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Ever Heard of the Trabant, the East German "Spark Plug with a Roof"?

The Germans are technical geniuses and they have created some of the finest cars in the history of automobiles, including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW and Audi, just to name a few. These luxury vehicles are world-class and they bring esteem to those who are able to afford them.

At  Pomona Auto Body Collision Center , we fix German vehicles all the time, but to be honest--we had never even heard about the Trabant until now. I'm certain not many of them ever made it here to  Pomona , CA , because in the end only a few made it to this country.

The Trabant was produced from 1957 to 1990 by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony. Did this car lead to this carmaker's eventual demise? No one knows definitively, but it sure probably didn't help.

Many people see this vehicle as a symbol of the now defunct East Germany, and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc overall. The vehicle was known for being uncomfortable, plodding, loud and dirty. But, believe it or not, the Trabant was popular in East Germany prior to the destruction of the Berlin Wall, with a lengthy waiting period for the purchase of a new Trabant lasting more than 10-12 years, in many cases.

AutoBody-Review ever heard of the Trabant, the East German The Trabant had a hard plastic body, mounted on a single-piece all-steel unibody chassis, with  a transversely-mounted engine, front-wheel drive and independent suspension, features that were highly unusual for that era.

Called a "spark plug with a roof" by critics, the Trabant was produced for almost three decades with almost no noteworthy changes to its design. 3,096,099 Trabants were produced in total. Many of the older models of the car later became trendy among collectors in the U.S. due to their low cost and the fewer restrictions on importing antique cars. The Trabant also gained a following among car tuning enthusiasts and for use in rally racing and other motorsports.

With its roof, trunk lid, hood, fenders and doors made of hard plastic called Duroplast, the Trabant was made from recycled materials, including cotton waste from the USSR and phenol resins from the East German dye industry. This was truly the first car with a body made of recycled material. The substances used in the Trabant ended up being extremely durable and the average lifespan of the vehicle was approximately 28 years. The use of a fibrous reinforcing substance was in part responsible for the misconception that it was constructed out of cardboard – it was dubbed Zwickauer Rennpappe, i.e. "Zwickau racing cardboard".

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Sources: Wikipedia, Yahoo and Uncyclopedia

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