Saturday, April 13, 2024

“Rennpappe” is becoming a cult object

Hida Winkle is a tech blogger from Ohio with a degree in mass communication and a gift for writing. She is the editor-in-chief of Hida’s favorite subjects are technology and building art. She is also a huge fan of Anime and Manga.


March 4, 2024

By André Weikard

Reading time: approx. 2 minutes

Laughed at, sold off, forgotten? Not anymore, after 60 years the Trabi is driving more and more frequently on Germany’s roads.

imago 91208464

The Trabant is celebrating a secret comeback on Germany’s roads as part of the Ostalgie trend.
Photo: imago images / ZUMA Press /Slavek Ruta

What the Trabant was mocked for. The GDR standard car was sometimes decried as a “plastic bomber” and sometimes as “racing cardboard” because of the materials used. There was never any talk of the Trabant anyway, but then of its trivialization as a “Trabi”. A joke on four wheels. And yet the possession was longed for by many. The GDR’s state economy was unable to build enough cars to meet the growing demand among the population. As a result, sometimes ten years passed between ordering and delivery of the small car. In 2024 the Trabant will turn 60 and is celebrating a secret comeback.

Technically never on par with western models

But from the beginning. When it was presented in 1964, the Zwickau-made Trabi was still considered contemporary. The GDR magazine “Der Deutsche Straßenverkehr” praised the design as being in keeping with “international taste”. Crank windows and push-button door handles were the latest craze. “With the amount of space in the interior, the Trabant 601 is at the top of comparable vehicles on an international scale,” the magazine even claimed. The technical performance data was also modest for that time. A two-stroke engine with initially just 23 hp, air cooling and a top speed of 100 km/h was no match for comparable western models even back then. For comparison: The NSU Prinz 4, introduced in 1961, already produced 30 hp.

You might also be interested in: Audi A8: Gerhard Schröder’s company car celebrates its birthday

Engineers rely on thermoset due to a lack of foreign currency

However, the Trabi’s bodywork caught the attention of numerous scoffers. Because there was a lack of foreign currency and raw materials for metal, the GDR engineers switched to thermoset. A material made from Soviet cotton and phenolic resin from brown coal tar, as Bernd Cyliax, a former employee of Trabi manufacturer VEB Sachsenring, explained to the German Press Agency on the occasion of the anniversary. The disadvantage: Pressing thermoset plastic is much slower than sheet metal production. That is why it was not possible to significantly increase the number of units in the following years.

A used Trabi was more expensive than a new one

Instead, the special technical route caused a car shortage in the GDR. The few Trabis available were so popular that used car prices were often higher than those for new cars. However, with the change, prices plummeted. Car dealerships popped up on every corner in the new federal states and brought VW, Opel & Co. to the new German citizens. The Trabi became a slow seller overnight and production stopped shortly after reunification in 1990. The 2.8 million Trabis that rolled off the assembly line suddenly disappeared from the street scene.

Source link

4.2/5 - (44 votes)

Leave a Reply

Latest News

More Articles Like This