Sunday, 3 July 2011

I Dream of Trabants..

So.. Germany then. What a country, and what a past to deal with. Before long we'll hear mention of 'the German agony'.. that's the sound of loads of Germans working out what to think about everything that's gone on in the past century.

But let's start with the simple stuff. How about the Trabant? The two-stroke workhorse - if you could get one - of the DDR. I once drove into West Berlin in 1986 past that T-34 on the transit route surrounded by Trabis heading East. I'd never seen more than one of them in the same place at the same time in real life before but I'd seen Wartburgs and my mum had a DAF van, so they were like a DAF with a totally underpowered two-stroke engine... and er.. no belt drive. That DAF belt drive really was shit, all you DAF engineers out there. Anyway, nostalgia being such a big thing now, visitors to Berlin can hire a Trabant and drive round recreating the days of the DDR, along with eating the food and being spied upon (see: DDR Museum). Wild and crazy stuff, including the safari Trabi and versions in leopard print and rude luscious pink.

No fancy paintjob however can make up for the dismalness of the Trabant's performance (0-60 in perhaps fifty years.. by the time you get up to that kind of speed someone's put a wall across the road) so this is clearly a ride for the over-nostalgic with too much money and absolutely no sense of irony.

Instead I would recommend a real-life 'of-the-time' Eastern European film which shows guys with the bonnet up on one of these things trying to get it to start with two feet of snow on the ground. Imagine racing to make the ferry in one of these? Oh yeah.. that's not what people in the DDR did, is it...

1 comment:

  1. We had a dark green Wartburg. Made a terrible racket. Made way in the end for a Sunbeam Rapier. No one missed the Wartburg...