It isn’t every day you see a Trabant 601 for sale in good condition. It’s even more rare to see the long-roofed ‘Universal’ version. Even rarer still to find one with the optional roof top tent from new when the car was built in 1988. Admittedly, over two million Trabi were built in-period, but so few of them reside here in the U.S. that it’s a real experience to see one in the flesh.
This is a truly weird car that will grab a lot of attention at the weekly cars and coffee or whatever, but won’t break the bank. If you’re into peacocking at car shows on a budget, this might be the ride for you. This was the East German equivalent of the Volkswagen Beetle, and for a while it was the most populous car of that country. The “duroplast” bodywork and DKW-based two-stroke drivetrain are both excellent talking points and major downsides of the car. You’ll definitely start some conversations with this one.
If you were interested in doing something truly mind blowing with this Trabant, maybe consider swapping that ancient and anemic two-smoker for a more modern Mazda rotary. The Trabant was originally designed to be driven by Felix Wankel’s spinning triangle cylinder, but the East Germans apparently weren’t good enough engineers to make it work. With just 1300-ish pounds to push around, any old rotary would do.
This thing is just so frickin’ adorable, and I’d love to drive it around as often as possible, but my garage is bulging at the seams and can’t fit another single thing in it. Seriously, it’s like a cartoon where Donald Duck is trying to shove small items into a closet, then puts one last thing in there with some effort, and it all comes exploding out on top of him. I don’t want to be like that. That’s not how I want to die.
So, we’ve established that this car is cool, it needs someone to rescue it, it probably needs a better motor swapped into it, and whoever buys it can’t be me. Is it going to be you?
Here’s the entirely too simplistic thing that the seller had to say about this car.
Trabant with roof tent.
If you don’t know what a Trabant is…Google it.
Driving a Trabant is an experience that brings a smile to everyone (inside the car, or spectators outside the car).
Please note, I had the tent out one day and had the cover off and the wind took the cover and blew it about a half mile away and made some holes in the cover. The tent canvas is in great shape however.
Car runs. Average condition. The brakes are a little squishy, needs a little TLC. I have some brake parts that came with the car from the previous seller.
Note…I had to list the car as a ‘81 for the VIN to work. It is actually an ‘88.
The car is located in Idaho.
Start heading to Idaho. You might beat me there. Bidding is, as of this writing, $4,000. Surely it’s worth more than that.