Everyday life with the Trabant

Where everything started. You applied for a car. There weren't showrooms, price lists etc. So You wanted a car and asked for it at the right company. In Hungary it was called Merkur, in other countries it was knwon otherwise. If You had more money You'd have applied for a Wartburg or a Lada or if You were rich enough, a Skoda. Then the Dacia became another option for the big family car.
Yes there were other obscure makers, such as Zastava in Yugoslavia (later Yugo fame), Zaporoshetz from the Sovietunion (powered by a tank-starter engine) etc.
This picture shows one of the Merkur plants. If You download the bigger picture You can see in the second row a few Zaporoshetz, in the background GAZ 4wd vehicles, and among the Trabants a few other East European makes.

Trabant in traffic

Trabi at countryside Trabi at a traffic jam

We didn't have proper roads to deal with big traffic. The traffic jam caption isn't proper. We didn't have American or English-type jams. They were much smaller. During the last couple of years the roads became more and more crowded and now we get used to the traffic jams.
Trabants were the most common sights on the road for decades and although new emission rules forcing them out, they won't disappear easily.

And when everything was all over, dismantled, several parts transplanted to other cars.

During the life of the Trabant there were several individuals who tried to convert their two-stroke into a four-stroke, long before the Trabant 1.1 with a Polo engine debuted. The most popular option was the Fiat 128 engine. This car is one of the converted models.
The 1.1 lived a short life in the midst of the changing regimés.
It was more square, robust. Luckily it was canceled in 1990. Attempts to assemble them at Egypt or other part of Africa failed (to my best knowledge). Latest rumor as of September, 1997 is that an American company with a base in Usbekistan bought the manufacturing rights and they are willing to produce it in Usbekistan, perhaps as a rival to Daewoo!

Copyright © September, 1996-1997.

Pal Negyesi npaul@hu.inter.net