After all these hardcore Le Mans cars that came by last weeks it’s time to get back on our feet. And see what bread&butter car will be developed if you turn Teutonic engineers into communist ones.
And the people at the ‘Sachsenring’-company really took of. After just 5 years of producing their first ‘Trabant’, the ‘P50’, they already came up with it’s radically new designed Trabi ‘600’ in 1962. ‘600’ because the 2-stroke engine grew from 500 to 600cc. I won’t bother you with horsepower, there wasn’t any. And after two years already an again radically redesigned ‘601’ was introduced, which one you see here.
And to increase the average production-run of Trabis the ‘601’ was built for quite some time, without any improvement whatsoever: 26 years. Even got exported to the west for some time but the two-stroke engine was banned after a few years because of ‘environmental issues’. It was kinda filthy. It also had the image that it wouldn’t burn but melt as the body was made of some paper-based plastic.
In those 26 years almost an astonishing 3 million were made and it really was a symbol for the old DDR as it was the most common car in East-Germany. Some say you already had to order one at birth to get one in time. I don’t know what it’s actual market share was but believe me: it probably was over 80% before the fall of the ‘iron curtain’. There even was a Trabi wagon, the Trabant ‘Universal’. And a small Pick-up. And a ‘Kübelwagen’, something like VW’s ‘Thing’.
The fact it was so iconic created an escape-plan for Sachsenring. They obtained a license to built VW-engineered engines but after investing in a factory to produce these all funds were dead. So they just mounted the 1.1-designed VW engine in the good old Trabi 601 and named it the ‘Trabant 1.1’. Of course it couldn’t compete with any of it’s competitors in anyway so after only 40k produced in barely 12 months production was ended.
After Germany was re-united every ‘Ossie’ (as Eastern-Germans were called) got rid of his Trabi. Prior to ‘the fall’ there was an escape-route to the west through the Czech-republic, many ‘Ossies’ just left their Trabi used for the trip there. And it still is a symbol for the DDR. One can even rent a Trabi when visiting Berlin, I highly suggest you do this if you’re ever there!
The models you see here are from Edocar, a Dutch Diecast company Philipilihp told us about before when he showed us his 2CV on a French Friday. It’s part of Edocar’s ‘Mini-series’. And I always thought these were like 1/64 as Edocar had licenses to produce Matchbox/Yatming 1/64s.
But when I put it on my 1/64 garage diorama it soon came clear this could not be a 1/64, it would never fit through that door. After taking some measurements (7 cm) and some calculations (the 1:1 ‘did’ 3,5 meters) I concluded it to be a 1/50.
As far as my info goes Edocar only made a Lancia 037 by themselves, the rest were created by other diecast companies and produced under license. Which one actually created this one: I have no idea.
ALERT! ALERT! INSTANT UPDATE FROM SMALL SCALE SYDNEY:
This casting is by Maisto - and as you said, a fair bit larger than 1/64. Maisto was the first maker to bring them onto the market once the wall came down - they must have sold a truck load of them by now.
It doesn’t have the quality of a Matchbox and somehow I will not let my daughter get close to these. They probably won’t survive. The paint isn’t that good. Several flaws in the casting. Just check the rear:
It probably just shows the lack of quality in real-life DDR production too. But everyone with a ‘German’ collection can’t do without these and I’m glad I have three of these from the same brand. The wheels rolled fine, I just didn’t bother to get the track-diorama as the Trabi wouldn’t see fit there anyway.
The fact I even got a green one is special as well. Don’t ask me why but green 1:1 Trabants are very popular, as they are said to bring good luck.
Das war es wieder, Kameraden. Es tut mir leit dieser Trabis sind sehr langsam. Vielleicht nächste Woche wieder etwas schnelles. Tschüss!!!