Do I want to buy a Trabant?

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As you are looking at this guide, maybe you are not sure about buying a Trabant.

Let's get one thing straight - THEY ARE NOT LUXURIOUS!
Now to dispel some myths about Trabants that may have put you off buying one:

They are NOT made from cardboard!
- Trabants are built with unitary construction for the floorpan and inner shell, this is made of galvanised steel and is very strong, so strong that in the EU crash test the Trabant was deemed to be safer than several of the modern euroboxes from major manufacturers, the outer panels are made from "Duroplast" which is pressed cotton mixed with phenolic resin and is practically indestructible - it does not bend out of shape like steel or craze like fibreglass.

They are NOT Smoky!
Trabants are generally two-stroke engined ( the last few were 1.1 VW engines but they don't count!)  they run on a mix of 50:1 petrol to oil so, after the initial start-up in the morning if it's cold and you need the choke there is very little in the way of smoke if the car is correctly set up.

They are not slow!

Well, define slow! - a good Trabant will cruise comfortably at 55-60 mph all day as long as you drive them sympathetically making good use of the freewheel overrun. the acceleration is not brilliant but the fuel consumption is excdellent, I generally get about 50 mpg from my 1981 model and I don't nurse it anywhere.

They are not all the same!

With Trabis you have a choice firstly of Saloon ( Limousine), Estate ( Kombi) Military style ( Kubel) or Cabriolet ( Cabrio) The early 601 cars had 6 volt ignition and used points, subsequent cars had 12 volts and used either points or electronic ignition. Although the body of the 601 never changed, most other parts did at sometime therefore you can see two outwardly identical Trabants with diverse specifications.

You can Get Parts!
Not only can you get parts but you can get practically everything for a Trabant up to and including brand new, race - tuned engines. parts are easily available and at a fraction of the cost ( and waiting time) of a new car ( my company car, a 2006 model needed a door mirror - it took 6 weeks to arrive from a main dealer - conversley I needed a
( Brand new) rear bumper for an obsolete East German Trabant, rang up - delivered to my door in 3 days and cost a quarter of the price of the wing mirror).

You WILL be noticed!
You can really annoy Porsche drivers and the like if you have a Trabant - just park next to them - I GUARANTEE your car, no matter how tatty-looking will get far more attention than the shiny sports car - don't buy a Trabant unless you don't mind people pointing at you ( and often laughing)

You WILL have fun!
You just cannot help it with a Trabi - they are such un-threatening little cars that everyone seems to like them, there are various clubs and organisations you can join if you want although you really don't need to as  there are other ways of meeting like-minded individuals.

Practically ANYONE can repair / maintain one.

These cars are so simple ( the engine has 5 moving parts) that practically anyone who can read and hold a spanner can work on one. With the tiny 600cc two-stroke engine, even that can be removed by the roadside to change a clutch in well under an hour - I know - I've done it! - practically every job on the car is straightforward, these cars were designed  to be maintained by unskilled labour ( the Owner) to they had to be simple!

So, do you still want to but a Trabant?........
 They are a good, basic ( very basic) reliable, affordable, enjoyable, maintainable means of transport but more than that they do have a habit of becoming infectious with those around you!
A trabant will get you from A to B as well as anything else just not as comfortably or as quickly but if you are looking for a classic that yoiu can tinker with - you have found it.


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