I am a bit surprised that some people from the West love that old Trabant. I understand that for them it is a fun car and it can be funny even by its basic shortcomings. However, the Trabant was a reality in the socialist countries for a long time, like in Hungary where an average citizen had to wait for a couple of years, after booking, for a Trabant, too. In Hungary Trabants still can be seen in the streets that pollute the air thoroughly, not speaking about the fact that it is not a safe car anyway.
In my eyes Trabant is simply the symbol of the misery of Communism.
This comment which is based on ignorance of the writer, is wrong.
1st) The pollution of a Trabant is less than that of a 4-stroke car of that time, because the temperature of the combustion is 150% higher than a regular engine.
2nd) Lots of people in former "Eastern Europe" don't see that as a negative period, especially the low educated class, whom have no chances in Western countries.
Don't try to convince us with your on nothing based, narrow minded typical Western view.
The Trabant is a symbol of Europe, and its history, and provides lots of people a good feeling.
This message comes from The Netherlands, Western Europe.
A very widespread problem of the modern human is the obsession of comparison. If you overcome it, you might discover the classic beauty of this car, the Trabant. Where does this so-called sophistication leads us? Are people happier because of it? I don't think so. The first thing that comes to my mind is that we are becoming prisoners of our belongings.
OK, your new BMW delivers 300-400 h.p., but what if it breaks on the road? You pop the hood, and find out that nothing looks familiar down there, crawling full of integrated circuits. It simply tells you 'Go away!'; you get isolated by yet another item in your life.
The best quality of Trabant is its simplicity. Like many of its drivers love to say 'It can't leave you on the road.' It is easy to understand what makes it move and it is easy to learn to maintain it. The mighty German engineers have created a wonderful masterpiece of simplicity. A car with character, which provokes a very special attitude towards it. If you understand something about mechanics and engines, go find one and look at it and soon you'll realise that it couldn't get much simpler than that.
Safety is another big issue here. Many people claim that Trabant is very unsafe car. Well, is it much safer with 300 KPH BMWs flashing around? Have you ever heard of someone, who was run over by Trabant, eh? The safety itself is not a quality of an object, it is a human attitude.
A satisfied and proud owner of Trabant Combi.
I had to put up with a smoking old Trabant for many years. I lived in east Germany. As soon as the wall came down, my Trabant was gotten rid of, a Mercedes taking it's place. It is all well and good for people who live in the West saying that they are good cars knowing that they could get rid of it anytime they wanted. In the East that was not an option. Trabants are hard cars to live with and they do not do justice to the word 'car'!
I have read these comments with interest. I can understand how people who lived under the former communist regimes are somewhat ambivalent in their attitudes towards the Trabant. I've never owned one, but did for a time own an MZ motorcycle, which without any doubts whatsoever was the best motorcycle I ever owned - simple to fix, even at the side of the road, e.g. to fix a rear wheel puncture requiring the removal of the wheel = 30 minutes. Doing same on a Honda CD175 90 minutes. If Trabant cars come any way near to the kind of simplicity of MZs, then they would get my vote, particularly if they're as reliable. I now own an ancient Reliant 3 wheeler, which are probably as near as anything that we had in Britain to the Trabant. People say that I'm a little odd, perhaps so, but I like to keep mechanical things simple - so I can fix them myself. By the way, I still use my East German toaster every morning, and do my ironing with my Iromat iron (East German) I bought 15 yrs ago. Toaster is easy to fix, I don't know about the iron, as it hasn't let me down yet. Whilst I wouldn't want to see a return of any repressive regime in this world, I would maybe like to see the return of some of the values of those societies that produced goods of simple efficiency, that can be repaired easily by non-specialists when and if they break down.
Sure, the Trabi was not the best, the cleanest or the safest car of its era. but it is still today a very fun, pretty and simple car to own and to drive. the large numbers still on the road today, when there are just as easily other cars to be had at similar prices, testlfy to the fact that people like them!
Think about it- You go to Geramny. How often do you see a 1960s merc on the road. Then you go to Hungary or Romania. How often do you see the Trabis?
The Trabant will forever live on as a true classic of its era.
I started driving on a Trabant. I loved it. I cannot imagine, why (except some marketing/rip-off reasons) should new cars be more 'sophisticated'. On a Trabant you can change the head gasket using one spanner. The two stroke engine stinks, but did anyone smell a catalysator-car when it's cold? They smell cyanides!
Recently (2003) in Hungary I have seen, which Eastern cars had survived: the Trabants are on the road. The rest are in scrap-yards.
The simplicity and character of the Trabi is definitely key to its appeal, but I must take issue with the commenter who tries to say the two stroke engine is less polluting than a similar era four stroke. It isn't. The two stroke engine may be simple and easy to look after, but clean it is not.
When I was small my parents had a trabant and we had a crash in it... on the motorway at 100km/h (almost top speed for a Trabant). the car was written off. We walked out from the overturned fiberboard wreck with ZERO injuries! Do not underestimate this car!
The attitude of the of some Easterners about the Trabant is not shared by all. In Hungary, the Trabant continues to be used by many, for some simply because it's cheaper than a newer more sophisticated car, but other really do love the car. I heard that Budapest was offering incentives to Trabant owners to trade in their Trabis for public transportation, but so far very few have taken advantage of this deal.
Back in Germany it seems to be a different story though, but there are still a few Trabis ringgggging around.