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 12:00pm1/21/13 12:00pm


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 9:30am11/19/07 9:30am

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 3:45pm7/10/07 3:45pm

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

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 6:54am3/17/06 6:54am