1. Mithras

    Mithras Newbie

    Hello, everyone. Just wanted to intoduce myself.

    Name is Alex. At the moment, I am in the process of preparing to trade in my current vehicle (A mini) and go looking for another, once our finances are in order. For some reason, I've always liked unusual vehicles, and of course, the Trabant (along with other Eastern Bloc vehicles) does appeal to me. Forgive my ignorance about many mechanical issues: if it doesn't have tracks and it wasn't made before a certain date, I'm somewhat helpless, though I am learning.

    I had a few basic, newbie questions about the Trabant and other Eastern Bloc cars.I hope you'll forgive their naivete. Essentially, I was looking at the Trabbi for some time, and then I mentioned it on Facebook. A friend told me it would be a terrible idea, and because that friend is sometimes a bit overly judgmental about this kind of thing, I almost treated it like a dare;)

    The Trabant appeals to me because of my Eastern European heritage and because, well... I actually like the design of the car. The weird mix of Art Deco, Boxyness, and 50s sensibilities.Don't know why. Just does.

    So, that said... a few basic questions.

    It seems to me that this car is actually a fairly safe car to drive, and that those who say otherwise are probably the kind who believe it's built of cardboard or perhaps overly worried about the position of the fuel tanks....

    That in mind, a few concerns I did have. Hope you might be able to shed some light.

    1.Is the Trabant available -with- a fuel gauge?If not, is it possible to find one and have it installed?
    2. Are the cooling fluids, etc, required for the Trabant difficult to acquire in the US?
    3. I go to San Diego twice weekly, a trip of about seventy miles. Is the Trabant safe for Highway driving?
    4. I know this sounds silly. Just how bad is the noise inside the car. Is it worth putting a radio in, or is it an exercise in futility?
    5.The fuel oil mix... May I ask what it is? 80/20, something like that? Something I could mix at the pump, or?
    6.I live in Southern California. Are these things climate friendly? Does the climate control do any good?

    Finally, I'm relatively new to Manual drive. Is this a difficult car to drive? One review I read indicated that it was not, and in fact claimed it was one of the easier manual cars to operate. Is that accurate?


    Thanks, and again, I apologize for my naivete.

    As an aside...I note you also discuss other Eastern Bloc/WARPAC cars here.So here's a doozie. Dad was Hungarian. If I wanted to find an Hungarian car from before the end of the Cold War, are there any surviving vehicles? What should I look for? As I understand it, MAVAG went under after WW2, so that's probably not an option;)

    -Alex
  2. Justin

    Justin Owner Administrator

    Hey Alex! Welcome to the site!

    1.Is the Trabant available -with- a fuel gauge?If not, is it possible to find one and have it installed? - Yes, later models do and the 1.1 does, by later I mean more like later 80's...I'm too lazy to look up what year exactly :)
    2. Are the cooling fluids, etc, required for the Trabant difficult to acquire in the US? - the 2 cylinder, 2 stroke requires no cooling fluids....just gas and 2 stroke oil....gear oil and brake fluid are pretty standard...The 1.1 is a standard VW Polo motor.
    3. I go to San Diego twice weekly, a trip of about seventy miles. Is the Trabant safe for Highway driving? - I drive mine on the highway as do many others....is it the safest car in the world? No, but there are a lot of people who have survived some pretty terrible accidents in them.
    4. I know this sounds silly. Just how bad is the noise inside the car. Is it worth putting a radio in, or is it an exercise in futility? I have a radio in mine, they aren't quite, but with decent speakers you can hear it fine....some models came with radios
    5.The fuel oil mix... May I ask what it is? 80/20, something like that? Something I could mix at the pump, or? This can spark a big debate and it's happened a lot on here....I run 50:1, others prefer 40:1....if you get the car, you can join the argument and see what works best for you
    6.I live in Southern California. Are these things climate friendly? Does the climate control do any good? By climate are you referring to things like A/C or emissions? If it's A/C, the car doesn't have it...if it's emissions, since it's 2 stroke (except the 1.1's), then that's a big no.....They are 10 times more polluting than your normal car...many big European cities have banned them....but based on the age of the car, even in CA, you shouldn't have issues getting it registered if that's your concern.

    Finally, I'm relatively new to Manual drive. Is this a difficult car to drive? One review I read indicated that it was not, and in fact claimed it was one of the easier manual cars to operate. Is that accurate? - I've been driving manual for a while, but this car is pretty easy and can take a lot.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Mithras

    Mithras Newbie

    It does. Thank you, sir!

    In regards to A/C, One review said there was some kind of "cold air blower" system. Maybe that's simply East German slang for "well, it sucks in cold air from outside"?
  4. Justin

    Justin Owner Administrator

    Haha yeah. That's pretty much it. There was a sirokko option for heat, but that's about it.
    Mithras likes this.
  5. Mithras

    Mithras Newbie

    Gotcha.Figured it was that or someone misunderstanding the meaning of the "air cooled engine" concept;)
  6. Caleb

    Caleb Loyal Comrade

    Welcome to the forum!
    I just wanted to chime in on the driveability of the manual car. I can tell you that I had almost no experience with driving a manual before getting the Trabant. After only a couple practice sessions with my extremely patient wife I was comfortable enough to start out into traffic with almost no difficulty. It really is pretty simple. I would think its a little easier than most modern manual transmissions since like Justin said it can take a lot, but also, with the shift being on the column you can see what you are doing as you change gears without really losing site of the road. To me it made it a little easier. Good luck!
    Mithras likes this.
  7. tricken

    tricken Loyal Comrade

    yep justin nailed all the questions
    i would maybe avoid the freeway in a 2 stroke yes you can but i have driven in ca and a 60 mph top speed is scary when every one else is near 80 plus.
    a 1.1 maybe be the answer more power, and has a gas gauge and less pollution.
    driving one is a easy once you you know how to shift the pattern is a bit odd but you will nail it down.
    Mithras likes this.
  8. michiel76

    michiel76 Loyal Comrade

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  9. Mithras

    Mithras Newbie

    Thanks for the info, folks. Very much appreciated. The 1.1 is the model I'd want to look for then? Sorry, still very new to this.
  10. JASONCHAD

    JASONCHAD Trabi Meister Forum Donor

    The 1.1 was the Trabant model after the wall came down it was equipped with a VW 4 stroke, so to me it kind of looses the charm of driving a 2 stroke trabant...but that is a personal preference. You would have a tougher time finding one though. I have only ever seen one sold state side.
  11. Ron

    Ron Premium Member Forum Donor

    I can second the 'easy to drive' comments.

    A Trabant feels very natural to drive after a short time, and other cars will feel very dull afterwards! The gear shift makes perfect sense (I have never understood the trend away from column shift, they free up a lot of space), and is a very light action. The brakes are good (if in good repair), and will stop the car quickly, you just need to get used to the lack of servo assistance.

    To my mind, the 1.1 wouldn't quite be the same... a well sorted two-stroker is an absolute joy, reliable and very economical, but most importantly full of character! I rarely push mine over the 55mph mark, just in the interests of preservation really (she does 250 miles a week for work, and sometimes out at the weekends too... prepare to become addicted/obsessed...!), but I know she would happily sit at 60 on the motorway if needed.

    Welcome to the forum, Justin and others on here have been a great help to me so you're in the right place, look forward to seeing how you get on!
  12. michiel76

    michiel76 Loyal Comrade

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