Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The cardboard car

One of the memorable sights of the weekend of 11 and 12 November 1989, after the Berlin Wall came down, was the endless stream of mustard yellow Trabant P601s, or ‘Trabis’, trundling through the checkpoints from East to West. Jubilant onlookers celebrated with the Trabiklopfen, an energetic thump on the car’s roof.

During the Cold War, while Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen spearheaded West German economic success, the Trabi was the command economy on wheels. Nicknamed ‘the cardboard car’, it was made from Duroplast, an unrecyclable resin strengthened by Soviet cotton wool waste and compressed brown paper. Its two-stroke engine burned a petrol and oil mix producing ten times as much pollution as Western cars, although the accelerator pedal did have a point of resistance halfway down to discourage excessive fuel consumption.

The Trabi remained in production, virtually unchanged, for a quarter of a century. It was produced as either a ‘limousine’ or ‘estate’ car, in ‘standard,’ ‘special request’ and ‘de luxe’ versions, the latter having such exciting additional features as a different-coloured roof, chromium-plated bumpers and headrests. There was also a convertible Trabi with the trendy name, ‘Tramp’, a civilian version of the GDR army jeep.

After reunification, the East German market was flooded with used Western cars and the Trabant factory in Zwickau quickly went bust. East Germans, who had been on 10-year waiting lists for Trabis, now abandoned them in the street or exchanged them for more valuable currency like Western cigarettes.

But the process of kitsch recuperation soon began. Street artists made makeshift sculptures from these abandoned cars, and smart café bars recycled Trabi parts as furniture. Today, Berlin shops sell Trabi T-shirts, key-rings and die-cast models, and modish young people drive Trabis with jazzy paint jobs and souped-up engines. Tourists can go on a ‘Wild East Trabi Safari’ tour. You drive around East Berlin in a Trabi convoy, with a tour guide in the lead car providing a radio commentary, and at the end receive your ‘Trabi driving licence’. Trabi chic is part of the vogue for ostalgie, a tongue-in-cheek nostalgia for the old GDR which sees its pretensions to state-of-the-art modernity as endearingly dated. We can view the primitive rustbuckets of the past with a mixture of comedy and sentiment, safe in the knowledge that we will never have to drive the things.

35 comments:

  1. Raj Safe Driving School offers driving lessons in Melbourne through its experienced instructors and this is why it is known as the best driving school in Melbourne, Mentone driving school, Driving school in clayton, Driving school in mentone Melbourne.

    Driving school | Driving Instructor Melbourne


    ReplyDelete
  2. I gained new knowledge from well written content of this blog. It is showing some different kind of strategy to keep work better and improve with every new assignment. Gracefully written blog
    MACD Histogram

    ReplyDelete
  3. Enthusiastic words written in this blog helped me to enhance my skills as well as helped me to know how I can help myself on my own. I am really glad to come at this platform.
    เรียน ielts

    ReplyDelete
  4. creativity of writer is purely impressive. It has touched to the level of expertise with his writing. Everything is up to the mark. Written perfectly and I can use such information for my coming assignment.
    แม่เหล็ก ราคา

    ReplyDelete
  5. This blog resolved all my queries I had in my mind. Really helpful and supportive subject matter written in all the points. Hard to find such kind of blogs as descriptive and accountable to your doubts.
    หุ้นเด่นวันนี้

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, that’s the way I always wanted to come over such a wonderful platform where I could satisfy myself regarding my issues. I found answers of all most of my check list I prepared after having a lot of confusion. Great job.
    เรียนภาษาเกาหลีออนไลน์

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am thankful for this blog to gave me much knowledge regarding my area of work. I also want to make some addition on this platform which must be in knowledge of people who really in need. Thanks.
    สินเชื่อ cimb thai

    ReplyDelete
  8. Share great information about your blog , Blog really helpful for us . We read your blog , share most useful information in blog . Thanks for share your blog here .
    กรีนเคอมิน

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I'm confident, you have a great readers' base already!
    เวลา ตลาด forex

    ReplyDelete
  10. The site is really beneficial for everyone to know about this topic. I think if you read blog than you will get some more information from blog. This is really useful blog.
    Buy Limit คืออะไร

    ReplyDelete
  11. Fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I'm confident, you have a great readers' base already!
    ติว ielts ที่ไหนดี

    ReplyDelete
  12. My partner and i spend less some sort of contradict in order to orchestrate the most effective article in my class. I had run truant associated with insights simply acknowledges for your publish, My partner and i instantly seize how you can obtain the actual opposition. Admit an individual therefore lots for this! Forex เปิด ปิด กี่โมง

    ReplyDelete
  13. My partner and i merely implore in order to recommend backings to your brilliant pole, it is present myself some sort of numerous associated with storehouse pertaining to my own proximate advantages, corroborate an individual therefore commodious mirielle asst. Equity คืออะไร

    ReplyDelete
  14. This blog is really helpful for my database. It enhanced the area of my thoughts and pushed me beyond the boundaries. Work ethic of every point is different and represent a new way to improve myself.
    regressietherapie haarlem

    ReplyDelete
  15. Detailed and descriptive articles written in this blog is really very helpful for me as well as for other who seeking such kind of knowledge. It is definitely going to become useful in coming future.
    zwangerschapsgym amsterdam

    ReplyDelete
  16. Actually, I am facing some difficulties to understand the meaning of the blog. If you have any short video film related to your blog, then I would request you to share here. It would be great help.
    depressie amsterdam

    ReplyDelete
  17. That’s what I was looking for. I am talking about all topics bundled in this blog. They all are really very useful for me as well as for my team. We are definitely going to use its highlighted information.
    รองเท้ากีฬา

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sometime few educational blogs become very helpful while getting relevant and new information related to your targeted area. As I found this blog and appreciate the information delivered to my database.
    Dell Network X Series POE

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is the first time I came to this blog and I found some relevant stuff here. Basically I keen to know new parameters of writing every-time and sometime it become really very hard to find such kind of platform.
    ติว ielts

    ReplyDelete
  20. The writer of this blog is really very professional. Every single line of this article is well written. New use of vocabulary is a great effort. At the same time tense, indirect speech was also sued in good manner.
    regressietherapie nijmegen

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am glad that I saw this post. It is informative blog for us and we need this type of blog thanks for share this blog, Keep posting such instructional blogs and I am looking forward for your future posts.
    psychotherapie haarlem

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lovely benefit blows salubrious synthesize corporate, its similar comprehensive maintains end up being making the most of to find out onward venture inside your theorem.. Lovely hawk. My partner and i more also been searching for accidents with regards to spigots vernal actuators alongs your recommend really biass. Confesss some sort of numerous pertaining to putting up this. therapeut nijmegen

    ReplyDelete
  23. It is a desirable striking trinket. My business is beautiful power pleased remote your respectable sharp. You fit totally valuable info. Clench that upwards. It is a magnificent system within an outstanding meaning associated with ton. Blesss pertaining to expressing this indigenous, good countenance associated with offer these kinds of exposition in order to speak. zwangerschapscursus amsterdam zuid

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your blog is usually totally interesting i install it without a doubt info chafe pertaining to putting up. Your blog furnished people household furniture cherished information in order to supplicant slovenly. Floorboards determine eases of your respective poll tend to be huge. zwangerschapsyoga amsterdam

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love the blog. Great post. It is very true, people must learn how to learn before they can learn. lol i know it sounds funny but its very true. . zwangerschapsmassage nijmegen

    ReplyDelete
  26. Really your post is really very good and I appreciate it. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it. You write very well which is amazing. I really impressed by your post . startup bootcamp amsterdam

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing... pedicure zaandam

    ReplyDelete
  28. Having the scored in India discharges that fabricate from captains likewise arranges it in the crisiss of lecturers who drive altogether inquiry American idioms or cultural materials. pedicure wormerveer

    ReplyDelete
  29. Create this charitable of companions you consideration about precisely what therefore grief-favored beside contemplates to most of these tows which are fact produced. administratie kantoor groningen

    ReplyDelete
  30. Share great information about your blog , Blog really helpful for us . We read your blog , share most useful information in blog . Thanks for share your blog here .
    bioresonantie eindhoven

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am thankful for this blog to gave me much knowledge regarding my area of work. I also want to make some addition on this platform which must be in knowledge of people who really in need. Thanks.
    pedicure wormer

    ReplyDelete
  32. This blog is truly useful to convey overhauled instructive undertakings over web which is truly examination. I discovered one fruitful case of this truth through this blog. I will utilize such data now. Driving school in Aldie

    ReplyDelete
  33. Share great information about your blog , Blog really helpful for us . We read your blog , share most useful information in blog . Thanks for share your blog here .
    กราฟ forex

    ReplyDelete
  34. A blog must be connected to the person in need. It is really important to understand the actual feel of such necessity and the essence of objective behind it. Author must give proper time to understand every topic before writing it.
    ibm server ราคา

    ReplyDelete