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Cars in the GDR: plastic bombers and racing cardboard

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Cars in the GDR
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The GDR leadership also relied on private motorization. Production of the W artburg 311. Production of the legendary Trabant as model P50 started in 1958 in Zwickau.

Two-stroke engines for mass motorization

Both cars were powered by two-stroke engines which, according to experts, had already reached the end of their development. The two-stroke engine didn't care, as the Trabi continued to run off the production lines, smoking blue, almost until its end of production on April 30, 1991. The Trabi only received a four-stroke engine from 1990. In total, over 3.6 million Trabis were manufactured in 34 years.

As in the west, the car was the Germans' favorite child in the east. Acquiring one in the GDR required a lot more patience. Anyone wanting a Trabant had to spend a full twelve years of waiting. For a Lada 2107 that was imported from Russia, it took 17 years to wait. Orders could be placed from the age of 18, even if the necessary capital had not yet been accumulated. In line with the shortage of new vehicles, the used vehicle business flourished. No matter how old a Trabi, Lada, Warturg and Co were, the used price was usually higher than that of a new car. So a car was the ultimate investment for GDR citizens.

Exotic cars on GDR streets

In isolated cases, Polski found Fiat or models like the Dacia produced in Romania as a Renault 12 license 1300 the way to the GDR. There were also occasional Moskvich and Soporoshez models from Russia. But there were also exotic species on the streets of the GDR. One of them was the Melkus RS 1000, a mid-engine racing car based on the Wartburg 353. Luxury models such as the Tatra 603 from Czech production were also extremely rare. For example, the IFA F9, which was still being developed at DKW and later rolled off the assembly line in Zwickau, dates back to the early days of the GDR. Later the P70 followed which then to the Wartburg 311 was further developed.

The VW Golf is coming

In 1977 the GDR leadership announced the import of 10,000 VW Golf I. In 1978 the first Gölfe rolled east. As 50 hp petrol and dieselthe Golf costs from 30,000 Ostmarks. Too much for GDR citizens, whereupon, to everyone's surprise, prices were reduced to up to 22,000 Ostmarks. The Golf remained expensive and almost inaccessible, since a Trabant only cost 10,000 Ostmarks. In the West, the golf cost only 8,000 marks at that time.

The GDR youth was mainly motorized with the Simson swallow, the sparrow, the sparrowhawk and the hawk. If you wanted to climb up, you picked one of the MZ models.

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