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YAK Car Pic of the Day

This is East German engineering at its best (which is why you can no longer find East Germany on the map): the Trabant 601 Universal (above), or, station wagon. Seeing that the Iron Curtain was too thick in the 1960s to drive a VW through, comrades on the other side came up with their own “peoples’ car” in 1957. This example, a second generation (1964-91) model, was recently seen in a Town of Niagara parking lot, where a gentleman told me it was awaiting export to Canada. Although from the outside it looked more modern than VW’s Beetle, it was actually — pardon my French — a total piece of crap. With a body made from recycled waste (not necessarily for ecological reasons, but steel was scarce in the ironically-named German Democratic Republic), the Trabant was basically an unsafe, pollutant-spewing rattletrap of a car for which East German drivers found themselves on a years-long waiting list to purchase. What a country! A few years ago an updated Trabant concept car was making the rounds at car shows; you can check it out here.

Comrades on vacation

 

…and here’s the lovely sedan

 

   

 

 

 

 

— Jim Corbran, You Auto Know