East German car-maker made up from an ensemble of manufacturers that found themselves on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain following the war. Started out producing cheap (but not so cheerful) two cylinder air-cooled
iterations based on pre-war DKW designs under the brand "IFA", a national group that featured all the automotive and motorcycle brands in the German Democratic Republic. Production would grow with the F9 model, it now sporting an extra cylinder (3 in all), and being manufactured in EIsenach; the three-cylinder engines would also be used in Wartburgs. Cars manufactured from the Zwickau facility became known as AWZ (Auto-Werke Zwickau), manufacturing the AWZ P70 from 1955, a model that would become the base for later “Trabant” iterations. You get an idea as to the quality of vehicle when you learn that the P stood for Plastic, and the 70 for its 700cc displacement.
The “Duroplast” turned out to be anything but, the ravages of time being evident in a matter of months, let alone years. In 1957 the Trabant P50 would be released, shortly after the AWZ name abandoned in favour of Trabant. Next came the P601, a car that made the bicycle look complex. No valves
, no camshaft, no timing belt (as the engine was a two stroke), no oil pump, no water pump, no radiator
– at least the gearbox now sported four speeds, and surprisingly there was an electronic ignition. The marque (somehow that word does not seem appropriate) now boasts a huge following of devotees who fell in love with the foibles of a car that set the bar so low, it made the notion of walking through sleet and snow strangely appealing.