On November 8, 1957, at the plant in Zwickau, the production of cars of a new brand began, named "Trabant" in honor of the space satellite launched in the same year by the Soviet Union (in German "Trabant" - "satellite").
The Trabant did not have a gas pump - the fuel was fed into the carburetor by gravity, and the tank was located directly under the hood, next to the engine, which required extreme care when refueling and did not at all contribute to safety as a fire brigade or in case of an accident.
The body frame of the "Trabant" was ordinary, made of steel stampings, but the hinged decorative panels were made of the so-called "duroplast" - a material based on phenol-formaldehyde resin (phenolic) filled with waste (feathers) of cotton production, which was done to save steel sheet, which was in short supply in those years. As a result, the car weighed only 620 kg and, if used correctly, was not vulnerable to corrosion.
Trabant cars were produced in East Germany from 1957 to 1991. During this time, more than 3 million cars have been sold. After the unification of East and West Germany in 1989, the production of trabants ceased, and the plant was acquired by Volkswagen.
In the regular version, the maximum speed of the most popular version of the Trabant P601 with a two-stroke two-cylinder engine producing 26 horsepower did not exceed 100 kilometers per hour.
"Trabant" was exported both to socialist countries (mainly Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary) and to a number of capitalist countries - for example, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and even Great Britain. It is curious that only a few copies of cars of this model got to the USSR.
In the GDR itself, the demand for Trabants during the entire production of the model significantly exceeded the number of cars supplied to the retail network, as a result, they were not available for free sale, and buyers had to wait for their turn for years, in some cases - up to 13 years and more.
Two brothers from Germany set a world speed record in the improved Trabant. During arrivals at Rottenburg airport, Trabant accelerated to 235 kilometers per hour.