The Trabi / Trabant – a Two Stroke Car from East Germany

Trabi Trabant Berlin East Germany car 601s G_5856

The Trabi - Trabant 601s in Berlin Mitte - Photo: T.Bortels/

The Trabant – or Trabi – used to be basically the car of East Germany (German Democratic Republic GDR). True, there were also other cars on the streets by manufacturers like Volkswagen, Volvo, Skoda – and there was even another East German car manufacturer: Wartburg. But with over 3 Million units sold over the years, the Trabi was by far the more popular and probably also the more famous car.

Back in the days of cold war times, buying a Trabant car wasn’t easy at all. You could of course order one, but there were long waiting lists. And with a price tag of more than 10.000 Mark it was far beyond what many people could afford.

Today you can still see some Trabant cars here and there – mostly in former East German cities – and of course also in Berlin. This is probably due to the rather simple technology and the durable skin. Rumors say that all you needed to repair a Trabi was a screwdriver and a hammer. And since the outer parts, the roof, trunk lid, hood, fenders, and doors were made of Duroplast, most parts were not rust-sensitive. Actually the use of Duroplast lead to another nickname for the car: Zwickauer Rennpappe – which would translate to “Zwickau racing cardboard”.

When walking the streets of Berlin you may recognize a Trabi probably first by its iconic sound. If I had to describe the sound of a Trabi, I would say it’s somewhere between a very small plane and a chain saw. Others say it sounds a lot like a lawnmower, probably because it has a motor similar to the ones used in somw lawnmowers. Well – either way – the two stroke motor just sounds a bit different to most of the motors we are used to today.

Berlin Trabi Tours: “Can I drive a Trabant in Berlin?”

Some people prefer the direct interaction with history – and of course the best way of experiencing a Trabi is by taking a ride with a Trabi. And in Berlin this is very well possible – and you can even choose from a variety of different options.

Probably the most popular Trabi experience is the so called Trabi Safari. You basically drive across Berlin in group of several Trabant cars, visiting a number of sights and attractions like Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, East Side Gallery. These sightseeing tours take around two hours and will cost something around €40,- or €50, up to €100,- per person – depending on the number of passengers per Trabi and what tour and what tour provider you choose. What tour provider…? Yes – there are actually two tour providers that call themselves “Trabi Safari“. Which one to choose? You will probably have to find out yourself – both have an English language website:

Trabi Safari Berlin Trabi Safari Berlin

If you don’t like the idea of cruising across the city in a large group, there are also options for cruising in only one Trabi: either you take a tour with a driver, who will then also be your tour guide – or or rent a Trabant for a couple of hours or even a couple of days and discover Berlin all by yourself. As far as I know both would also be offered by the two Trabi Tour providers metioned about – but alss by another service, that does not offer any group tours.

Trabant Berlin - rent and drive a Trabi in Berlin

In case you’re not visiting Berlin, but still want to be close to a Trabi – of course you can also have your own Trabant at home – I will soon add some model cars as well as books and other Trabi related things you can order online…

…to be continued…

Do you have and thoughts, suggestions, additional recommendations or comments? Please feel free to leave your comment below. Thank you!

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