Most people familiar with automobiles from the former communist states of Europe would not expect any shining examples of great cars to be included. Most of them could be on a list of bad cars, but none so much as the East German Trabant, a miserable little car from a society accustomed to misery. The East German government was dedicated to the ideals of socialism, but it also wanted to modernize its industry. The automobile served as the perfect project to project industrial power while providing the people with a practical, durable good. But it was communist.
Faced with a shortage of some raw materials and technology from the West, the German Democratic Republic, or DDR, employed engineers to come up with a car they could produce. They got a small car powered by a 499cc two-cylinder, two-stroke engine, and no options. The body was made from Duroplast, a sort of plastic made with cotton fibers and resin. It was embarrassingly simple, poorly constructed, and the wait time to purchase a brand new car ran about 10 years. Trabants were manufactured mostly unchanged from 1963 until Germany was unified in 1991 (via Silodrome). Today, there is a small but dedicated fanbase to the car purely for nostalgia’s sake, because there is nothing to like about it beyond getting you where you want to go (if it does not break down on the way).