The other end of the car spectrum

 A very lovely example of the station wagon

A very lovely example of the station wagon

 

One of the nice things about Europe is looking at cars you don’t see in the States.  I wrote about that vey cool looking Marcos, now we have the bottom of the barrel, the East German Trabant.

No frills transportation.

No frills transportation.

Always first or second on lists of the worst car ever made, this odd heap had a mostly plastic body and a 600 cc (37 cu in), two cylinder, two stroke engine that could power it right up to 100 kph (62 mph).

The only way to keep on running, I guess.

The only way to keep on running, I guess.

East Germans could order one, but it might take years to arrive.  After the fall of the nation, people drove them to the border and just left them–they were worth less than the fuel it would take to fill them. You literally could not give them away.

Plastic body parts don't rust.  Not pretty, but effective.

Plastic body parts don’t rust. Not pretty, but effective.

The Trabant was completely stripped down transportation, without a shred of luxury.  Early models did not have a gas gauge, they used a dipstick.  There was no fuel pump, the tank had to be mounted higher than the carburetor so gravity could feed it.

Not a plush interior

Not a plush interior

Remaining Trabants are collected as oddities; you wouldn’t want to use this beast every day.  With the two-stroke engine, you have to add oil to the fuel at every fill-up, because there is no automatic system.  The brakes aren’t very good, but you can’t go very fast.

It isn't any prettier from this side.

It isn’t any prettier from this side.

The design grew out of plans for a 3 wheel motorcycle to provide an East German car for the people.  In German, that would be “volkswagen”, but that name seems to have been taken.

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