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The Trabant was first produced in 1957, at the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke in Zwikau. Until 1990 a total of 3,096,099 cars were produced. After ordering one, it could take up to 20 years before the car acually got delivered. The first types had a small two-stroke engine and were famous for their heavy pollution and rather high fuel consumption (7l/100km). That the car's frame was made out of coardboard however wasn't really true..
As downgrading the Trabant (see our Tim Trabi) was as easy as eating an apple, not all of the assumptions were correct. It was the most common vehicle in former East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the Warschau Pact countries. The main selling points were that it had room for four adults and luggage in a compact, light and durable shell; it was fast and it was durable. The lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years!
The name for the car was chosen in an internal contest in 1957, the year of the Sputnik, the first artificial satellite. In German, a Trabant is an astronomical term to denote a moon or other natural satellite of a celestial body.In its Slavic origin, Trabant has the same meaning as the Russian word Sputnik, namely companion.
As I mentioned before, it was said that the frame of the Trabant was made out of cardboard. Of course these were the stories told by the West Germans in order to ridicule the Ossies (East Germans). They were actually made of Duroplast. This was a hard plactic, almost similar to Bakelite and made of recycled materials. These recycled materials could also be paper, hence the misunderstanding.
Ekstur managed to get some authentic riveted suitcases from the Czech Republic. They have been produced since 1926 and their meassurements make them perfectly suitable for interior decoration and even as handluggage. Other than the Trabant, they ARE made out of cardboard. For those that care for authenticity of a forgotten era, the suitcases are a match made in heaven. Their retro look, multi-functionality and durabilty make them one of Ekstur's favourites.