DEAD AS A DODO..
The Trabant was the Soviet response to the Volkswagen Beetle, but is better known as the worst car ever made. This may have something to do with it being out of production for 20 years. Assembled in Zwickau, East Germany, and with the lack of competition that only Communist economies enjoy, the design of the car remained unchanged for almost 40 years.
From 1957 to 1990 just over three million of these cars were produced. But when the Berlin Wall fell the Trabant didn’t stand a chance of competing against West German automobiles and the factory soon closed forever. Their reputation for falling apart and spewing a nosebleed-inducing exhaust smell made the little plastic cars unpopular; but on the plus side they were dirt cheap and easy to fix … Lovie and OJ bought their first Trabant in 2006 for only 60 dollars!
The Trabant has a two-stroke 600cc engine; a grown man can lift one out of the car himself. Your lawnmower or inflatable dingy may share this impressive characteristic. ‘Two-stroke’ means you mix oil into the petrol in order to keep the engine from seizing. Thus the team had to lug two 50-gallon drums of oil around in their trunk. The Trabant’s 26-horsepower engine is about as powerful as five blenders set to “puree”.
After the Second World War there was a shortage of steel so the shell was made of plastic … or to be more specific, compressed cotton waste from the old Soviet textile industry. Very little metal used in the actual frame of the car. Knowing that one is essentially swathed in cotton isn’t a very comforting thought when one is barreling down on a cow at 80km/hr with shoddy drum brakes as one’s only means of avoiding a messy collision.