23 September 2009

The Trabbi is back ...

The Trabant - the car that made a Skoda look like a luxury limousine - is back! 20 years after photos went round the world showing lines of Trabants queuing to get to the West, a former Volkswagen engineer is to unveil plans at the Frankfurt Motor Show to create a new eco-friendly Trabant. Actually it never went away as these photos taken this year in Jena and Budapest make clear.

Here's Chris Milton's report:

It’s being developed by an unlikely combination of specialist car manufacturer IndiKar, the former Volkswagen designer Nils Poschwatta and the leading miniatures manufacturer, Herpa.

But is there anything to differentiate the Trabant from its competitors?

Well, styling to start with. The Trabant has always had an uncanny resemblance to its western counterpart, the Mini and this new electric Trabant is far more pleasing on the eye that BMW’s take ... Then there’s the innovative solar roof. Many electric cars carry an additional 12V battery in order to power SatNav, heating and other low-voltage “necessities.” Not the Trabant. These will all be powered by its solar roof and, quite bluntly, if there isn’t enough sun then your air-con won’t work. Who needs air-con when it’s cloudy anyway?

Hm! Methinks the timing has something to do with the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. Here's a photo of the new Trabant from the Web site of Indikar, one of the companies behind the project:

Strangely enough in this part of France we had a house up the road that used to have two Trabants in its front garden.

Photos of old Trabant (c) Stephen Brown.

P.S Here's a Wiki "Trabant" fact: In medieval German Trabant meant foot soldier or personal guard, [1] and here's one last photo of a Trabant this time from Jena in May 2009.


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