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German Immigrant: 1974 Trabant 601S


It’s not very often that we see one of these relics from the former East Germany on the roads in the United States. Said to have a clear title and located in Naples, Florida, this unusual 2-stroke survivor is listed for sale here on eBay where the buy-it-now is $5,700. The car is said to be completely original, and looking over the detailed pictures I don’t see any reason to doubt it. The ad does say that the brakes have recently been replaced and that the car runs and drives great. I’m guessing “great” is a relative term when used here. From what I’ve heard though, these aren’t quite as bad to drive as they have been made out to be, and I’ll bet you’d be the only person with one in your town! When we featured one in the past, there were a lot of comments along the lines that they are novelties, but have some serious shortcomings including a body that can smell in damp environments. There were also questions as to the value of the one listed, and the question applies to this one as well. Perhaps the seller is open to lower offers?


  1. redwagon

    love the simplicity. a kombi would be cooler. just think you could run this on the same mixture for your lawnboy or your stihl.

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  2. JW454

    Using the speedometer as a guide, 120 Km/h = 74 Mph. That’s if it would go this fast. That means 45~55 would be it’s cruising speed tops. Cool little car but, you better leave yourself plenty of time to get there.

    I like it but my travels are too far and wide for this one.

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  3. Dolphin Member

    As JW454 says, not practical for much on No American roads with what looks like a 2-cylinder 2-stroke. It seems to be well preserved, but other than keeping it as a curosity what do you do with it? Double date on Sat nite? I don’t think the other couple will enjoy getting in and out of that back seat.

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  4. Andrew M.

    Not rare (plenty in Europe), not desirable (except to east German hipsters), not practical in any respect and not even good looking. I just can’t see plunking down $5000 for something like this. If I wanted a slice of communism, I’d seek out a VAZ 2101, an early Polski Fiat 125 or a half dozen other eastern vehicles before one of these plastic-cars.

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  5. Healeymonster

    Gas tank sits above the hot engine right next to the battery. This seems like trouble in a accident!

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  6. Thorsten

    Andrew M.
    It ‘ s not a Plastic car like the Corvette.

    The ‘Trabby’ is made complete from steel. Also the door frames and lid frames are from steel. They only clamp formpressed sheets, made from Pressed cotton/resin Material on the steel frames. Change was easy. Also the roof is from that material and only clamped with the steel body.

    Never heared of an accident with problems of the Gas tank.

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  7. Thorsten

    Here a picture

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  8. Barry T

    From what I have the read the Trabant’s are among the worst cars ever built.

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  9. Dougm

    oddly enough there’s another in the Rev’s Institute here in Naples (Miles Collier’s collection) interesting from a historical perspective but a mundane piece of machinery

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  10. Thorsten

    Barry T.
    I’ve heared that from the Ford Pinto, the Chevrolet Corvair and the AMC Gremlin…. seems all rumours or stories by people like a Mr. R. Nader or other wheelkickers

    Don’t believe until making own experiences….

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