Tuesday 30th April 1991
After 34 years of production the 3,096,099th and last 18 hp two-stroke 600 cc Trabant rolled off the assembly line. It is often regarded as a symbol of the defunct East Germany and of the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general. The car had a reputation for being uncomfortable, slow, noisy, and dirty. Nevertheless, it was very sought after in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. To acquire a Trabant, buyers in East Germany would be placed on a list, with the wait time to receive one depending on their proximity to Berlin, the capital. The Trabant was a steel monocoque design with roof, boot/trunk lid, bonnet/hood, bumpers/fenders, and doors in Duroplast. Duroplast was a hard plastic (similar to Bakelite) made of recycled materials: cotton waste from the Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye industry, making the Trabant the first car with a body made of recycled material. The Trabant was the second car to use Duroplast, after the “pre-Trabant” Zwickau P70, made from 1954–1959.