My first tour of duty in Europe ( 1964 ) I was as a young Soldier serving in the 3d Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment U.S. Army Bad Hersfeld, Germany. Our range of responsibility on Border Duty was from Bad Hersfeld to Witzenhausen near Kassel, Germany where we met our counter part from the north. The Soldiers of the UK. When I first saw one of these on the Border, I ask my Platoon Sgt. " What the f--- is that ", he said, "That's why we are here ". I was sitting on my M-60A1 Tank and just chuckled to myself, Thought that a good squirt gun would take this thing out... and I could probably grease my Tank Tracks with it.
I spent almost 17 years in Germany and was also an interpreter for the Army when called on. Over the years this little car was appearing everywhere I went in Germany. Visitors from the East were traveling more in the West and it became a common site. I thought how neat it would be to own one, but then if I got one, how could I get it back to the U.S. I left Europe in 1982 before the Wall came down and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I was disabled at Fort Hood and Medically Retired with over 20 years of service to my Country. A fellow Soldier and friend ( CSM Retired Rod Caesar ) purchased the Little Car in Vilseck Germany in May of 1992 for the purchase price of 200 Deutche Marks. ( What a steal ) He drove it there till July of 1992, he then shipped it to Houston, Texas FOR $ 850.00, about 250 miles from here. ( Copperas Cove / Ft. Hood, Texas. ) He drove the car to here and before he cold register it the starter crashed and he parked it. Five years latter in 1997 he remembered that I had showed interest in the Little Beast and gave it to me as his two Sons did not know one end of a screwdriver from the other and had seen some of my other projects. I parked it as well. It sat in my pole barn till this year when I was putting asphalt on my driveways leading to my pole barn and workshop. With a hard look and a guilty conscience, it has came off of the back burner. The History of this car ( Documented ) as I know it is as follows: KFZ Book Nr. A 653209 1959 P50 Dresden, Germany ( DDR ) Permit # 205 Dated 14 Nov 1957 Allows: VEB SACHSENRING, AUTOMOBILE FACTORY In ZWICKAU on 21 Mar 1959 to plan and build this Trabant P50, 18ps., 498cc, 3750 rpm. 6 volt system. Sold to: Mr. Gottfried Schultze from Brandenburg ( DDR ) on 25 Mar 1959 Sold to: Mr Walter Herold from Grosse Kreutz ( DDR ) on 3 Mar 1961 drove till 1972 At this time the vehicle was recycled back through the factory for rebuild. In as a 1959 P50--Green in color Out as a 1959/72 601--Blue in color Sold to: Mr.Hans Rieln from Potsdam and driven until sold to my friend.
The car came out of my barn looking rough, as I would say X years of dust and bird s--- all over it. It however did not have the luxury of the Rats to move in and eat the wiring harness and upholstery. The vehicle was washed and gutted of it's interior which I have since recovered all of it in a nice 2 tone Blue. It is now in my shop, rewired and the engine on the floor. I tore the engine down to include the big end to have a good look at it's wear factors, after I peeked through the exhaust ports only to see the bad news. The engine had either seized for the lack of lube or ran hot at some given time in it's life. That could also be contributed to the engines winter blanket to maintain heat for winter operation, It was still on the motor when I received it. The number 1 cylinder appeared to be leaking exhaust between the head and barrel. I confirmed that was true when I removed the head. There was no head gasket. WOW and it still ran fair before it was parked. The fuel cell was half full of fuel mix and very stale. I cleaned the tank and created boo koo pin holes and have braised them shut and relined the tank, good as new. No leaks. I will install a fuel gauge to avoid the measuring dip stick. It had to be a Dip Stick that thought of that one anyway. The metal through out has some surface rust but is workable with extended patience to clear it up and get some good sealers back on it. All of the Glass will be removed to work those areas as well. I will pleasure wash the engine compartment then drop the rest of the front power train to detail the fire walls and front area. I will detail and paint that area myself as I do not trust all painters, they cheat! And you know what that looks like when they think they are finished. I have been able to get to this point most all of the parts that I need to complete the rebuild. They have been purchased and are inbound to me. ( I hope ) The years spent in Germany and going to School has afforded me the ability to read, write and speak their language and has allowed me to find the parts on E-bay.de ( Germany ) I will continue keeping you posted with my progress on this vehicle and any problems that I may find and how I solve them.