TRABANT FROM HATE TO LOVEIn the middle of 1950-ies to meet a car on the streets of Moscow was not easy. Still, it came across lendlizovskie “Studebaker” and Jimsy, reparation “Opel” and “Jorge” as well as produced in the Eastern zone of Germany copies of the pre-war BMW. And only ubiquitous boys knew that the capital of the USSR had a good look at the different cars you can only have foreign embassies, consulates and missions. The most important exhibition of foreign cars was, of course, the American Embassy, located on Tchaikovsky street (now the street is called Novinsky Boulevard), on the Garden ring. Here, along the long building always stood a row of magnificent cars, however, the Soviet adult pedestrians passing in front of a makeshift exhibition, in order to avoid accusations of cosmopolitanism were not slow of step, and only occasionally “throwing school” at the most attractive brand. Well, the Soviet boys there was nothing to fear, especially that immortal work “imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism,” they have not yet passed. They immediately isolate from saturated with foreign cars series autonovelties and tightly clustered around their Windows, folding palms houses to see the details of the device the cabin once “Plymouth”, “Dodge” or “Cadillac”.

Enjoyed success with young motorists and other embassies, including those that were located nearby on the other side of the Garden ring, on the street Stanislavsky (now called the Leontief lane). It was the East German Embassy, and the reason for its popularity among the boys was very democratic, the number of vehicles used by the German diplomats. And really, imagine yourself in an American luxury passenger liner, it was unthinkable, but few cars from the German Democratic Republic was somehow closer and more accessible.
The appearance in 1957 at the Embassy of the GDR of a new compact car called the Trabant, with its neat, compact and at the same time with a very “foreign” appearance caused a mild stir among okaloacoochee the public. It soon became clear that the unusual car features a plastic body and two-stroke motorcycle engine, but in the future, of the few at that time, the car magazines at the drops began to leak more information about the new German car.
The history of baby car Trabant dates back to the postwar division of Germany into two States, which resulted in the industrial city of Zwickau with factories of Horch and Audi companies departed GDR. In 1948 these companies become a single company called Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau (IFA).
Soon IFA resumed production of small cars modeled on the prewar DKW F8. Exactly on these machines first use of interesting technological solution, due to the lack at that time in the GDR steel sheet for stamping body panels. By the way, after the war a shortage of steel products became a problem in many country, Yves Soviet trucks GAZ-51, MAZ-200 and the ZIS-150, and the “Moskvich”-pickup was produced from wooden cabins and bodies.
Well, in the GDR a good way out of this situation was the use of the body structure durable-hundred — composite material of phenol formaldehyde resin Noah and waste cotton production.
In 1955 at the IFA has launched a series of car Sachsenring Р240 (model class of our “Volga” GAZ-21), and a runabout with a two-stroke engine with a displacement of 700 cm3. The last became, in fact, the direct predecessor of the Trabant car, going with the use of Duroplast — this composite material was formed into wings, bumpers and part of the body panels.
8 November 1957 at the plant in Zwickau started the production of small car Trabant, named in honor of running in the same year the first Soviet artificial Earth satellite (trabant. — Sputnik).
Front-wheel drive car was equipped with a transversely mounted inline two-cylinder two-stroke carbureted air-cooled engine with a volume of 0.5 liters and a power of 18 HP twin shaft gear box was very original for that time, the design that was associated with a transverse power unit. By the way, later this scheme transmission became widespread, and currently, it is practically unique in the global automotive industry.
Part of the produced machines (in particular, those intended for disabled people) equipped with semi-automatic transmission Hycomat. It resembled those which were equipped with the motorcycle Java-350, and IZH-Jupiter-4, which when the gear shift clutch automatic. However, on motorcycles it was a purely mechanical device, and on the car clutch operated hydraulic system with an Electromechanical unit for those years a very progressive decision.
Suspension although differed simplicity, but very perfect kinematics allow the car a good feel on asphalt and on dirt. Independent front suspension was a design stamped lower A-shaped wishbone and transverse leaf spring that performs the function of the top lever.
Independent rear suspension was carried out with the same transverse leaf spring, but its tubular diagonal arms were fastened to the body via a thick elastic rubber washer (now instead they used the rubber-metal joints (silent blocks).
Trabant was equipped with a steering pinion — light and quite accurate. Interestingly, in the Soviet Union rack and pinion steering mechanisms also originally appeared on the cars of small SZA, FDD, ZAZ-965, and only later was introduced to more solid cars (VAZ-2108, “Tavria” and the Muscovite-2141).
Oddly enough, but in the USSR machines from East Germany did not put, therefore on the details of their design judged only by hearsay. So, it was believed that the body of the car Trabant entirely molded from Duroplast, however, in reality, this composite material was made just facing the body panel and the car frame was welded of stamped steel pieces.
Attempts at production of plastic elements for cars and planes made repeatedly, but most used composites on the base of fiberglass in combination with polyester or epoxy resins. However, these materials, spatial elements had to be applied to the wall manually. This was fine with “small” aircraft industry. But for serial automotive production was good Duroplast, body panels which was carried out by a simple stamping.
Trabant P50—this front-drive two-door 18-strong small car from Zwickau came off the Assembly line in November 1958,
Trabant P50—this front-drive two-door 18-strong small car from Zwickau came off the Assembly line in November 1958
In the late 1960-ies saw the light of the two-door front-wheel drive Trabant P601 with a 26-strong engine working volume of 0.6 l
In the late 1960-ies saw the light of the two-door front-wheel drive Trabant P601 with a 26-strong engine working volume of 0.6 l
General view of the two-door sedan Trabant P601
General view of the two-door Trabant P601 sedan
Fire truck on the basis of the three-door station wagon Trabant P601 Kombi
Fire truck on the basis of the three-door station wagon Trabant P601 Kombi
General view of the three-door car Trabant P601 Kombi (station wagon)
General view of the three-door car Trabant P601 Kombi (station wagon)

Trabant P601 Tramp—a car with a simplified open body
P601 Trabant Tramp—a car with a simplified open body
Military variant of the small car Trabant P601 Kubel. As claimed, these vehicles were patrolling the Berlin wall of course, on the East side,
The army variant of the small car Trabant P601 Kubel. As claimed, these vehicles were patrolling the Berlin wall of course, with the Eastern side
The weight of the car Trabant with duroplasty panels was only 620 kg. When following owner’s instruction manual for car bodywork it could serve for decades. And yet — “uroplasty” technology allows us quickly to update the production process the appearance of the car, because the tooling for the pressing of the plastic panels was significantly cheaper than dies for the manufacture of metal body parts.
Subcompact two-door Trabant car was produced in several variants. The most popular was the universal Kombi and outdoor car simplified body Trabant Tramp. Produced and machine for the army — also with an outdoor, fabric awning is equipped with a simplified body called Kubel.
Starting with model “601” proposed configuration S and de Luxe, which had additional equipment — fog lights, rear lights, reverse lights, measuring the mileage of individual trips, etc.
At the time of its founding and in the first years of production of the Trabant almost did not stand out small car that time, equipped with two-stroke engines, and is quite consistent with international standards. Judge for yourself: most popular French people’s car was a Citroen-2CV 18-horsepower two-cylinder engine, the Italians went on the cars of small FIAT-500 and FIAT 600, Subaru launched the model “360” with a 16-horsepower engine, and the neighbors of Germany mastered sidecar BMW-Sally, HEINKEL-Kabine and Messerschmitt. And on their background a full quadruple front-wheel drive sedan (or wagon) Trabant two-stroke 18 HP engine, lightweight plastic body and a top speed of 90 km/h looked pretty decent.
However, in 1960-e years, as a gradual rejection of the noisy and polluting two-stroke engines and the General improvement of the car, Trabant quickly became obsolete, and in the second half of the 60-ies of the last century is finally behind the European level. However, the designers of Zwickau had high hopes to further improve the car. In the mid 1960-ies they took the prototype “603” with the new body and the rotary engine instead of a new car, they had to master the production version of the Tramp with an open body without doors. Some of these cars called Kübel enlisted in the army.
In 1968, the power of the engine of the Trabant was brought to 26 HP But the next major changes occurred only in 22 years.
However, at the turn of the 1970-ies of the German and Czechoslovak designers had begun to develop a new project of a modern people’s car — he was supposed to release in two countries. However, in 1973 the Politburo of the Socialist unity party of Germany, considered the question of the fate of the national car, mothballed work. The reason for this was newmanhaas the waiting list for these cars.
In the early 1980-ies was developed Trabant with a fuel injected motor and three-cylinder diesel engine that was spending on tests of only 4.5 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers. But this time money for the introduction of a new car, the government was not. And the reason for the refusal was the same — wanting to buy an old Trabant in East Germany is still quite enough.
Only in 1988 in Chemnitz (former Karl-Marx-Stadt) began preparations for a production of 1.1-liter engines from the VW Polo. A series of “Trabant 1,1 with a 41-horsepower engine and enhanced suspension launched 25 June 1990. However, the time of the East German minicar ended, until the spring of 1991, it was built only 39 thousand copies.
There were produced about three million Trabant cars, which puts them on a par with such specimens of the mass of the car, like the Ford T, Mini or VW Kafer (beetle). Trabant was exported as a socialist (mainly in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary), and in some capitalist countries (particularly in Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and even in England). Interestingly, in the Soviet Union these cars practically did not fall — as you can see, our leaders decided that for our country is enough local “Cossacks”. However, an important reason for minor exports was also a chronic shortage of cars in East Germany. So, to purchase a Trabant, a citizen of the GDR should join the queue and wait for permission to purchase this car sometimes up to ten years. However, for the Soviet people this is nothing out of the ordinary.
The layout of the car Trabant P601
The layout of the car Trabant P601

Interior of the small car Trabant P601
The interior of the small car Trabant P601
The instrument panel is installed under the steering wheel, gear lever
Instrument panel installed under the steering wheel gear lever
Police variant of the Trabant P601
A police variant of the Trabant P601
Underhood space of the vehicle Trabant P601
Hood space of the vehicle Trabant P601
Trabant 1,1—the last of the
Trabant 1,1—the last of the “Trabant” with an engine from a VW Polo with a working volume of 1.1 L. the factory in Zwickau was issued 39 thousand of these machines
Duroplasts resistance to body corrosion was allowed for years to use it in non -
Duroplasts resistance to body corrosion was allowed for years to use it in non – “front wheel drive” version
The last Trabant, descended from the conveyor 30 April 1991, made its last trip to the Museum of August Horch, having occupied in it one of the most honorable places. This car ended the era of separate existence of the two Germanys…
During the German socialism Trabi (as in the GDR was called the little car), while it was the object of jokes and anecdotes (as well as our “Zaporozhets”), but the average German still dutifully defended the allotted decade, in line to become the owner of the most affordable cars for him. In the process of operation attitude to the Trabi was twofold — on the one hand, it was hated stinking slow the bike started, and with another — the only and beloved machine. However, immediately after the unification of Germany in the Eastern sector are flooded though and used, but, nevertheless, incomparably more powerful, reliable and comfortable cars from the Western sector, which Mercedes to compete was not. The Germans any way they could to get rid of outdated cars, not without reason, tying them with the socialist era, and have gained the long-awaited VW Golf, Audi, BMW and Mercedes…
However, the hostility to Trabi very quickly turned to love. Today collectors cars very willing to buy different model years. In many countries, there are many fan clubs in the country, hosts numerous gatherings of owners of cars of small Trabant. Amateur master tuning with the fun construct of the “Trabant” limousine, vans, convertibles and even trucks.
By the way, fans of Trabant cars are happy to discuss the information that a group of German companies is planning to resume the production of cars under the same name — the Trabant. It will be an electric car, reminiscent of the classic Trabi. The first sample of the machine was demonstrated at the motor show in Frankfurt in September 2009. Serial production of electric vehicles Trabant PT is envisaged by 2012. Overall length of new items is 3.95 m, width — 1,69 m, height — 1,5 m, and the wheelbase is equal to 2.45 meters. Quintuple PT Trabant is equipped with a 63-horsepower electric motor and lithium batteries that provide the vehicle a range of 160 km. From a common household electrical outlet voltage 230 V battery can be fully charged in about eight hours, and if you use a network 380 At this time is reduced to two hours. In addition, on the roof of a vintage car is planned to install solar panels, powering on-Board electronics of the machine. According to the developers, the maximum speed will be 130 kilometers per hour.
Specifications baby car Trabant 601
Length, mm…………………… …………………..3510
Width, mm………………… …………………..1510
Height, mm……………….. ………………….1440
The front track, mm……….. …………………..1206
Rear track, mm…………… …………………..1255
Base, mm………………………. …………………..2020
Curb weight, kg …………..620-660
Ground clearance, mm… …………………….155
Drive ……………………….. …………..front
The location of the engine ………..cross
Engine capacity, cm3 ……500 (600)
Transmission………….. ……4-speed, manual
Maximum speed, km/h……………..100

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