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The Trabant Was an Awful Car Made By Communists

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The Trabant was built by Communists in East Germany from the 1960s until the late 1980s. They’re rare outside of the former communist bloc – but Doug DeMuro had the chance to drive one. Here are DeMuro’s thoughts.

The name Trabant means “satellite” or “companion” in German, from Middle High German drabant (“Hussite foot soldier”), and it was inspired by the Soviet Sputnik satellite. The cars are often referred to as the Trabbi or Trabi. Produced without major changes for nearly three decades, the Trabant became the most common automobile in East Germany.

The car came to symbolize the country during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, as images of East Germans crossing the border into West Germany were broadcast across the globe.