Having noticed Trabants in service while on vacation in Eastern Europe with family, I was curious about these little cars before I learnt to drive. Into my driving days in Britain, I soon became a Trabant addict! I've wandered vaguely close to normality on a couple of occasions, when I briefly drove a Wartburg 353 wagon and a Skoda 130 while my trusty Trabant was in repair (note the use of the word "vaguely")!
Well, the short version of the story of how I ended up here on Trabant USA is "I was sent on a training course, planned a fishing trip, and found a wife"! Oh. And got another Trabant, this time in the good ole US of A! Having met Mary and ultimately transferred to Longmont, CO through work, I was Trabi-less, and in a state of intolerable withdrawal! About 5 years ago, while the Trabant trade on ebay.com had apparently taken a lull, I just happened to find this mid-blue '72 601 in the UK for sale over the phone. On discovering that it was early enough to gain entry into the States, being the impulsive loon that I am, I bought it and got it shipped to Charleston, SC.
Refusing to pay the $900 to have it hauled (no, I'm Welsh and English, not Scottish, honest!!) I decided rather to fork out the $120 for the gas back to Longmont, found a $165 deal on Travelocity, and arrived at the Port of Charleston one fine 1st of November day with a bag of tools and a change of clothes (reference the aforementioned "impulsive loon" comment)! With a bit of tweaking here and there (like getting the thing actually to start!) I drove her back the 2000 miles via Decatur, IL where Mary was staying with a friend and where I had a proper bed for the night, much as Wendy's parking lots have a certain charm in the early hours!
The Trabi has remained a faithful companion ever since. She takes me up into the Rockies, over mountain ranges, around Colorado and neighboring States, loaded with fishing gear, a trunk full of concrete from the Home Depot, you name it. She's pulled dead Hondas, Volvos, Saturns et al. home on numerous occasions. However, while I know the purpose of the trailer hitch on the back, I'm still trying to figure out what the towing eye on the front is for. Never once has she let me down (raised my heart rate by a healthy token a couple of times, yes, but never yet failed to get me home)! Which is a better track record than Mary's Volvo 850 which I've driven a lot less yet worked on a lot more! The Trabi remains my only car here, though in more recent years has had SOME respite courtesy of (equally fine and trusty vehicles) a '74 CZ 125 and a '77 Jawa 350 thanks to my good friend Charlie here in town (who now has 2 Trabants on his project list, so I guess we're even) ;-)
As an after-note, I still have my red '62 P60 in southern England; it's in need of a little maintenance, but with plans on the work front to spend a couple more months back in the UK each year starting imminently, she'll breath life again yet! I couldn't possibly face Trabi withdrawal on either side of the pond again :-)