The Trabant is there as a saloon, estate car and open. It always consists of a steel frame with a car body from phenol resin and cotton. Its fibers work like concave tubing and provide for a good elasticity. The cotton is
decomposed and put as fibers with a relatively low thickness on a belt. The synthetic resin is also trickled in small parts onto the belt. Subsequently the mats are pressed and aired several times at an adequate
temperature. The work piece comes out of the press; cut and with ready surface. It can be connected with the vehicle with the help of sealant and mounting material. At the end primer is put on and it is varnished (until
the end by hand).
The production of the Trabi starts in 1964. In principle, there are no big changes in the way of production until the last Trabi is produced in 1991. All together more than 3 million vehicles are produced. The purchase
price amounts in the end to more than 14,000 GDR marks, after steady increases. It is an export success to the eastern countries. A good quarter of the production is still up and kicking in 2005, becoming the cult car
for a certain time. Is it the plastics or the difficulty to procure a new car which makes the Trabi so long-lasting?
There is a saying that a Trabant has 3 lives. After around seven years it is completely reworked. If you repeat this interval twice, the Trabi is already easily 28 years old. The spare part supply is a problem what leads to
stockpiling, e.g., of the especially susceptible exhaust systems. Therefore, even fewer exhaust systems are available. Nevertheless, few Trabis are taken apart for re-utilization as spare parts, because the value of the
vehicle rather increases than decreases. A joke about the model number explains why: 600 are requested, one is delivered.
Not considering the smell of the two-stroke exhaust gases, the Trabant is an absolutely usable vehicle definitely when it is introduced and in its first years. In that time it is competitive in terms of its performance. At
least, it accelerates well and manages a speedometer speed of 130. They say that there have been racing Trabants (racing cardboards) managing 200 km/h downhill on respective roads. Unfortunately, its car body
structure is too stable in front and rear. There are not enough crumple zones. Seat belts are introduced at some point, headrests even later. The passenger's cell can be described as fairly stable. At least, a lot of
couples spent quite a few nights in a roof tent (Sachsenruh) on top of the car.
Engineers undertook almost desperate attempts to modernise the vehicle from time to time. Already in 1967 the 603 stands ready as a prototype, with four-stroke engine and fastback. Also sportier versions are created,
still visible in various museums. However, politicians prevented all these possibilities, arguing that there are enough buyers for the 601. Of course, in the absence of any alternative. At least, the steering wheel receives
four spokes at same point, unfortunately, however, no safety steering. Then there is also a fuel gauge to the reserve tap and a kind of whip and wash automatic for the windscreen. 09/08
Trabant - Interior
|Sorry for the steering wheel not correctly adjusted . . .|