The Trabant is an automobile that wis produced bi former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Sachsen. It wis the maist common vehicle in East Germany, an wis also exported to kintras baith inside an ootside the communist bloc. The main selling points wis that it haed room for fower adults an luggage in a compact, licht an durable shell an that it wis fast (when introduced) an durable. With its mediocre performance, smoky two-stroke engine, an production shortages, the Trabant is aften cited as an example o the disadvantages o centralized plannin; on the ither hand, it is regarded with derisive affection as a symbol o the failed former East Germany an o the fall o communism (in former Wast Germany, as mony East Germans streamed into Wast Berlin an Wast Germany in their Trabants efter the opening o the Berlin Wall in 1989). It wis in production withoot any significant changes for nearly 30 years with 3,096,099 Trabants produced in total.
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The name, meaning 'satellite' in German, wis inspired bi Soviet Sputnik. The caurs ar aften referred to as the Trabbi or Trabi, pronounced trubbee.
Since it coud take years (usual waiting time 15 years) for a Trabant to be delivered frae the time it wis ordered, fowk who finally got ane wur very careful with it an usually became skillful in maintainin an repairin it. The lifespan o an average Trabant wis 28 years. Uised Trabants woud aften fetch a higher price than new anes, as the former wur available immediately, while the latter required the infamous lang wait.
There wur fower principal variants o the Trabant, the P50, also kent as the Trabant 500, produced 1957-1962; the Trabant 600, produced 1962-1964; the Trabant 601, produced 1963-1991; an the Trabant 1.1 produced 1990-1991 with a 1043cc VW engine (makin the "1.1" a slight misnomer). The engine for the Trabant 500, 600 an original 601 wis a small two-stroke engine with twa cylinders, giving the vehicle modest performance. At the end o production in 1989 it delivered 19 kW (26 horsepouer) frae a 600 cc displacement. The caur took 21 seconds frae 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) an the top speed wis 112 km/h (70 mph). There wur twa main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust an the pollution it produced—nine times the amount o hydrocarbons an five times the carbon monoxide emissions o the average European caur o 2007. The fuel consumption wis 7 L/100 km (40 mpg‑imp; 34 mpg‑US). Since the engine does na hae an oil injection system, twa-stroke oil haes to be added to the 24 litre fuel tank every time the caur wis filled up, at a 50:1 or 33:1 ratio o fuel to oil. Gas stations o the time in kintras where twa-stroke engines wur common served premixed gas-oil mixture frae the pump. Today, owners normally carry a container o twa-stroke oil in the caur for this purpose. The earlier models hae no fuel gauge; a dipstick is inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remains.
The Trabant wis a steel monocoque design with roof, bootlid/trunklid, bonnet/hood, bumpers/fenders an doors in Duroplast, a form o plastic containing resin strengthened bi wool or cotton. This helped the GDR to avoid expensive steel imports, but in theory did na provide much crash protection, although in crash tests it allegedly performed superior to some contemporary Wastren hatchbacks. Because the caur lacked a fuel pump, the fuel tank wis placed high up in the engine compartment so that fuel coud be fed to the carburettor bi gravity; a trade-off o this design is an increased fire risk in front-end accidents. The Trabant wis the seicont caur to uise Duroplast, efter the "pre-Trabant" P70 (Zwickau) model (1954–1959). The duroplast wis made o recycled material, cotton waste frae Soviet Union an phenol resins frae the East German dye industry, making the Trabant the first caur with a body made o recycled material.
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