The Trabant


East German Trabant ' Satellite ' ( inspired by Soviet Sputnik ) now a collectors item


The Trabant is an automobile formerly produced by East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring

Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony. It was the most

common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to

countries both inside and outside the communist bloc. It had a two stroke engine. There were

waiting lists for years to get one in East Germany .



 1993 Top Gear about the Trabant

The Trabant 500 was produced from 1957-1963 . The Trabant 601 was produced from 1963 to

1989. The last Trabant was made in 1991 .Fenders and doors were made

of Duroplast. In the early 1990s it was possible to buy a Trabant for as

little as a few marks, and many were given away. Later, as they

became collectors' items, prices recovered, but they remain very cheap cars.

Green Trabants are especially popular as they are said to bring good luck.



The first part is a 70s commercial for the Wartburg 1000, which was produced in Eisenach, East Germany.

It was the "better' and more expensive car for East Germans compared to the much simpler and cheaper Trabant (Trabbi or "Rennpappe" which translates to "Cardboard Racer", a race (car) made out of cardboard paper, because the chassi of the Trabant was not made of Metall, like any other car at that time, but 'composite materials' and I am not talking about the kind of 'composite materials' that were used for cars like the "Vector" and other high end and custom build sports cars).

There were not much other choices anyway. You might have been able to get a Russian "Lada", a Czech "Skoda", an even worse Russian Moskwitsch (pronounced like Mosqwitsch, alternative spellings: Scaldia, Moskvitch, Moskwitsch, Moskvich, Moszkvics) and if you were really lucky, one of the few French Citroën GSA Pallas and Renaults (I think the 209) or Japanese Mazdas 323 FF (1980-1988) that were imported into East Germany.

The second part shows the East German "Trabant" factory of Sachenring Zwickau and answers the question (in pictures), why the people in East Germany had to pre-order their car 10-15 years before the order was actually fulfilled by the manufacturer. One of the worst examples of high demand and horrible supply.

Here is an interesting link to a Wartburg webpage with pictures and details to all Wartburg models, prototypes and customizations, such as the rare Wartburg Melkus, the equivalent of a Ferrari Enzo (yes, THAT one) for East Germans. It was at least as hard to get one of those Melkus as it is to get an Enzo today.


History of Wartburg 353 1966-1991 and prototype.



toy trabants




Trabant t shirts




 East German

Sports Program


map of East Germany

Population of East Germany