Commie Karma: 7 Amazing Recycled Trabant Cars

The ugly, smokey, slow & smelly Trabant automobile endures as an ironic and iconic symbol of the late, unlamented, communist nation of East Germany. Over 3 million of the two-stroke stinkers were built between 1957 and 1990… where are they now? You might be surprised.

The Trabantimino

(image via: Adrien Segal)

If director Quentin Tarantino drove a Trabant with a pickup truck bed we’d call it a Trabantimino and it would be awesome. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, so who will step up to the plate and give a breathlessly waiting world the Trabantimino it so badly needs? Liz Cohen, of course!

(images via: Creative Capital)

In creating BODYWORK, “a combination performance and sculpture project that investigates the American desire for acceptance,” Cohen oversaw the transformation of a clapped-out 1987 Trabant into a sort of Chevy El Camino on Eastern Bloc steroids while wearing a series of skimpy outfits. Berlin Wall builder Erich Honecker might not approve but Clint Eastwood probably would!

Trabant 601, U2

(images via: @U2 and

Trabants were prominently featured on U2’s 1991 album Achtung Baby and the followup worldwide Zoo TV Tour, at which several Trabants were modified to serve as stage lighting. The success of both the album and the tour helped boost the Trabant’s ongoing metamorphosis from a symbol of communist inefficiency to a fondly recalled cult classic car. The link between U2 and the Trabant was such that a number of restored Trabis were painted up and placed inside German music stores to promote the 20th anniversary editions of Achtung Baby released in 2011.

(image via: Wikimedia)

Some of the Trabants used during the Zoo TV Tour have been preserved at various Hard Rock Cafe locations including Dublin, where a colorful Trabant hangs upside-down from the ceiling, Spider Pig style. The Trabant above, posed in a more typical (and accessible) position, can be found at the Hard Rock Cafe in Berlin.


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