two-stroke engine. That means mixing petrol and oil together to make it go. This engine produces a very different sound and energy to almost anything else on the road. Put half a dozen together and it's something like a symphony of chain smoking bees with megaphones. With 26 snorting horses beating a rhythmic tattoo under the bonnet, a Trabant feels like a car. You know, like the car you passed your test in. Like something you are in control of, not the very clever CPU under the bonnet of your current car. You may not choose to commute daily in one, but you'll smile at the memory of what driving used to be like. Viva la difference!
The Trabie has become coveted by many collectors, woodsmen and rally drivers.
Ok, so an eclectic mix of modern day fans you may think, but with good reason. Trabants are a generally low upfront cost option (although ours are top draw examples) so almost anyone can own one - or several. They are incredibly rugged and used as you would a 4x4 in many parts of the world, due to their lightness and durability. They also lend themselves well to heavy customisation and make a remarkably affordable rally car. So whoever you are and whatever your needs, you can do a lot with a Trabant,. You see? It's all starting to make sense!