Trabant 601 LS

Cult object for young people, a matter of necessity for the older generation. The Trabant is the ’people’s car’ of post-war communist East Germany, the German Democratic Republic (DDR).

Production started in Zwickau in 1958, in the former Auto Union factory that had been nationalised after WWII. The name ‘Trabant’ was chosen a year earlier as the winning entry in a contest; on the one hand Trabant means ‘companion’, and on the other hand the name ‘Erdtrabant’, refers to the Soviet Union’s first satellite, the Sputnik.

Although the car became affectionately known as ‘Trabi’, for the East Germans it was an essential means of transport, as they were not allowed to import Western vehicles. The Trabant was a very basic car with a pre-war DKW-designed twin-cylinder two-stroke engine. Initially the engine produced 15 hp. The bodywork was made of lightweight Duroplast, which gave this later 26 hp model a reasonable top speed of 105 km/h (65 mph).
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the Trabant acquired cult status.

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