Trabant electric car concept for 2009 Frankfurt auto showEnlarge Photo
Of all the dead car brands interred in the automotive history books, what's the one you'd least expect to be revived?
Not so fast, Mr. Auto Union. Our first pick above all is Trabant, the unloved East German fabricators of the awful sedans that hailed from the GDR until liberation from tyranny in 1989. Remember when the Wall came down? And how moments later, Trabbis littered used-car lots as Ossies realized what they were missing (mostly BMWs and Benzes, along with first-run episodes of Cheers)?
Now, a German company with the rather itchy name of Herpa says it will reconstitute the Trabant brand at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. They'll show a "New Trabi" prototype to lure investors in their scheme to restart the brand in its hometown of Zwickau, which rolls off the tongue with the usual German lyricism, no?
The concept will "sport" an electric drivetrain, a solar panel for battery recharges (perfect for powering up during those long, sunny winter days in Rostock), and a driving range of--well, they're claiming 156 miles. Our guess: less usable range than Patricia Arquette in Medium, with nearly as much aggravation.