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Written by Garfield Lucas   

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

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...

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...

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 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 rear view. Note the larger rear light clusters

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

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 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!


Trabi links

Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 15:23



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