Aha! It’s from Moto Rooter. No wonder they went belly up after just one issue: April 1989.
Never has such a bare bones car looked so good. If Soviet Russia was allowed to engineer the thing a little bit, maybe get 50 HP of the engine, you’d have a very solid Beetle competitor.
Shouldn’t you have posted this just about exactly six weeks ago?
Bruce McCall himself could not have done a better job on the ‘ad’ copy…
…unless that was Bruce McCall himself.
Tom McCahill, who wrote for Mechanix Illustrated. Cars were “rigs,” and engines were “mills.”
Ever read McCahill’s MI review of the Jowett Javelin Jupiter?
Was this something created by Bruce McCall for National Lampoon?
“Crash repair? You will look forward to accidents!”
I shouldn’t have read this while eating lunch. Please excuse me while I wipe salad dressing off my shirt.
One of the more fascinating things is the timing; the Berlin Wall fell a mere seven months later. Could the Trabant parody have had something to do with it?
If this wasn’t actually in the Lampoon, it must have been a prank by the employees of the ad agency, taking advantage of the factory’s lack of English. Sort of like the Chinese ads translated into Pirate Talk by a hacked computer translator.
Chinese ads translated into pirate talk? Where can I find this?
We all know the Nova one, here are some others:
I remember “Bite the wax tadpole” Too bad they didn’t include the actual foreign language version. I wanted to work out the Spanish ones for myself.
I love mistranslated stuff. (It provides a little slack for our anxious world.( A friend is working on a 1966 Peugeot File Not Found…haha…I mean a 1966 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet. He is troubleshooting either the master cylinder or brake booster, not sure, but something isn’t quite right. All of the manuals he has are in French, which he speaks not at all. I suggested he try Google’s translation program. I haven’t heard from him for a week and want to know if that helped. I figure it will at least provide some translation weirdness.
And now, please, this message:
I know there are some Peugeot lovers on CC. Would any of you care to weigh in on Peugeot 404 brake servicing? I really am asking for a friend. Thank you.
If only all auto advertising were this truthful.
Those were the days, back when the gang at Car&Driver was still literate.
Makes me think Phillip/Pippa Garner may have worked on this.
I’ve skimmed thru C/D issues from this year and it wasn’t worth the brain cells expended to read them. R/T is slightly better, but not much.
Reminds me of the demise of Playboy after they went from being literary and interesting to trying to be like Maxim with added exposed ladybits and failing.
Probably as truthful, as those 80s Volvo Turbo wagon ads “bragging” about being 0-60, just as fast as a Porsche 944…Too bad, it was the NA 944, and not the 944 Turbo. 😆
“To a radar gun they look exactly alike”????
I’ll bet that Swedish Brick would be a lot easier for the radar gun to find.
Not that the 944 is all that stealthy like say an Adventador. ;o)
This was part of a Car and Driver April Fools joke mocking Motor Trend. I can’t remember which year it appeared in C&D, but perhaps some other Curbsider knows.
For more Trabant amusement, there are any number of videos on YouTube found at this link: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Trabant
Yep. From the Golden Age of Car and Driver. I could go look it up; I’ve got about 20 years worth in storage. I’d guess around ’85-’86. Excellent writing, often literature-quality, if I can use such a loaded phrase. Every issue had something to give you a laugh, whether it was the letters column, a counterpoint to a road test, or a full-on multipage lampoon of another car mag. Like this.
RIP Car and Driver. Your publishing company didn’t know what they had.
You smelled these cars before you saw them. They were little oily plastic clown cars that spewed stink and their novelty was that they were 180 degrees from what should be driven. There are plenty of simple little cars that satisfy one’s appetite for simple cars without a Trabbi reminding everyone what DDR air pollution smelled like before Reunification.
Jeremy Clarkson said it was cotton.
(Communist car segment from Top Gear around 2008)
Either way, hopefully it won’t shrink in the dryer.
If Jeremy Clarkson said water is wet, I’d put money on water being dry.
Cotton waste soaked in resin and set under pressure. You’re both right.
Someone in Hobart, Indiana had/has one of these. I used to see it everywhere. Blue color. The owner had photocopied pamphlets about it that he’d give out if people were curious. Once he was parked while a parade was going on, and I had a brief conversation with him. He offered to let me sit in it, but I was with the kids and they wanted to get the parade candy, not look at some weird old car. I think it’s license plate said “Trabant” but that could be a false memory as its been over a decade.
Maisto actually made a 1/50-ish (Real 1/64 would be SO small!) toy car version in lime green, which of course I have. Paid a buck for it. Might be worth 2 by now. Investment!
I wonder if that was the one Car & Driver had a field day with, mocking efforts by the DOT and the EPA to confiscate the illegally-imported car.
And the blue color continued in its wake.
Revell of Europe made a 1/24th model of one. I managed to stuff a SBC into it.
They actually made two. When the wall came down they rushed out a curbside Trabant. I’ve got one somewhere. Fast forward 20-odd years and there’s that recent well-detailed one, which also comes as a wagon version.
I shot this little feller a few years ago in my neighbourhood. It had car show paraphernalia on the seat indicating it had been shown. No For Sale sign though.
I saw one on a trailer at one of the Good Guys swap meets in Pleasanton about 25 years ago. I talked to the owner who explained that as long as the thing never touched any public road directly and stayed on a trailer or private property he was allowed to own it but if it hit the road it would be immediately subject to tax and license and safety and emissions and would fail. Failure would bring a different kind of scrutiny in the form of fines and other penalties similar to importation of a grey market vehicle, possibly confiscation. It wasn’t for sale, he said, but he wasn’t exactly exhibiting it either and he did start it up so we could hear it run. I figured that it might be for sale to the right carefully vetted buyer. It was pretty hideous to see up close and in person.
That’s a pretty funny advert.
Reminds me of British 2CV ads from the 1980s
I saw one of these at an expensive car show on the Boston common that was charging $50 a ticket, it was absolutely worth it, E-types, Ferrari 250 GT, both old and new Ford GT40’s parked next to each other, all the exotic dealers had new cars there, unknown British wooden foxhound hunting wagons from the 1900’s, Delahaye, a stunning nautical themed Rover, almost everything interesting was there. Nothing was more interesting than the well preserved Trabant 601S and its quirky owner, with the factory toilet paper holder, and get this, *drumroll* an unwrapped roll of East German toilet paper. He enthusiastically explained to me that toilet paper was in short supply in Soviet countries, so if you were one of the lucky few to own this car and were going on a road trip, don’t expect any public bathroom to have toilet paper. He also had its trunk loaded up with period correct accessories such as first aid kits, great contrast to the guys with Ferrari hats and enclosed trailers towed by an F250 Platinum.
I’ve heard that the toilet paper holder was also reasonably common in West Germany in the ’50s and ’60s. There was apparently no expectation of being able to find public bathrooms on road trips between cities, so one would have to pull off on the side of the road and tend to their business.
I thought April Fools Day was in ………..April
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