After the wall fell in 1989, the Trabant became the butt of many of those automotive jokes repeated in those moments when a good joke doesn’t come tom mind – the ones about doubling the value by adding a tank of gas, warming your hands on the rear defroster, and so many more that aren’t worth repeating. But put yourself back in East Germany in the 1960s: the pre-war looking Beetle was the most popular export, with its old-fashioned rear-mounted flat-four engine and lack of a proper trunk. Meanwhile, your half of Germany’s people’s car had modern styling, a lightweight body, front-wheel drive, and independent suspension. And with only half the displacement of the Beetle, the two-stroke twin punched above its weight, putting out 27hp to the Beetle’s 40. So now you probably want one of those charming relics of the Soviet era in Germany, and fortunately there’s this 1978 Trabant 601S Kombi for sale for $4500 in Hollywood, FL (also available at auction with no bids and a $3750 starting bid).
It’s nice to see someone doing this for love of the cars, because it doesn’t look like this is a money-making enterprise once you consider the costs to get it over to North America. That said, it isn’t registered yet, though it is titled, and it looks to be in very nice condition. It’s noticeable that the car has been detailed for sale, so you might find some of those rubber parts are faded, and there might be some scuffs in the exterior finish that aren’t readily visible.
The car is said to have been a weekend car for its Hungarian owner, which would contribute to the low stated odometer reading of 46,000km, though that’s probably on a 5-digit odometer. It’s said to have no major rust or holes, so it does have some surface rust and corrosion, and apparently runs well. There are no details given on service history, aside from a new 6v battery and a new set of tires.
The interior still retains its original seats. Unfortunately, the covers aren’t lifted for these shots, so you can’t see if those white door panels match the seats, or if the seats are in good condition. You can probably expect an upholstery pattern that looks like your German grandma’s couch, but for now we have to put up with plaid. The seller (who is Hungarian by birth) says that in Hungary, many of these are being taken to the junk yard, and he wants to try to save them. Perhaps he is making a decent return on his costs.
Can’t leave without a great shot of this Videoton radio, which seems to only receive AM (MW) and shortwave (KW) bands. Evidently, the company still exists in Hungary, in spite of the loss of the lucrative business supplying radios to Trabant owners. On this picture, you can also see the painted dash – forget a smooth finish, faux wood or plastic, you will take great joy in your black texturized painted duroplast. If you’re still interested, the seller has also provided a video of his car. While videos aren’t always helpful, they can get much closer to showing a car from various angles and in changing light, which helps to form a better idea of the condition. If you can’t decide between a scooter and a car to get around town, perhaps this compact 2-stroke wagon is the best compromise.