The Commies Were Serious About Selling Trabants To The West

In the summer of 2011, I was having a breakfast with my English friends at a posh restaurant on the bank of the Danube, and we started an argument about cars. That wasn't surprising, since after finishing our coffees, we were about to go on short road trip to Etyek, a wine region not far from Budapest. Two cars were… » 1/21/13 12:00pm 1/21/13 12:00pm

8x8 Tatra is worth Czech-ing out

Purchasing this eight wheel drive Tatra "Heavy Prime Mover" is almost guaranteed to draw groans on par with the worst puns from at least someone in your life. If you aren't concerned with the effect this Tatra will have on your personal relationships, wallet or property value and want to enter long term project car… » 3/19/11 10:00am 3/19/11 10:00am

Schnell! Trabant 601 Coming Through, Comrades!

Given that East German Trabant shoppers probably had to sit on a 10-year waiting list to buy one of the plastic two-strokers, it doesn't seem sensible to advertise the thing. » 8/01/10 1:00pm 8/01/10 1:00pm

Triumphant Win-A-Wartburg Essayist Promises To Install Studebaker Six,…

Remember the Win-A-Wartburg contest put on by the 24 Hours Of LeMons perpetrators, in which the winning "Why I Want A Wartburg" essayist gets a '58 Wartburg 311 and free LeMons registration? Here's the winner! » 9/05/09 3:00pm 9/05/09 3:00pm

Win A '58 Wartburg, Race It For Free At The 24 Hours Of LeMons!

How would you like to get your very own Warsaw Pact-built, proletariat-grade machine, equipped with a 3-cylinder/2-stroke engine with just seven moving parts… for free? » 8/05/09 8:00am 8/05/09 8:00am

East German Pride Is Alive And Flourishing On The Streets Of New York…

This is Down On The Street Bonus Edition, where we check out interesting street-parked cars located in places other than the Island That Rust Forgot. A Trabant down on the NYC street? You bet! » 12/15/08 2:30pm 12/15/08 2:30pm

Weed-Whacker In a Cardboard Box: NPR Drives The Trabant

You know those people whose Volvos have every single radio preset set to National Public Radio? So if you happen to be riding with them (at 4 MPH below the speed limit) you'll know in no uncertain terms that they never listen to anything, you know, unenlightened? Well, maybe this little story about aficionados of… » 11/19/07 9:30am 11/19/07 9:30am

Return of the Melkus: the RS2000

A year ago to the month, we first learned of plans to build a new version of the Melkus, a little-known East German sports car from the 1960s and 1970s with a plastic body and gullwing doors, that was powered by a Wartburg three-cylinder engine. Drawing on design cues from the RS1000, produced between 1969 and 1979,… » 10/15/07 7:57am 10/15/07 7:57am

Forget the VW Transporter: Hippie Barkas!

After helping us do an All-Czech Project Car Hell last week, our Czech Connection, bobash, now sends us some shots of a hippified Barkas B1000. See, an East German van is far more suitable for patchouli-scented adventures than its West German counterpart. We're starting to think it's time for a visit to the Czech… » 10/01/07 3:00pm 10/01/07 3:00pm

Ich Bin Ein Wartburg: History Of The Eisenach Wonder

We're quick to make fun of the Wartburg, but in fact the plastic-bodied two-stroke emblem of Warsaw Pact automotive misery was the descendant of an interesting lineage stretching back to the 1890s. The tale of the Wartburg starts with the mighty car-building prowess of Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach AG, then twists and turns… » 7/10/07 3:45pm 7/10/07 3:45pm

Der Neue Wartburg 1000!

Straight outta Eisenach, the three-cylinder/two-stroke Wartburg 1000! You'll hit the target with this car, all right, provided your target is shoddy Iron Curtain construction, miserable performance, and a cloud of oil smoke in your wake. Still, we like the Wartburg and its goofy proletariat-ness. » 7/09/07 3:30pm 7/09/07 3:30pm

The Saddest Hoon is a Wartburg Man

We've seen more pathetic attempts at hoonage, but never buy a guy who was trying so hard. Unfortunately, our man here was forced to saddle a Wartburg as his steed, and not one of the cool ones. We ache for him. We ache for Wartburg. We ache for East Germany. We ache for Raymond Carver. » 6/22/07 6:15pm 6/22/07 6:15pm


Who wouldn't want a Duroplast-bodied East German runabout after seeing this spot? The Trabant is obviously for modern people like ourselves. Let the capitalist swine on the Westside rot while we roll in communist comfort. Make ours a wagon, bitte. » 6/19/07 7:00pm 6/19/07 7:00pm

Trabant Celebrates Fifty Candle Power

While it may seem hard to believe, the two-stroke paper mache cotton by-product and resin bodied Trabant had a more than thirty year production run in the former Soviet East Germany. A whopping 25 glorious worker's horsepower brought the agitprop runabout to 60 miles per hour in 21 seconds! Top speed of 70 mph was… » 5/25/07 3:00pm 5/25/07 3:00pm

Hoon of the Day: Trabant Haze

At the end of a hard day, is there really anything more relaxing than huffing some pre-mix and Duroplast resin and engaging in some country road rubber smoking action in your East German relic? If there is, these blokes obviously haven't found it. » 2/28/07 10:45pm 2/28/07 10:45pm

5 Passengers and 57 Footballs: Wartburg!

A while back, the esteemed Murilee Martin brought us a gem of a find: the Wartburg 1000. Now we bring you another shiny diamond, like the eyes of Katarina Witt in the black and blue: yes, it's the Wartburg 1000! With room for 57 soccer balls in the trunk and five passengers in the cabin, der Wartburg 1000 ist echt… » 2/28/07 9:30pm 2/28/07 9:30pm

Representing The East Side: The Wartburg

The Trabant got all the press when the Berlin Wall fell, but let's not forget the other fine automotive products of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. The Wartburg was exported to much of Western Europe during its heyday, and this vintage (German-language) ad shows off some of its better features: Flathead… » 2/14/07 5:07pm 2/14/07 5:07pm

Inspiration From the Bodega: More Trabantamino!

We didn't see his face. From the back, we would judge he was in his mid-to-early '60s. But there he was, standing there at the other cash register at the bodega, silver-gray buzzcut, jeans, tennies and a satin jacket that read, "The Heartbeat of America. Chevrolet." Below that? The joyous El Camino logo embroidered… » 1/31/07 4:00pm 1/31/07 4:00pm

Melkus Sports Car Update: Coming in 2008?

The blokes at Motor Authority bring us an update on the new generation of Melkus sports cars in the works, a story first reported earlier this year. Back in the days of Checkpoint Charlie, when Eastern Bloc "people's cars" were made of papier m ch and powered by tractor engines, East German car builder Heinz Melkus… » 10/09/06 11:39am 10/09/06 11:39am

East Germany Bound and Down: Wartburg-Powered Melkus Sports Cars Set…

The practice of specialty carbuilders reviving sports-car names of old has taken a turn for the East. The family of Heinz Melkus — who back in Iron Curtain days built sports cars powered by the gnarly three-cylinder, two-stroke engines of the people's Wartburg line — has a plan to build a new version of the RS1000, a… » 3/17/06 6:54am 3/17/06 6:54am