Often-Weird Tuner Vilner Actually Made a Pretty Charming Trabant

Vilner is one of those tuning/customizing houses that often does some questionable stuff, like that Mustang with real horse fur and skin and a fetishy Samurai-style Mitsubishi. Now, they’ve taken a humble little Trabant Commie-cruiser and made it, well, pretty damn charming.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Trabants; sure, they’re awful, but considering what they had to work with and the incredibly limited resources available, the thing is an absolute triumph.


This particular Trabi is one of the last ones, where they swapped the smoky two-stroke with a 1.1-liter four-stroke from a Volkswagen Polo. It’s much more refined, and a bit more powerful, but we’re still talking 45 horses here, so you can relax and not worry about accidentally blasting yourself into a low orbit.

The basic design theme for this seems to be take that lovely blue plaid vintage fabric and slap it all over the car, inside and out.

Really, that’s pretty much it—there’s some LED lights and the number “21” stuck all over the car because the owner likes it, but, really, this is an exercise in applying plaid to surfaces, and, you know what, that seems to be all that’s needed.


Look at that—headliner, seats, dashboard, doorcards, shift knob, shift boot—all cornflower blue plaid, and yet somehow it’s not too much—it’s so much that it all just works.


Look up a few pics and see how the wheels are plaid? Love it. Look, the roof, too:


Hell yeah, why not? Have fun! Go full plaid! Apologize to no one! Plaid the fuck out of that thing!


Yeah, that’s it. Plaid.


Plaid, motherrespecters! Plaid!



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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)