Thursday, February 01, 2007

Car and a Half

Somehow I don't think I can do this post justice. The Trabant is such an iconic car that it is loved and loathed in equal measure often both by the same person.

Coming from the UK, it's easy for me to think of this as a "quaint" car that fits into the stereotype of Eastern Europe. Yes, I know we're more Central Europe than Eastern Europe but this is the car that's associated with Eastern bloc and was on shown on everyone's TVs in the West as everyone tried to get out of the East when the wall came down.

For some people, it's a symbol of the crap they had to put up with. For others, it's freedom on four wheels and a bit of plastic-wrapped plywood*. For me, while I know they're not that comfortable or good to drive, I absolutely love the design of the body and think it's a classic to be awed and adored. Right up there with other simple but clever designs such as the Mini.


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Because they're so cheap and there's quite a few floating around, they can often be seen pimped above and beyond their normal duty. I've seen bright purple ones with alloys and spoilers. I've seen them chopped up in to cabriolets. I've also seen them covered in moulded plastic to make it into a auto-dog (or maybe that was a Rover).

I saw this a while ago on Andrassy and couldn't resist taking a pic. Someone had used half a Trabant to create a trailer for another Trabant. It looked like a loving conversion with a quality finish. The tired Trabant has been written a death warrant many a time with newer, trendier cars coming onto the market and environmental regulations damning its 2-stroke engine, but with affectionate Trabbie lovers like this out there, I think we'll be seeing them around for a little while yet.


* From that link - Duroplast cannot be further recycled, and burning it produces toxic fumes, so disposing of the bodies of old Trabants is a problem. However, Duroplast's components are edible, and there are stories of pigs, sheep or other domestic farm animals consuming duroplast.

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5 Comments:

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous cs said...

That's a cool photo! : - ) x cs.

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger Hettie said...

if you're interested in the evolution of the trabi here's a good description:

http://smartklub.nolblog.hu/?post_id=20688

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Timbo said...

Thanks for comments. A lot of people appreciate the Trabbie. I remember reading an article about a collector in the UK. Just found him again here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/derbyshire/4620217.stm

 
At 11:07 PM, Blogger more cowbell said...

Gotta love the Trabbie. I once saw a Stretch Trabbie. Not sure how they did it, but it was like a mini limo. I used to live in Kaposvar, and upon returning to the States, it seemed like everyone drove personal buses here. The cars are ridiculously huge.

 
At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timbo,

Come with us to a Trabant-driver meeting on 6th of October !

Place: this parking lot:

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=47.488064,19.022124&spn=0.002744,0.006781&t=k&z=18&om=1

Start at 9:00 AM.

- prokee -
http://www.prokee.hu

 

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