If you got a drop of gasoline in your blood you are contaminated, regardless of birth place, origin, culture, or your color, you are a Car Nuts or Gear Head. At young ages, I remember when we smelt gasoline definitely the spring it was coming after a harsh winter and we start preparing for a new motoring season. Let`s present myself, my name Josef Czikmantory a Hungarian origin, I was born and raised in East Europe a particular part of Romania called Transylvania. That mystical part of this world, many times unknown or misunderstand, there have cars and motorcycles and boiling blood infected with gasoline. The blood infection looks like I got from my mother side grandpa, he was a real old car nuts, be handy and technical from my dad who was creating almost miracles touching a piece of junk.
At age 19 I brought my motorcycle at 25 my famous TRABANT. To own a car that time and place it was a privilege and a dream for most of the people. The TRABI [ it is a nick name for the TRABANT ] it was my limo, truck, of road, bootlegging Christmas tree, and all daily basic stuff, hotel on east European roads traveling from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea, equivalent here in US to coast to coast. The little car never let my down, he takes me over heavily guarded borders on my limited number of communist countries and in 1986 finally he was my partner in crimes to cross me over that notorious Iron Curtain where many people lost their lives trying to escape from communist Europe.
My old TRABI I refurbish 30 some years ago, he got a new white paint job with black bumpers and head /tail light rims, head liner, fresh interior, sound proofing with my own recipe : contact cement mixed with slow drying hammer finish paint and rubber dust, creating a paste and applying on under carriage an side panels . I heaved a spare engine and every 2 years driving 50-60,000 kilometers [31-37,000Miles] it needed to rebuild. The old TRABI after give me the freedom I heaved to abandon on the western side of the Iron Curtain on free land. After almost 20 years living in US, in 2005 I found and brought on eBay a TRABI paying $800 for the car and $2000 for shipping. The “car” I hope so you will agree with me the “TRABI” it is a car to, a little bet just different but still it is a car, originally was baby blue with tan interior. With my son we decided to refurbish this one like that old one, white and black, he remembering likes a 10 year old sitting on the back, crossing borders to our escape.
The TRABI was not intended be a show car, just I refurbished for fun to my standards. It becomes a show car almost by accident to a suggestion. Refurbishing the TRABI in a corner of a 45,000sq/feet shop it was just peanuts, knowing every bolts and nuts and tricks after short time working on. For me a “just OK” it is outstanding for other people. On daily business I have to make fast and responsible decision, in design and building large CNC machines with space age technology, for costumers producing large and high precision parts for aerospace, energy, medical, military or common use. I am trying to share this unique little car to show the differences in this world and be a part of so California car culture.
I wish you a happy and safe motoring and see you at other car shows or just a weekend gathering.