Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links! Thanks also to 357 Magnum and Moonbattery for the linkbacks. Also, our good friend in Rule Five links over at The Other McCain, Wombat-Socho, is having somme health issues. If you can, give him a hand.
And to all my brothers and sisters who have served, have a safe and restful Veteran’s Day.
Today, let’s have a look at one of the worst cars ever made, and a typical fruit of Communism: The Trabant. Excerpt:
The smoke-belching Trabant, affectionately known as the “Trabi” to people who never had to drive one, debuted in East Germany in November 1957. Initially, the car was not a disaster, at least not entirely. In fact, it had some enviable attributes for its era. Its much-mocked duroplast body was an innovation at the time of its introduction. The vehicle’s front-wheel-drive transmission system and independent suspension were also modern advancements, one Trabant driver notes.
That, however, is where the vehicle’s virtues stop and its problems begin.
It wasn’t that the Trabant had a weak two-stroke engine, though it did. It wasn’t just that the Trabant was made with recycled waste (usually from wool or cotton), though it was. It wasn’t that Trabants topped out at 60 mph and “smoked like an Iraqi oil fire,” as one writer put it.
No, the Trabant’s biggest problem was that it never really improved. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the 1957 Trabant had no tachometer, no turn signal, no seat belts or fuel gauge, no trunk liner, and used an oil/gas mix. The fact that these basic amenities were still missing when Taylor Swift was born is a bit more surprising. Indeed, when the last Trabant was produced in 1989 it still topped out at about 60 mph, which it took 21 seconds to reach from a stop. The Aston Martin Virage, which debuted the same year, took 6.5 seconds.
In other words, a piece of shit. Typical of consumer products from Communist countries.
When I was temporarily stationed in Germany during the 1996-97 Balkans dust-up, an Army buddy of mine had bought a Trabant, just for a lark. He actually drove it around, and spent a fair amount of time lamenting how hard it was to find parts. I rode in it once. The body felt like pressed cardboard – with good reason, since that’s essentially what it was. The engine could have easily been replaced by a couple of monkeys on a treadmill. The interior was cramped, the seats were horribly uncomfortable, the entire thing was just hideous.
My buddy was fond of showing it off with the line: “See what Commies can build?”
He wasn’t wrong. And it’s important to note that the Trabant was built by Germans, a people with a long tradition of building fine machinery. Think on that.