Go Trabi Go!

Trabifest, Zwickau 2007-06-16 and 2007-06-17

Go Trabi Go
DVD’s of German-made “Go Trabi Go” movies
c/w Chinese-made model Tabant 601’s
and a litre bottle of Jagermeister, mmm…

I found myself at the 50th Anniversary Trabifest in Zwickau in the former East Germany back in June 2007. Not sure I fully understand the enthusiasm for these funny little cars – though I did find myself becoming bitten by the bug.  I guess there is a large cultural element to this phenomenon. It seems the humble Trabi has become another cultural icon. One enthusiast I met described the Trabi as, “A smile rising from a troubled past.”

They certainly are quite amusing little things, as these images will indicate… 

Golden Trabi
Trabant memorabilia – a golden Trabi 601 + a few Trabi books

Firstly, I managed to glean from some friendly Trabi enthusiasts that there is a heirchical distinction between the four-stroke models and the earlier two-stroke versions. Cars fitted with the Volkswagen-built four-stroke engine can be distinguished from earlier two stroke models by their larger rear light clusters. These came with the amazing modern innovation of built-in reversing lamps!

Two stroke rear view
Two stroke rear view
Two-stroke front view
Two-stroke front view

The four stroke-models also had asymmetric radiator grilles. However, I am reliably informed that the four-stroke versions are not considered to be”real Trabis” by the Trabant 601 cognoscenti. Real Trabis should sound like sewing machines and leave a trail of dense blue smoke behind them, apparently.

Four-stroke front. Note the grille only has slots down the vehicle's left side
Four-stroke front. Note the grille only has slots down the vehicle’s left side
Four-stroke rear view. Note the larger rear light clusters
Four-stroke rear view. Note the larger rear light clusters
Mmm, I love the smell of fresh Trabi in the morning!
Mmm, I love the smell of fresh Trabi in the morning!

Trabis are strange but endearing little machines. And the Trabi people? Well they are a funny old bunch too. I have often observed that if you put three hundred or more Germans into a relatively confined space and add copious quantities of German beer, then the mass-singing of traditional German oompah music will ensue. Nowadays, this is often punctuated by a rock band headed up by a very convincing David Hasselhoff clone. Yes The Hoff is still very big round these parts – remembered not for his roles in Baywatch or Knightrider, but for his Berlin Wall Concert in 1989, where he sang “Keep on Tabi-ing in a Free World!” – or something like that!

Certainly the popular notion that Germans don’t know how to enjoy themselves is total nonsense. These folks were having a wail of a time. And so did I…

Sachsenring (Trabant) Logo
Sachsenring (Trabant) Logo
A true Trabi enthusiast, this guy really has let his Trabi go to his head!
A true Trabi enthusiast, this guy really has let his Trabi go to his head!
But that is not a strange as these guys from the Eilenburg Trabi Fanclub that I secretly snapped in the massive beer tent, dressing up in their East German Army uniforms.
But that is not a strange as these guys from the Eilenburg Trabi Fanclub that I secretly snapped in the massive beer tent, dressing up in their East German Army uniforms.
But the local brew was excellent
But the local brew was excellent
And once you have downed a couple of litres of "Trabi Deluxe" beer, you could always buy a flashy paint-job and a "smiley" radiator grille for your smoky old pride-and-joy!
And once you have downed a couple of litres of “Trabi Deluxe” beer, you could always buy a flashy paint-job and a “smiley” radiator grille for your smoky old pride-and-joy!
Trabants leaving the show
Trabants leaving the show

Trabi links


Trabi 601 Combi police car
Trabi 601 Combi police car

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