AWZ Trabant Reviews and Road Tests

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AWZ Trabant


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.
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AWZ P70  

AWZ P70

1955 - 1959
In the East, the AWZ P70 was originally intended to fill this "intermediate" car role, that of a small economical 2 (and occasional +2) role. For any such car to be successful, it needed to be cheap, easy to repair, built of lightweight materials and, if possible, afford more storage than a motorcycle. More>>
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AWZ P50/P60 Trabant 500/600  

AWZ P50/P60 Trabant 500/600

1957 - 1964
To best understand the Trabant, you have to first understand the circumstances from which it was born. Post war Europe, both sides of the iron curtain, needed a form of cheap personal transportation, this demand being met by motorcycles and mopeds (the latter most successfully by the wonderful Vespa's). More>>
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AWZ Trabant 601

AWZ P601 Trabant

1964 - 1991
In 1964 AWZ released the most famous of the Trabants, the P601. This new car had a 594 cc, 26 bhp engine naturally enough derived from the P50. One should not expect too much in the way of innovation when detailing new models of Trabant, however this engine did use new cylinders, new cylinder-heads and a modified exhaust system. More>>
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