Live Auctions

Eastern Bloc Plastic: 1964 Trabant 601S


Oddball fact of the day: while researching this post, I found out that green Trabants are supposed to be lucky! Unfortunately, this one isn’t green, but it is located in Fort Pierce, Florida and is for sale here on eBay where bidding is $1,025 but the reserve hasn’t been met. I don’t know what it takes to license one of these in the US (or even if it can be) but as you can see in the picture behind this one, the seller is disposing of an estate full of Trabants. This one actually looks newer than 1964 with the rubber bumper components, but I don’t know; any Trabbi experts out there? Regardless, you know the body shell won’t be rusty, because it’s some form of plastic. This one has been in storage since 1997, although the two-cylinder, two-stroke engine does turn over. It’s showing 5,436 miles, but who knows how many are actually on the car.


With a mixture of austere gray and lurid orange vinyl and fabric (I’m hoping those are aftermarket seat covers!) the interior will keep you awake without that second cup of coffee. Have any Barn Finds readers successfully licensed a Trabant, and are any of the rest of you interested in doing so?


  1. Leon

    I think it’s old enough to qualify as an antique or special interest collectible to register. I doubt anyone would drive one on a daily basis

  2. Charles

    The only Trabant that I have seen in person was at the former Bruce Weiner Micro Car Museum in Georgia. They said that Trabant bodies are made of some sort of plant fiber material with resin similar to fiberglass. They said that if the car got wet, it smelled like a wet dog. And the older ones have a two stroke engine that leaves a trail of blue smoke everywhere it goes. And than there was that Levis commercial from years ago that claimed that in Russia one could trade a pair of blue jeans for a Trabant. Right up there on the top of my bucket list next to a 66 GTO, 74 Trans AM Super Duty, 63 Corvette Split Window, 69 Camaro, 69 Mach I, 68 Road Runner…

  3. Barry T

    Even if I wanted to be saddled with one of these dogs I do not see how I could possibly get it past the emissions test in my state. Everything I ever heard about Soviet era cars is they were built by guys stoned out of their minds on vodka. Top Gear U.K. panned Soviet era cars a few years ago.

  4. Warren

    There was the U2 video from the 80s that featured a Trabant with a man painted across the top of the car. “One” was the name of the song. Even had the 2 cycle smoke trail following it.

  5. Charles

    I guess this car would be cool as a novelty. With the humidity we have here in the Smoky Mountains (a temperate rain forest) this car would smell awful unless it is stored in a climate controlled space. In North Carolina anything older than 1995 is subject to a visual emissions inspection only. They look to see if the car is modified from factory specs. If the emissions controls look to be intact, the car is passed. Cars newer than 95 are subject to testing in some counties, but in others the inspection is also visual. Of course many garages don’t check emissions very closely, especially on older cars.

  6. blindmarc

    Here in Florida there is no smog test and would be easy to register. Rebuilding the engine and tuning it is a different story, just put a gsxr 1000 engine in it and be done.

  7. Soren

    I love all of the Trabant misinformation comments. I’ve imported these and own one now.
    – They’re made of Duroplast. It’s cotton fibers and resin. The iron curtain lacked steel, and this was an innovative solution with what they had.
    – Legal? Yes. Some states have emissions tests, but I don’t think any state tests cats back to 1964. They ate two stroke. They smoke a little. Newer synthetic oils minimize that. If this has the import paper work this spotless be no problem.
    – Is it a 1964 ( 1st year for the 601)? Probably. They routinely rebuilt old cars as new due to parts shortages making new cars hats top complete.
    – Novelty? Undrivable? Nope. Safe in a crash? Also nope. 1300lbs and 27hp is not bad and will do 60mph all day. But 1300lbs means the isn’t much car there.
    The value of these had been going up in Europe, although they’re still pretty cheap. They were worthless in the 90s, started to get collectible in the 00s, and ate now part of Ostalgia as Germans pune for the simpler days of East Germany.

    • francisco

      Did you ever hear of proofreading?

      • grant

        He’s probably using a smartphone with auto correct. This sites mobile version leaves, ahem, a bit to be desired….

  8. Cory

    I believe the 5436 actually refers to the number of times it circled the globe. Hard to say on these. Model year is relative. There was never anything “new” and year of manufacture could mean anything. So many parts were interchanged over the years to keep them alive. Parts applied were what show ed up at the factory.
    All that aside though, I do have a soft spot for these stupid cars.

  9. Horse Radish

    With an abundance of classic cars all over the world, I don’t see any (None/zero) upside to these.
    They were abandoned on the side of the road by the THOUSANDS when the wall came down, driven just clear of the German/German border and left when they ran out of gas.

    Just picture that you had to be on a waiting list for years to get one of those back in the day.

    Utterly ridiculous, but to each his own.
    Any fan of these has my sincere condolences

    • MikeH

      They are small, quirky, unusual and very different in engineering. They are an example of what communism produces. For the purpose they were designed, they were a very good car. They were so simple, you never took one to a mechanic. They were the 2CV of the east. But, above all, they are an unique piece of history. Take one of these to your local car show and see which gets more attention, your Trabbi or one of the dozen or so Corvettes.

  10. Grant.

    Basically a 1920’s- 1930’s DKW and a real hoot to drive!! Drove one in Bulgaria a few years back, and with modern STHIL 2 stroke oil, the oily smoke myth does not exist. Suspension almost non-existant though!!! Would rather go for a real DKW/ AUTO UNION from the 50’s or 60’s before they became AUDI again…..pretty little cars with a surprisingly good turn of speed for 1000cc or less!

  11. francisco

    With the national debt and the direction of our economy, Hillary will have us all driving one of these. Maybe I’ll buy this one now, and I won’t have to wait in line for years when that time comes.

    • Blindmarc

      Agree with you.

  12. Charles

    Unless classifications of plants have changed, cotton is plant fiber. The plant fiber term came from the curator of the museum, not me. The reason that they choose that term instead of cotton is that the product is not as refined as the cotton used to make clothing and other cotton items. In high humidity conditions the cars really do soak up moisture and will mildew. The car in the museum kept a musty smell to it and it was indoors in the AC 24/7. The owners kept charcoal in bowls near the car to soak up moisture.

    The term novelty applied to this vehicle is not out of line. The vehicle has a two stroke engine. While the car may be a fun vehicle to own, driving a two stroke is not very practical. My intent was not to trash the Trabant. The builders made a valid effort to build cars within the budget and limitations of the time.

    We own two vintage boats. One has a two stroke engine. It is a Mercury 115 HP outboard with six cylinders fed by three carburetors. The engine has plenty of power and can operate within normal speeds traveled by boats on most waterways. The boat can tow two skiers with ease. The oiling system is so sophisticated that the engine makes very little smoke. Still, may states have begun to restrict two stroke engines from inland lakes, making this boat a novelty, and since the rig is a shallow draft lake design it is not safe to operate in an ocean. There will be a day when this boat will be a garage decoration, because there will be no place where it is allowed to operate. Yes, it is becoming a novelty.


    I have owned as many as 4 Trabants (currently I have 2). They are fairly easy to register, especially if they are older and exempt from safety and emission testing. I agree with the author. This one is probably newer than a 1964. My guess is that the paperwork was altered to have the car imported to avoid the safety and emission requirements.

    I would be hesitant to spend more than $1500 on a non-running Trabi.

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