April 29, 2012

What was (is) a Trabant?

Enquiring little “l.a. urban hipsters” wanted to know.  To wit-

This was a Trabant.

This is a Trabant.

Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness (actually, the body was made of a fiberglass-like Duroplast, reinforced with recycled fibers like cotton and wood).

A virtual antique when it was designed in the 1950s, the Trabant was East Germany's answer to the VW Beetle — a "people's car," as if the people didn't have enough to worry about. Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals.

But history has been kind to the Trabi. It looks rather picturesque here.

Thousands of East Germans drove their Trabants over the border when the Wall fell, which made it a kind of automotive liberator. 
Once across the border, the none-too-sentimental owners immediately abandoned their Trabis and traded them in for a posh capitalist toy.

Just kidding, or am I ?   ϡ


Charles said...

Thank you Ms. E., delightful.

frenchtoast said...

The new post-posh era L.A.P.D.? Hmmm!

Anonymous said...

Love our new and improved LAPD!

a Texan said...

And now, a little Trabant joke…

A Texas oil man heard that there were cars in East Germany so popular that buyers had to wait years to take delivery of one. He immediately sent a check to the Trabi factory.
The directors, sensing a propaganda coup in the making, arranged to send him the very next car off the line.
Two weeks later the oil man was in a bar, speaking with some friends.
" Ah ordered me one o' them Trabis them folks over there in East Germany wait 12 years to get" , he drawled.
" And you know what? Them East Germans are so efficient. Whah, just last week they sent me over a little plastic model so I can know what to expect!"

Ms. Edna (squared) said...

thank you Texas ;-)

Anja said...

Gird your loins readers this in from the rumor mill—a new Trabant is on the way, it is an electric car and it could be on the road by 2012.
As a former apoplectic driver of a Trabant I am now firmly convinced that there is a cruel, unforgiving God or Godess.

Randy Los Angeles said...

I'll take the tires. I'm sure someone will haul off what's left.

SvO said...

Sachsenring AG brought out a new Eco-Trabi: Immediately available for delivery, extremely cheap, extremely quiet, extremely environmentally friendly - with electric power train. Problem: The extension cord is only 20 meters long and not in stock!

Mona said...


Anonymous said...

I love the Trabis! Interesting article. Cool blog.