Trabant 601 S: Trabi in white with less than 30,000 km on eBay
Anyone who had to drive when the P 601 Trabi was on sale probably cursed the little one and its quirks. Anyone who is allowed to drive a Trabant today generally regards it as a gift. Away from the excited tinkling of modern infotainment systems, back to driving.
The Trabant 601 has won rallies and races. He was a movie star and the subject of musical hits. Above all, however, he mobilized a people under adverse conditions. Therefore, he is rightfully a legend, revered by many to this day.
In the photos, this papyrus-white Trabant 601 S offered on eBay makes a well-kept impression. The seller immediately mentions that the small Zwickau vehicle has a fresh MOT – the next date for the technical inspection is in July 2024. The speedometer shows 29,600 kilometers. This can be described as manageable with a clear conscience.
The offered Trabi knows how to convince with a few nice details. The seller writes of bumpers, lamp rings and taillights with chrome decorations. According to the information, there is also a trailer hitch and a fully lined trunk. Wheels, brakes and various bushings are new. The price tag is 4490 euros.
Why the seller writes about the H license plate in the title of the advertisement is not explained further. Presumably he wants to show the Trabant as having an H license plate in terms of age and condition. Excellent! But depending on the future home, with a displacement of not quite 600 cubic centimeters, the question arises as to whether the H is actually worth it.
What condition is the body in?
It starts with the classic: the sheet steel skeleton under the duroplast body tends to rust. This skeleton was driven from one production site in Zwickau to the other on open trucks in wind and weather. Right from the start this is, shall we say, suboptimal.
Sheet steel was a scarce commodity. So the load-bearing assemblies of the body became thinner and thinner over the 26 years of construction. And rust protection ex works was not only a foreign word at Sachsenring in the 1960s to 1980s.
Has the engine been properly maintained?
Item number two on the checklist should be the engine. If you have little technical knowledge, you can consult an expert at this point at the latest. The technology of the Trabant needs a lot and above all regular maintenance.
The problem with this: even if something is already broken, the trusty Trabi still drives. In the worst case even with imminent bearing damage. In order to recognize it, you not only need passion, but above all practiced ears.
Does the gearbox make noise?
The gearbox must not squeak or make unexpected noises. First of all, the shift rod should be very easy to move. Ideally, a Trabant can be shifted with a single finger.
The fourth gear freewheel must engage and disengage evenly when you take your foot off the accelerator. Ultimately, the gearbox should be tight.
Does the Trabi drive tight or spongy?
The pivot bushings of the Trabant must be lubricated regularly. Otherwise they give up the ghost prematurely. The silent bushings of the wishbones cannot be maintained. They should be replaced from time to time.
If the Trabi is spongy, the rear wishbones are in the bucket. The brakes don’t like longer periods of idle time. Wheel brake cylinders can get stuck after just a few months.
Where can I find spare parts for the Trabant?
Spare parts vary in difficulty to obtain. Some early model interior components just don’t exist. With the technology of the 601, the procurement problems are manageable. But there are poor quality replicas on the market.
An important point at the end is the chassis number. There are said to be vehicles that have been converted from young to oldtimers with the help of a changed number so that they can continue to drive in environmental zones. Beware of such “fakes”!