The Trabant has only ever once been in the spotlight and even then it was for all of the wrong reasons. Its brief moment of fame came in the late 1980s when it became a symbol of the final crumbling of the communist bloc. Thousands of these boxy, smoky little saloons were to be seen crossing the border into west with the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. There impact on popular conscious was so large at the time that they even ended up being featured heavily in a U2 pop video. The roots of the model can be traced back to the late forties as the Zwickau and the restyled Trabant P50 from 1956. Its air cooled two stroke front wheel drive running gear topped by a Duraplat body built on a tubular frame and owners had to put with poor performance no more than 65mph, and a clumpy geabox. The most familiar of the breed is the 601 which came as a saloon, estate and a military style open topped utility.
When the drifty two stroke engine was outlawed in reunified Germany the last Tabants were built with Volkswagen Polo engines in 1990-91, but by then the car had become unsaleable in the commercial marketplace in any form and the Trabant name died. Most cars have a band of enthusiasts somewhere that try desperately to keep the car alive running and that is even true for the Trabant, a car that no one could claim was popular when it was actually being produced.