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From the late 50s a vehicle, a personal carrier emerged from the Eastern part of Germany which became the symbol of Eastern transportation. Thats the Trabant.

This car, which originally wasnt destined to be a car, created one of the biggest mistakes in automobile history. In the 50s, when cheap transportation was all the rage throughout Europe and small motorcycles, mopeds were the only means of transport, another idea existed for an intermediate vehicle between the car and the motorbike. Call it bubble-car, microcar, whatever - Youll get the impression. The Trabant, which was originally called the AWZ P70 was originally intended to be a closed motorbike with a small engine and lightweight construction. A perfect mean of transportation for the whole family with a little boot at the back. One of East Europes biggest mistake was to keep the successor of the P70, the P601 in production for decades long after the original idea became worthless. And when they bolted a Volkswagen Polo engine into it, they disgraced the original spirit of the Trabant.

Why am I saying this? Look at the Goggomobil and compare it with the Trabant.

Yes, the Trabant was the Eastern version. Im not defending the idea, Im just asking everyone to keep their head on the ground and look everything at prospect. This car carried the Trabant badge for the first time. Comparison of dimensions: Trabant: 3375 mm length, 1500 mm width and 1395 mm height. Goggomobil T300 Limousine: 2900, 1280, 1310. Yes, the P50 was bigger than the Goggo and more powerful, but the idea was the same. The shape wasnt too bad either, in 50s style. The P50 as its name suggest carried a smaller engine: 500 cc, 18 bhp, still two-cylinder, two-stroke. The four-speed transmission was still asyncrohinised. And in 1964 after 132000 P50s the new P601 debuted. For a very short time there was a P60 on the market, before the P601. This car had a 594 cc, 26 bhp engine derived from the P50. It sported new cylinders, new cylinder-heads and exhaust system. The shape is ridiculous now, but it was beautiful for many in the last 3 decades. Its a normal limousine, not too extravagant. It was easy to repair, easy to live with. Sure, it soon became outdated, old design but who cared? Here, many family men still cry back to their youth when they had a Trabant.

Everyone had a joke about the Trabant, but it was still the basic mean of transport. The epitome of socialism: bad, not capable of doing too many things, not too efficient but still manages to work somehow: -) I devoted two pages for the 601: The first show a couple of illustration from a 60s brochure with the technical details, the second is more artful with pictures of 601s in Hungary.


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