Now Reading
Trabant – Wikipedia

Trabant – Wikipedia

2023-10-26 14:39:00

1957–1991 car model of VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau


Trabant (German: [tʁaˈbant] ) is a sequence of small cars produced from 1957 till 1991 by former East German automotive producer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. 4 fashions had been made: the Trabant 500, Trabant 600, Trabant 601, and the Trabant 1.1. The primary mannequin, the five hundred, was a comparatively fashionable automotive when it was launched.

It featured a duroplast physique on a metal chassis, front-wheel drive, a transverse two-stroke engine, and impartial suspension. As a result of this Nineteen Fifties design remained largely unchanged till the introduction of the final mannequin, the Trabant 1.1 in 1990, the Trabant grew to become symbolic of the previous East Germany’s stagnant financial system and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc basically.[3] Referred to as “a spark plug with a roof”, 3,096,999 Trabants had been produced.[4] Older fashions have been sought by collectors in america resulting from their low price and fewer restrictions on the importation of antique cars. The Trabant additionally gained a following amongst car tuning and rallying fanatics.


Small white Trabant in a museum
Trabant 601 limousine
White station wagon
Trabant 601 Property

The German phrase Trabant, derived from Middle High German drabant, means ‘satellite tv for pc’ or ‘companion’.[a] The automotive’s identify was impressed by the Soviet Sputnik satellite tv for pc.[6][7] The automobiles are sometimes called “Trabbi” or “Trabi”. Produced with out main modifications for almost 30 years, the Trabant grew to become the commonest car in East Germany. It got here to represent the nation throughout the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as photographs of East Germans crossing the border into West Germany had been broadcast across the globe.[8][9]

Manufactured by a state monopoly, buying a Trabant took about ten years.[10] East German patrons had been positioned on a waiting-list of as much as 13 years.[11] The ready time relied on their proximity to Berlin, the capital.[6] Official state price was 7,450 GDR marks and the demand to manufacturing ratio was forty three to 1 (1989). The free market value for a second-hand one was greater than twice the value of a brand new one, and the typical employee needed to wait ten to 13 years on a ready listing, or, if obtainable, pay greater than double for a second hand mannequin.[11]

Simple automobile interior
Inside of a 601

The Trabant had a metal body, with the roof, boot lid, bonnet, wings and doorways product of duroplast, a tough plastic comprised of recycled cotton waste from the Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye business.[6][12] It was the second automotive with a physique product of recycled materials; the primary was the AWZ P70 Zwickau, produced from 1955 to 1959. The fabric was sturdy, and the typical lifespan of a Trabant was 28 years.[12]

The Trabant’s construct high quality was poor, and it was loud, sluggish, and poorly designed.[11][13][3]

The automotive had 4 principal variants:

Trabant with the hood up; the engine is small.
Trabant two-stroke engine

The engine for the five hundred, 600 and the unique 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders, accounting for the automobile’s modest efficiency. Its curb weight was about 600 kg (1,323 lb). When it ceased manufacturing in 1989, the Trabant delivered 26 PS (19 kW) from 594 cc (36.2 cu in) displacement. It took 21 seconds to speed up from zero to its high velocity of 100 km/h (62 mph).[14][15]

The engine produced a really smoky exhaust and was a big supply of air pollution: 9 occasions the hydrocarbons and 5 occasions the carbon-monoxide emissions of the typical 2007 European automotive. Its gasoline consumption was 7 L/100 km (40 mpg‑imp; 34 mpg‑US).[16] For the reason that engine was two-stroke, oil needed to be added to the 24-liter (6.3 U.S. gal; 5.3 imp gal) gasoline tank[17] at a 50:1 (or 33:1) ratio of gasoline to grease at every fill-up. Up to date fuel stations in international locations the place two-stroke engines had been widespread offered a premixed gas-oil combination on the pump. As a result of the Trabant had no fuel pump, its gasoline tank was above the motor so gasoline may attain the carburettor by gravity; this elevated the danger of fireside in front-end accidents. Earlier fashions had no gasoline gauge, and a dipstick was inserted into the tank to find out how a lot gasoline remained.

Recognized for its uninteresting color scheme and cramped, uncomfortable trip, the Trabant is an object of ridicule for a lot of Germans and is thought to be symbolic of the autumn of the Eastern Bloc.[18] Often known as a “spark plug with a roof” due to its small measurement, the automotive did acquire public affection.[8][9]

Its design remained basically unchanged from its introduction within the late Nineteen Fifties, and the final mannequin was launched in 1990, the Nineteen Eighties mannequin had no tachometer, no indicator for both the headlights or flip alerts, no gasoline gauge, no rear seat belts, no exterior gasoline door, and drivers needed to pour a mixture of gasoline and oil instantly beneath the bonnet/hood.[19] In distinction, the West German Volkswagen Beetle acquired numerous updates (together with enhancements in effectivity) over an analogous interval.[20]

Historical past[edit]


VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau had its origins within the former Auto Union/DKW enterprise which had operated out of the positioning previous to the warfare, and the corporate’s first merchandise had been basically copies of pre-war DKW designs. Following the partition of Germany, Auto Union re-established itself in West Germany (in the end evolving into Audi), leaving VEB Sachsenring with the 2 stroke engine inherited from DKW.

The Trabant was the results of a planning course of which had been supposed to design a three-wheeled motorbike.[6] In German, Trabant is an astronomical time period for a moon (or different pure satellite tv for pc) of a celestial physique.[21]

Full manufacturing[edit]

Two-door sedan, with a driver at the wheel
A 1959 P50

The primary of the Trabants left the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau manufacturing facility in Saxony on 7 November 1957. It was a comparatively superior automotive when it was formally launched the next 12 months, with front wheel drive, unitary construction and impartial suspension. The Trabant’s biggest shortcoming was its engine. By the late Nineteen Fifties, many small West European automobiles (such because the Renault) had cleaner, more-efficient four-stroke engines, however budgetary constraints and raw-materials shortages mandated an outdated (however cheap) two-stroke engine within the Trabant. It was technically equal to the West German Lloyd car, a equally sized automotive with an air-cooled, two-cylinder four-stroke engine. The Trabant had a entrance, transversely mounted engine and front-wheel drive in an period when many European automobiles had been utilizing rear-mounted engines or front-mounted engines with rear-wheel drive. Its biggest downside was its largely unchanged manufacturing; the automotive’s two-stroke engine made it out of date by the Nineteen Seventies, limiting exports to Western Europe.

The Trabant’s air-cooled, 500 cc (31 cu in) engine—upgraded to 600 cc (37 cu in) in 1962–63—was derived from a pre-war DKW design with minor alterations throughout its manufacturing run. The primary Saab automotive had a bigger (764 cc), water-cooled, two-cylinder two-stroke engine. Wartburg, an East German producer of bigger sedans, additionally used a water-cooled, three-cylinder, 1,000 cc (61 cu in), two-stroke DKW engine.

The unique Trabant, launched in 1958, was the P 50. Trabant’s base mannequin, it shared a lot of interchangeable components with the most recent 1.1s. The five hundred cc, 17 PS (13 kW) P50 advanced right into a 20 PS (15 kW) model with a totally synchronized gearbox in 1960, and acquired a 23 PS (17 kW), 600 cc (37 cu in) engine in 1962 because the P 60.

Trabant with brown trim in a museum
A 1963 Trabant 601

The up to date P601 was launched in 1964. It was basically a facelift of the P 60, with a distinct entrance fascia, bonnet, roof and rear and the unique P50 underpinnings. The mannequin remained almost unchanged till the tip of its manufacturing aside from the addition of 12V electrical energy, rear coil springs and an up to date dashboard for later fashions.

A blue Trabant
P1100 prototype

The Trabant’s designers anticipated manufacturing to increase till 1967 on the newest, and East German designers and engineers created a sequence of more-sophisticated prototypes supposed to exchange the P601; a number of are displayed on the Dresden Transport Museum. Every proposal for a brand new mannequin was rejected by the East German authorities resulting from shortages of the uncooked supplies required in bigger portions for the more-advanced designs. In consequence, the Trabant remained largely unchanged for greater than a quarter-century. Additionally unchanged was its manufacturing methodology, which was extraordinarily labour-intensive.

Manufacturing began from 34,000 p.a. in 1964, reached 100,000 p.a. in 1973, to a excessive of 150,000 in 1989.[11]

The Trabant 1.1 was a 601 with a better-performing 1.05-liter (64 cu in), 45 PS (33 kW) VW Polo engine. With a barely modified look (together with a floor-mounted gearshift), it was quieter and cleaner than its predecessor. The 1.1 had entrance disc brakes, and its wheel meeting was borrowed from Volkswagen. It was produced from 1989 to 1991, in parallel with the two-stroke P601. Apart from the engine and transmission, many components from older P50s, P60s and 601s had been suitable with the 1.1.


Trabant 601 coming into West Berlin in 1989, Checkpoint Charlie
Two-door sedan with a man standing behind it
Trabant 1.1 with VW Polo four-stroke engine

In mid-1989, 1000’s of East Germans started loading their Trabants with as a lot as they might carry and drove to Hungary or Czechoslovakia en path to West Germany–the so-called “Trabi Path”. Many needed to get particular permission to drive their Trabants into West Germany. The automobiles didn’t meet West German emissions requirements and polluted the air at 4 occasions the European common.[22]

A licensed model of the Volkswagen Polo engine changed the Trabant’s two-stroke engine, the results of a commerce settlement between East and West Germany. The primary prototypes had been inbuilt 1988, with pre-series automobiles showing in 1989, however sequence manufacturing solely started in Might 1990 – By which period the 2 German states had already agreed to reunification. The regionally constructed EA111-series engine was given the mannequin code BM 820 by the East Germans; the plant additionally made 1.3-liter variations for the Wartburg 1.3 (BM 860) and the Barkas utility vehicle (BM 880).[23] The mannequin, the Trabant 1.1, additionally had minor enhancements to its brake and sign lights, a renovated grille, and MacPherson struts as an alternative of a leaf-spring-suspended chassis.

By April 1991, after solely eleven months, the Trabant 1.1 was discontinued. In whole, 3.7 million Trabant automobiles had been produced.[24] Nevertheless, it quickly grew to become obvious that there was no place for the Trabant in a reunified German financial system. Its inefficient, labour-intensive manufacturing line had solely survived due to authorities subsidies.

The Zwickau manufacturing facility in Mosel (the place the Trabant was manufactured) was offered to Volkswagen AG; the remainder of the corporate grew to become HQM Sachsenring GmbH. Volkswagen redeveloped the Zwickau manufacturing facility right into a centre for engine manufacturing; it additionally produces some Volkswagen Golfs and Passats.

Nineties and later[edit]

Junked, vandalized car
Many Trabant automobiles had been deserted in Germany after 1989 (this one photographed in Leipzig, 1990). A Volkswagen Golf may be seen parked within the background. Non-public manufacturers like Volkswagen spilled over into East Germany after its state-owned auto business collapsed.
Trabi World, a vacationer attraction in Berlin that includes a Trabant museum and a self-driven tour of Berlin in Trabants.

In line with Richard Leiby, the Trabant had grow to be “an emblem of the technological and social backwardness of the East German state.”[25] Trabants grew to become an emblem of the GDR’s critical flaws within the West after the autumn of the Berlin Wall, when many had been deserted by their Jap homeowners who migrated west. In contrast to the Lada Niva, Škoda Estelle, Polski Fiat (design licensed from the Italian automotive producer) and Yugo, the Trabant had negligible gross sales in Western Europe.

A Trabant might be purchased for as little as just a few Deutsche Marks throughout the early Nineties, and lots of got away. Though costs recovered as they grew to become collectors’ gadgets, they continue to be cheap automobiles. In her Bodywork mission, performance artist Liz Cohen reworked a 1987 Trabant right into a 1973 Chevrolet El Camino.[26] The Trabant was deliberate to return to manufacturing in Uzbekistan because the Olimp throughout the late Nineties,[27] however just one mannequin was produced.[28]

White Trabant with lettering, with the Capitol Building in the background
A Trabant throughout the first Parade of Trabants in 2007

Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Atlantic Club of Bulgaria founding president Solomon Passy owned a Trabant which was blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and by which he took NATO Secretaries General Manfred Wörner, George Robertson, and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for rides. In 2005, Passy donated the automobile (which had grow to be symbolic of Bulgaria’s NATO accession) to the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria.[29] In 1997, the Trabant was celebrated for passing the moose test with out rolling over, because the Mercedes-Benz W168 had; a Thuringian newspaper’s headline learn, “Come and get us, moose! Trabi passes A-Class killer check”.[30]

The Trabant entered the world of diplomacy in 2007 when Steven Fisher, deputy head of mission on the British Embassy in Budapest, used a 1.1 (painted as near British racing green as doable) as his diplomatic car.[31][32] American Trabant homeowners rejoice the autumn of the Berlin Wall with the Parade of Trabants, an annual early-November rally held in Washington, D.C. The occasion, sponsored by the privately owned International Spy Museum, consists of road excursions in Trabants, rides, dwell German music and shows about East Germany.[33]

Deliberate reintroduction[edit]

The Herpa firm, a Bavarian miniature-vehicle producer, purchased the rights to the Trabant identify and confirmed a scale mannequin of a “newTrabi” on the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Plans for manufacturing included a restricted run, probably with a BMW engine.[8][9][34] A Trabant nT mannequin was unveiled two years later in Frankfurt.[35]

The Trabant nT consortium consists of Herpa, the German specialized-auto-parts producer IndiKar and the German automobile-engineering firm IAV.[36] The group was in search of funding, design and manufacturing within the Trabant’s authentic hometown of Zwickau,[37] with gross sales “in 2012”.[38] The Trabant nT electric car can be geared up with a forty five kW (60 hp; 61 PS) asynchronous motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.[39]

A Trabant in Dresden in 1961
Trabant P50 Common, later generally known as the five hundred Common, on the Pirnaischer Platz in Dresden (Saxony) in 1961
Trabant Tramp / civilian Kübelwagen (doorless discipline automotive)
  • P50: Later generally known as the five hundred (Limousine and Common [Combi])
  • 600 (Limousine and Common)
  • 601 Commonplace (Limousine, Common)
    • 601S (Sonderwunsch; Particular Version) with fog lamps, a rear white mild and an odometer
    • 601 DeLuxe: Much like the 601S, with two colors and a chrome bumper
    • 601 Kübel: Doorless jeep with a folding roof, auxiliary heating system and RFI-shielded ignition
    • 601 Tramp: Civilian model of the Kübel, primarily exported to Greece
    • 601 Hycomat: For drivers unable to make use of their left leg, with an automatic clutch
    • 800RS: Rally model
  • 1.1: Limousine, Common and Tramp (convertible)

Prototype and ideas[edit]

Dozens of prototypes have been created over time that haven’t gone into mass manufacturing.

  • 1954 Trabant P50 prototype[40]
  • 1954 Trabant P50 Common prototype
  • 1959 Trabant P504
  • 1961 Trabant P100
  • 1965 Trabant P602V
  • 1970 Trabant P760
  • 1971 Trabant P610 Prototype
  • 1981 Trabant P601 Z
  • 1982 Trabant 601 WE II Prototype [41]
  • 1988 Trabant 1.1 E
  • 2009 Trabant nT Idea

Gallery prototypes[edit]


See additionally[edit]


  1. ^ a b Legends of the Open Street. Rizzoli Worldwide Publications. 2007. ISBN 978-88-6130-066-8.
  2. ^ World Vehicles 1978. Herald Books. 1978. ISBN 0-910714-10-X.
  3. ^ a b De Muro, Doug (November 2016). “The Trabant Was an Awful Car Made by Communists”. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  4. ^ Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “Boxy East German icon plans comeback”. Retrieved 13 Might 2020.
  5. ^ “99 (Svensk etymologisk ordbok)”. (in Swedish). 1922. Archived from the unique on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017. (in Swedish)
  6. ^ a b c d James, Kyle (19 Might 2007). “Go, Trabi, Go! East Germany’s Darling Car Turns 50”. Deutsche Welle. Archived from the unique on 11 September 2007.
  7. ^ Stokes, Raymond G. (2000). “Plastics and the New Society: The German Democratic Republic within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties”. In Reid, Susan E.; Crowley, David (eds.). Model and Socialism: Modernity and Materials Tradition in Put up-Struggle Jap Europe. Oxford, U.Okay.; New York, N.Y.: Berg. ISBN 1-85973-239-9. OCLC 898724665.
  8. ^ a b c Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”. Worldwide Herald Tribune. Reuters. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b c “German Firm Plans to Launch Revamped Trabant”. Deutsche Welle. 7 September 2007. Archived from the unique on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  10. ^ “The 12 worst cars ever built”. The Globe and Mail. January 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d Rubin, Eli (18 September 2009). “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Movement”. Historical past Workshop Journal. 68 (1): 27–44. doi:10.1093/hwj/dbp016. ISSN 1363-3554.
  12. ^ a b “Special From Germany: Show 402”. Scientific American Frontiers. PBS. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015.
  13. ^ Cotta, Rick (15 July 2013). “Driving a Trabant”.
  14. ^ “BBC”. BBC. 1 January 2007. Archived from the unique on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  15. ^ “”. 28 February 2013. Archived from the unique on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 2 Might 2014.
  16. ^ “Trans National Trabant Tour 2007”. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  17. ^ Silk, Bernard (3 Might 2003). “Daily Telegraph”. Telegraph. London. Archived from the unique on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  18. ^ Hockenos, Paul (7 November 2014). “Berlin Welcomes Back the Trabant, if Only for a Day”. The New York Occasions. Archived from the unique on 7 November 2017.
  19. ^ De Muro, Doug (11 August 2016). “The Trabant Was an Awful Car Made by Communists”. Autotrader.
  20. ^ Richard Stroup (2003). Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know about Economics and the Environment. Cato Institute. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-930865-44-0.
  21. ^ “Translate Trabant from German to English”. Archived from the unique on 7 October 2017. Retrieved 9 Might 2018.
  22. ^ Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York Metropolis: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-375-42532-5.
  23. ^ Kirchberg, Peter (2003). “Die Implantation des VW-Motors in den DDR-Automobilbau. Ein Bericht zur Innovationsgeschichte der DDR” [The installation of VW engines in East German cars: An episode in the history of East German innovations] (PDF). Dresdener Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technikwissenschaften (in German) (128): 129. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2015.
  24. ^ “Trabant”. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011.
  25. ^ Richard A. Leiby (1999). The Unification of Germany, 1989–1990. Greenwood. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-313-29969-8.
  26. ^ Keats, Jonathon (July 2003). “High-Performance Artist”. Wired. Archived from the unique on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  27. ^ “Trabant Clunks Back to Life”. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  28. ^ “Automobile Industry in Uzbekistan”. Archived from the unique on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  29. ^ “Соломон Паси подари трабанта си на НИМ” (in Bulgarian). Вести. 13 July 2005. Archived from the unique on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  30. ^ “Petite feat”. 6 Might 2005. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  31. ^ “British Deputy Ambassador’s ride small and green”. Politics.Hu. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  32. ^ Zsolt, Csikós (10 November 2008). “A brit nagykövethelyettes Trabantja (“The British Deputy Ambassador’s Trabant”)”. Ltd. Archived from the unique on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  33. ^ “14th Annual Parade of Trabants”. Worldwide Spy Museum. International Spy Museum. 7 November 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  34. ^ Williams, Adam (6 September 2007). “The ‘Trabi’ automobile, once a symbol of East Germany, to be revived”. The New York Occasions. Archived from the unique on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  35. ^ “Photo Gallery: Electric Trabant Unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show”. Spiegel On-line. 16 September 2009. Archived from the unique on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  36. ^ “German group develops new Trabant”. London: 14 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  37. ^ Corridor, Allan (14 August 2009). “Smoke-belching Trabant to be reborn as electric car”. telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 17 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  38. ^ “The “newTrabi” idea becomes the “Trabant nT” concept car”. Trabant nT GmbH. Archived from the unique on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  39. ^ “Eco Cars: All-electric Trabant NT Gears To Clean 20-year-old Mess”. Ecofriend. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  40. ^ “Trabant-modellen inclusief voorlopers en prototypen”.
  41. ^ “Trabant 601 WE II Prototype 1982 pictures”.

Additional studying[edit]

  • Berdahl, Daphne. “‘Go, Trabi, Go!’: Reflections on a Automobile and Its Symbolization over Time.” Anthropology and Humanism 25.2 (2000): 131–141. online
  • Rubin, Eli. “The Trabant: Consumption, Eigen-Sinn, and Motion.” Historical past Workshop Journal (2009) 68#1 pp 27–44. online
  • Zatlin, Jonathan R. “The automobile of need: The Trabant, the Wartburg, and the tip of the GDR.” German Historical past 15.3 (1997): 358–380. online
  • Lisse, Jürgen (2010), Fahrzeuglexikon Trabant (in German) (2. erweiterte ed.), Witzschdorf: Bildverlag Böttger, ISBN 978-3-937496-34-4
  • Röcke, Matthias (2011), Die Trabi-Story. Der Dauerbrenner aus Zwickau (in German), Tub: Parragon, ISBN 978-1-4454-6266-0, vormals in zwei Auflagen erschienen im Heel Verlag
  • Stiegler, Theo (2007), Der Trabant wird 50! In guten wie in schlechten Zeiten (in German), Dresden: version Sächsische Zeitung/Saxo’Phon, ISBN 978-3-938325-36-0
  • Sarotte, Mary Elise (2014). The Collapse: The Unintended Opening of the Berlin Wall. New York: Primary Books. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-465-06494-6.

Exterior hyperlinks[edit]


Source Link

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

2022 Blinking Robots.
WordPress by Doejo

Scroll To Top