ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Beauty of the Trabant

Updated on January 10, 2013
A Trabant in classic baby blue
A Trabant in classic baby blue | Source

The Trabant has been one of the most beloved cars to come out of the former Soviet bloc, if not the most loved. The noisy 2 stroke engine and the masses of pure black exhaust that the little car produced still brings about nostalgia amongst many people in the former Eastern Bloc nations.

Although Trabant was designed and made in the former East Germany, where creative innovation was mostly frowned upon, the little Trabant's looks and design are more unique than any "new and improved" super cars of today. In fact, all modern cars seem to look identical, there being hardly any with a trademark look. The Trabant can easily be identified not only by its look, but also by its sound.

The body of the Trabant was made of a fiberglass like material that did not rust, making 30-40 year old cars look like new even today. The small fins on the back and the trademark round headlights give the car a friendly appearance. I have yet to meet anyone who said they outright hated Trabant.


Trabant
Trabant | Source

There are many Trabant clubs throughout Europe nowadays. Many of these cars are now pimped out with strong motors and spoilers and take part in races and rallies. This is still a car that can be fixed simply by using some wire and a paperclip, unlike the computerized beasts of today which require an IT expert instead of a mechanic.

So, if you even have the chance to sit in one of these gems, the opportunity should not be missed. The ride might be bumpy, noisy and smelly, but it will be memorable. Also, we shouldn't forget that during communism consumers had to wait for years to get one of these cars as demand greatly outstripped production speeds for all cars manufactured in the Bloc. One was much prouder and happier to finally get a Trabant, or Skoda, or Lada, or Wartburg (if not necessarily in the color they asked for) than most people are now with a super charged engine that can be bought at any time.

Other Eastern Bloc Cars

The Trabant was not the only classic car to come out of communist countries. Let's stay with East Germany first. Another car from this country was the Wartburg. Although this car did not have the unique look of a Trabant it was bigger and better for families. Wartburg's also spewed out the black exhaust of a Trabant, but at least you had more leg space in which to inhale the fumes.

The classic Wartburg grill
The classic Wartburg grill | Source

A main feature of the Wartburg was the grill that was available on some models, such as the one above. This was available on the "De Luxe" model. It must be noted that "De Luxe" Wartburgs had the same engine as a normal one. Only the body looked different. In a communist society where everyone was supposedly equal and everyone made the same amount of money, manufacturers and designers couldn't go overboard with new models in order to avoid social tensions in a "classless" society.

The Skoda is still around today and is owned by Volkswagen and is manufactured in the Czech Republic. The Skoda we are interested in is from communist times, and was from the former Czechoslovakia. This didn't look much different from a Wartburg, but was much more sought after die to its better construction and stronger engines.

Brothers: A Skoda on the left and a Wartburg on the right
Brothers: A Skoda on the left and a Wartburg on the right | Source
Skoda: still rollin'
Skoda: still rollin' | Source

The Moskvich was also a popular Soviet car. This is one of my personal favorites. You can still see many driving around the former Soviet Bloc with normal hand done paint jobs done with a paint brush. A favorite for this car was also what I like to call a shade of "communist green", as seen below.

Moskvich in "communist green"
Moskvich in "communist green" | Source

The last sedan I'll be dealing with is the Soviet Lada. This was also much sought after throughout the communist bloc because of the toughness of its construction. It was built to handle the notoriously bad Soviet roads and could thus take a lot of abuse. In fact, there are still many Lada's in Cuba. These are probably the most modern cars in the country as they were imported in the 1970s and 1980s, which is still 20 odd years newer than the American old-timers many Cubans still drive.

Lada: tough as nails
Lada: tough as nails | Source

Another Soviet car is the UAZ, which was mainly used by the military and with plumbers and construction workers. These were also built to last. Although they look like Twinkies on wheels, they are a lot stronger.

UAZ: Twinkie on wheels
UAZ: Twinkie on wheels | Source

Finally, we come to arguably the cutest car in my list: The Polski Fiat. This was a car manufactured on a license from Fiat of Italy. The Polish version was very popular as it was cheaper than most others simply because of its very small size. The engine is in the back. During summer there were Polski Fiat's pulled over on the shoulder of roads all over the region with the back hood up to cool the engine, which easily overheated. Just fitting into the car was a challenge in itself, especially for larger people. Despite all this, these cars are still seen on the roads throughout the former Soviet bloc, although less and less commonly. These cars will all hopefully end up in museums throughout the region. They were meant to be "people's" cars, and that they were.

Polski Fiat
Polski Fiat | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ttravis5446 profile image

      ttravis5446 4 years ago from U.S.

      Great Article. I have only seen a couple of Trabants in person, but I have a huge respect for them. I also love the UAZ vans after watching the "Long Way Around" tv series.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)