Trabant was an East German car brand deeply rooted in the pre-war car industry of Saxony.
Before world war II, Saxony was one of the centers of the German car industry, featuring brands such as Wanderer, DKW, Horch, and Audi, which together formed the Auto Union. After the war, the production facilities were in ruins, and what was left was seized by the Russians. The carmakers had a difficult start, which was not eased by the fact that they were immediately socialized and directly controlled by the government. Many engineers went to West Germany, where they were either hired by Borgward, where they went on to produce the tiny Lloyd microcars. Others went to Ingolstadt, where DKW had a central warehouse for spare parts, to form a company independent of the East German roots. (That company later became Audi.)
The remaining engineers struggled to set up a production line for the pre-war models DKW F8 and DKW F9. Of the latter model, only prototypes had been built before the war, but it had never been put into in production in favor of war-related vehicles.
Others developed a stylish, expensive luxury sedan in the tradition of Audi and Horch, named Sachsenring P 240 featuring a 2400 cc straight-six engine.
However, both cars proved to be too expensive and unsuitable for mass motorization, which the government believed could only be achieved with a unified cheap small car. They ordered the engineers in Zwickau, Saxony, to develop a microcar using as much as possible existing pre-war technology. Bubble cars like in West Germany were deemed unsuitable from the very start; instead, a proper little car was aimed for.
The first result was ready in 1955, but it was not yet called Trabant, but AWZ P70. It was based on a shortened chassis of the 1939 DKW F8. It had the same water-cooled longitudinally mounted 700 cc two-cylinder two-stroke engine, which produced 22 hp. However, the water cooling was of a thermosiphon type and the placement of the radiator behind the engine instead of its usual place in the front caused the engine to overheat frequently. This triggered the development of an air-cooled variant of the engine used in the later Trabant.
The body was also a novelty: A wooden space frame was covered with a newly developed plastic made from recycled material. This material called Duroplast was a phenol resin reinforced with waste cotton fibers from Russia. The engineers had to come up with such an exotic and novel solution because high-quality sheet metal from Western Europe was embargoed, the Russian steel was unsuitable, and own East German steel production capacities were not yet existing. This emergency solution made the AWZ P70 the first car using recycled plastic. The roof was made from plywood covered in leatherette, as the Duroplast technology was not yet developed far enough to produce parts of that size.
The spartan equipment made the car unattractive. All windows were fixed, the trunk did not have a lid and had to be accessed by removing the backrest of the rear seat. These issues were later corrected.
station wagon popular for its huge capacity
coupe with all-steel body, which was internationally acclaimed for its sporty design,
were added in 1956 and 1957, respectively.
The car turned out to be too costly in production and to be plagued with too many issues to be the basis for mass-motorization. Production was stopped in 1959. The experiences made with this car went into the development of the Trabant P50, which appeared in 1957.
Duroplast technology was improved, and a new 500 cc 18 hp air-cooled teo-cylinder two-stroke engine was developed to avoid trouble with the water cooling of the predecessor. The wooden space frame was replaced by a steel unibody. By the time the car made it to the market, it was among the most advanced microcars, providing relatively comfortable seating for four adults and a large trunk with a usable size of 415 liters (110 gal). This was enabled by a clever arrangement of a transversially-mounted engine and gearbox unit over the front axle, which required minimal space for the driving unit.
A station wagon was introduced shortly after the sedan.
In 1962, the engine was enlarged to 600 cc, resulting in an increas in power to 23 hp. The bodywork remained unchanged. The car was renamed to Trabant 600.
The last big change for a long time came in 1694, when a new body replaced the dated 1950s design for the model Trabant 601. The outer panels were still made from Duroplast, earning the car the nickname “Rennpappe” (”racing cardboard”).
The station wagon was also redesigned.
In this shape, the car was produced with only minimal changes and improvement for the next 26 years. Over the years, power outpot was increased from 23 to 26 hp. Design and technology, which were apart from the two-stroke engine still contemporary or even advanced by the time the model appeared, became more and more outdated, and although the car was reliable, it acquired a bad reputation and became an icon of the backwardness of the socialist economic model.
The engineers in Zwickau designed several potential replacements, experimented with Wankel engines, built prototypes, but all in vain. The political leaders
stopped all plans, fearing unnecessary investments as the car was working well and the socialist citizen did not need luxury.
Despite all shortcomings, and weaknesses of the ageing construction, production never met the demand, and potential buers had to wait for up to 20 years to get a new car. It was common that parents signed a contract for a child right after it was born, expecting the car to be delivered well after its 18th birthday. This was mostly due to the cumbersome and slow production process of the Duroplast body panels.
In the late 1980s, East Germany acquired a license to produce engines for Volkswagen, who expected a cost advantage from the cheap production in East Germany. Part of the agreement was that a certain contingent of the engines produced would be for the local cars, Trabant and Wartburg. However, investments for the new production line exploded, so no money was left to develop a new body for the car. Using many makeshift solutions, the old body was adapted to accomodate the 1100 cc version of the new, much bigger four-cylinder four-stroke engine. The result was an excessively expensive small car with an outdated body that was probably even more unpopular than the original in its final years. In 1989, when the car was introduced, the peaceful revolution in East Germany and the reas of Eastern Europe was in full swing. Production started in 1990 and ended already on April 30, 1991, after only 12 months. With the financial, economic and social revolution in July 1990, western cars became affordable for the East Germans, and the Trabant had no chance for survival. Even price dumping, offering the car for only 6,000 DM (instead of 16,000 DM) did not help sales.
Many Trabant cars were abandoned after the owners had acquired a new western model. They created a major waste problem as the Duroplast was almost impossible to recycle.
Today, Volkswagen is present in Zwickau with a factory, and many suppliers are also producing there. However, they do not require as much workforce as the cumbersome and labor-intense production of the Trabant did, creating an unemployment problem in the region and a massive decrease in population.
Today, the car has achieved a kind of cult status. It has become a symbol of the German reunion, when tens of thousands of little Trabants were flooding into West Germany the days after the wall fell.
Sometimes you have to deal with things like an adult. Other times you make up stories about how you’ve been dealing with things.
“Where have I been for the last several weeks? Uuuuhh I was at church. I had an audition for a Netflix original series about the world’s most dangerous alpacas. Backpacking through the Ozarks. I was rescuing a rare goldfish in Indonesia. Napping. Building flood resistant houses in…. Germany? Life guarding… at a camp for elderly…. cats. Out of state werewolf convention. I kissed Bahorel. I kissed my roommate and I’ve been really embarrassed about it. I’ve been living on Eponine’s couch for weeks.”
Head canon that when Italy’s hospital visits for being very physically sick due to acqua alta floods becomes known to Germany, Germany starts attending to them with him.
Whenever Italy doesn’t feel too hot he’ll tell Germany something like “I think I’m going to check in for a couple days” and Germany will say “Okay I’ll drive you”.
They pack Italy’s over night bag and dive him in, they see the nation doctor, Italy gets hooked up with an IV drip and Nasal cannula and they just spend the whole day sitting there and talking like everything is normal until Italy falls asleep.
Even after that Germany still stays for as long as he’s allowed (Which he can spend the night because he’s a nation usually)
It sorta became a mutual understanding after Italy revealed his health issues and why Romano would fill in for him for weeks on end. It made their relationship stronger but of course it always made Germany worry.
there’s currently a jupiter (excess) neptune (water) opposition and there have been constant rain storms and floods in germany. not sure about other countries and whether it is connected to the transit though. maybe this is something for @weirdastrologicalcoincidences
It’s amazing how quite a lot of people haven’t even heard of a small meaningless country of Serbia and yet when we need help, thousands of volunteers from Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria, Belgium and even Bosnia that is in great danger itself, arrive and send supplies to help and save the Serbs who have lost their homes and families these days.
About Italy waving off his symptoms as small and unimportant could I request a drabble of Germany and Italy fighting about how he just waves them off as nothing?
(yESS!!! Sorry if there are any typos i’m tired ;3;)
Italy was always one to voice how he feels.
If he feels happy he will be vocal, if he’s upset he’ll definitely let one know even if he words it in the most inconspicuous way possible…
But when it came to illness, Italy was an entirely different person.
Back in the days when they would train together for war Italy would always let him know when he was exhausted and hurt somewhere, but sick? Italy was silent. He didn’t mutter a word.
Maybe it was because illness clouded his conscience but Italy never seemed to be very concerned by how he feels.
Even when it was evident that he was sick and Germany knew that he wasn’t feeling well he wouldn’t say anything about it. He would get up for training like Germany told him do and do everything he was ordered to until Germany found he had a fever and sent him off.
Even now that they were much closer than just allies, even much closer than friends, closer than best friends…Italy would wake up pale and shaky and still tell him “Good morning”.
It came from later knowledge that Italy was one to get sick frequently which caught Germany off guard. If Italy was so immunocompromised Germany would have known about it, right?
Apparently Italy is more of a closed book than he comes off to be.
It irritated Germany to no end how Italy would hide so much from him and shroud it with a smile as if there wasn’t anything masked behind his face. There was so much about Italy that he didn’t understand and god he wanted to…
Aqcua alta is another word for ‘Venice flooding’.
It plays a dire roll in Italy’s health as a whole.
Turns out Italy isn’t as healthy as anyone would have thought.
There was no fixing it. The flooding issues have been there since Italy was very little. He apparently kept it to himself so well that his own brother didn’t know until about a century ago after Italy had entered cardiac arrest unexpectedly.
How Italy could hide such horrible problems that could cause his heart to stop was beyond anyone’s comprehension.
Italy told Germany not to worry…But how could he not worry? Some days the forecast will alert everyone in Italy about some flooding difficulties going on in Venice leaving his problems public. Germany personally kept a close eye on Venice’s status on all times just to make sure.
Germany would remind Italy that if he didn’t feel good that he should either lay down or check into the hospital to lessen his symptoms, Italy would let him know his opinion, and they would work things out together.
Whenever they went to the hospital together Germany always had everything packed beforehand. He actually made ‘safety bags’ in preparation incase they were ever in a hurry.
They would check into Italy’s private room where he could speak with his private doctor who was knowledgeable about how nations work and aware of their existence and they would work out the best way to assist Italy during the floods…
One Germany couldn’t forget is when they spent a majority of the day just sitting there talking. Italy was hooked up to a nasal cannula to help him breathe better, he was smiling and was over all very lively but something seemed off.
His appearance had drastically changed since Germany had dropped him off there early in the morning…His eyes had sunken in, his featured paled drastically compared to his red cheeks, his eyes were glassy…He looked very off.
“Italy, are you okay?” Germany asked him.
“What? Of course I’m fine!” Italy replied with a smiled and continued to laugh off Germany’s comment.
As their time there increased Italy’s energy seemed to deplete, his eyes would roll uncontrollably, his speech would take long sudden pauses and he would continue as if he hadn’t stopped at all.
“Italy…” Germany called out to him.
Italy’s eyes were focused elsewhere and it didn’t seem like he could even hear Germany so he called out to him again.
Italy’s head snapped around, “yeah?”
“I think I need to call your doctor” Germany told him.
“Germany I’m fine. I feel great actually I think we should head home soon before it gets dark” Italy told him.
Germany didn’t want to say Italy’s opinion was wrong but the fact that Italy could look so sickly and then try to convince him that they should leave seemed absolutely absurd.
“No, Italy’s we are not leaving. You are not ready to leave” Germany told him.
“I know how I feel and I feel fine-“
“You don’t feel fine, Italy, you’re falling apart and you can’t even see it!” Germany quickly lost his temper but then tried to regain it again, “Look, I just want to do what’s best for you and you don’t know your limits sometimes. You always want to jump back into things as if you don’t care that you’re hurting-“.
“Oh no…” Italy interrupted him with a sudden exclamation.
Blood seeped out of Italy’s nose and dribbled down his chin onto his hospital clothes so suddenly that neither of them had much time to process it before Italy seized up.
Right after Italy began to cough of blood as well.
One of the most terrifying symptoms to aqcua alta was the sudden blood loss that italy would experience. It was as if everything was clogged up and then just spilled out.
Germany reached over to click the emergency button attached to Italy’s bed he saw Italy completely seize up. It was unknown to Germany if he was choking on his own blood or worser symptoms were going to show.
Italy fell limp against his bed shortly after Germany clicked the button.
He leaned over to grab Italy in hopes of somehow helping him but found Italy had gone completely cold.
“Oh god…” Germany muttered and then began to shout “OH MY GOD!”.
He gathered Italy up in his arms and tried to feel for any sign of a heart beat but it had completely stopped.
Germany raised his fists in an attempt to possibly revive him but he didn’t have the power in him to hit Italy; unconscious or not.
Italy’s doctor burst in with a defibrillator in her arms as if she had been awaiting this sort of thing to happen.
“Get back” she ordered Germany and he obeyed.
She rubbed the two pieces together and promptly pressed it up against Italy’s chest. His body jumped up in response of being shocked by the machine.
When it was to no avail the doctor tried again and again and again.
Germany sat in the corner of the room just watching the doctor trying to desperately bring him back.
She asked Germany to check Venice’s situation in between shocks and it was clear that she wasn’t even sure if this would be Italy’s last day on earth or not.
When news came in of Venice’s quick evacuation of certain areas and that there was an effort put into cleaning the floating city then after a few minutes Italy’s heart beat came back and he began to breathe again.
He ended up waking up to Germany cleaning the blood off of his face.
Italy looked up at Germany with half-lidded eyes, “I’m…So sorry…You had to see…That”.
“It was inevitable. You weren’t feeling well” Germany told him “Now imagine if we actually went home, you’d probably be way worse off”.
“I’m sorry” Italy repeated.
“It’s okay” Germany told him.
“I thought it was n-nothing…It is nothing…This happens all the time…Sometimes once a day when things get bad…” Italy mumbled drearily “I think it’s killing my brain cells…Every time I enter sudden cardiac arrest…Everything just sorta stops and I don’t feel anything…Its like I’m not even there…I guess I got so used to feeling l-like nothing that I just…Stopped caring”.
“I care about you” Germany said.
“I know you do…” Italy said, “Thank you for looking out for me, I like that you care…Y-You care more than I do about myself….How funny is that…”.
How old it must feel to feel such a pain so often…It was no wonder why Italy had grown so numb to illness.
Italy did consider himself lucky to have someone like Germany in his life.
Because although he may not care, Germany always will.
“A party sets out to repair telephone lines on the main road in Kranenburg on February 22, 1945, amid four-foot deep floods caused by the bursting of Dikes by the retreating Germans. During the floods, British troops further into Germany have had their supplies brought by amphibious vehicles.”