Tag Archives: Trabant

Coffee, Croissant & Cars 04/16 – Avenue Drivers Club

Finally managed to pop along to another Avenue Drivers Club meeting at Queen Square in Bristol on Sunday, here is a selection of the cars looking for somewhere to park at around 8 am !

Mercedes Benz E280 Auto, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Above a smart low riding 1993 Mercedes Benz E280.

Trabant 601, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Not sure of the age of this low riding Trabant 601, but it looks in way better than new condition.

Rambler American, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Swinging in from 1966 a Rambler American.

Italia 2000, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Only 329 Italia 2000 GT’s were ever built and this 1962 example is only the third I have ever seen.

Ford Popular 327 Chevy, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

I believe Merv Barnett’s 327 Chevrolet V8 powered 1954 Ford Popular Gasser, known as Psychedelic Relic, is usually to be found on the 1/4 mile strips at Santa Pod and Shakespeare County Raceway rather than the cobbled streets of Queen Square, Bristol.

Volkswagen Golf E, Avenue Drivers Club, Queen Square, Bristol

Finally it was great to see some one else in a 2000 Volkswagen Golf Mk IV Estate, this 1,400 cc E example appearing to have bodywork and hubcaps in considerably better condition than my own.

Thanks for joining me on this “Coffee, Croissant & Cars 04/16” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at another Packard. Don’t forget to come back now !


Scavenged and Salvaged – Trabant P60

VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke in Zwickau, Sachsen, East Germany was named after the Sachsenring race track and made use of manufacturing plants that had once belonged to Horsch and Audi before the 1939/45 war.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

East Germany’s need for agricultural equipment led VEB Sachsenring to making tractors before moving into the automobile market with a variety of water cooled 2 stroke and 4 stroke vehicles.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The P60 was the second Trabant to be powered by an aircooled 594 cc / 36 cui 2 stroke motor which produced no more than 20hp.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Like all Trabants the petrol tank was mounted above the motor and used only gravity to feed the two stroke mixture to the engine. The fuel gauge was a piece of graduated wood which acted as a dip stick.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

This particular 1962 P60, seen at the Rare Breeds show held at Haynes International Motor Museum, was rescued in 1996 from atop a pile of cars in Gatebeck, Cumbria, after it had been scavenged for parts for another P60 that resided in the Isle of Man.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

P60’s were in production from 1962 to 1964 when they were replaced by the Trabant 601 that remained in production until 1991.

Thanks for joining me on this “Scavenged and Salvaged” edition of ‘Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you’ll join me again tomorrow when I’ll be honoring the first man to record a 200 mph lap in an Indy Car. Don’t forget to come back now !


5th Rare Breeds Show – Haynes International Motor Museum

Last Sunday I managed to pop out for a couple of hours to catch the 5th Rare Breeds Show at the Haynes International Motor Museum.

Studebaker President 8 Limousine (FA), Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Back in 1928 $2,450 could get you this Studebaker President 8 Limousine powered by a 100 hp 5121 cc / 313 cui straight 8 motor. This car which competed on price with Chrysler and Buick but in interior finish with Packard and Duesenburg, was built in Walkerville Canada and is believed to be the only one of 2450 built still on the road. It is operated as a wedding car by vintage-wheels.co.uk.

Rolls Royce Phantom I, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Rolls Royce New Phantoms, built from 1925 to 1929 replaced the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost series, with a new overhead valve six cylinder motor replacing the side valve motors of the earlier models. These cars were built in Derby England and Springfield Massachusetts. This 1929 model would be one of the last New Phantoms built, they were replaced in 1929 by the Phantom II at which point New Phantoms became retrospectively known as Phantom I’s. I hope you are paying attention in the back there, this car was one of several at the rare breeds show operated by rrelite.co.uk.

Lea Francis 14HP Sports, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Weighing a ton but armed with a 87 hp motor a Lea Francis 14(taxable)hp Sports could reach 87 mph with steering and, rod operated, brakes to match. Unfortunately it’s price meant just 111 of these car were built between 1947 and 1949. This 1948 example is one of over 40 known survivor’s.

Trabant P60, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

With a name that translates from German to Russian into Sputnik the East German Trabant P50 was launched in 1958 with two cylinder 18 hp 500 cc / 30.5 cui aircooled two stroke motor derived from a pre war DKW. The body made extensive use of Duroplast made from recycled cotton waste from the Soviet Union and local phenol resigns from the dye industry. This 1962 P60 is fitted with the more power powerful 23 hp 600cc / 36.6 cui motor that would remain in production, from 1964 in the ‘updated’ 601 series bodies, until the collapse of the Berlin wall 1989.

Volkswagen Type 2, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Despite having only 27,000 miles on the clock this 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 has many stories to tell, it started out like as a fire truck at Zurich Airport, it has rare for the period sliding doors on both sides to facilitate access to the fire pump that used to be inside. It then served as a fire truck in a Swiss Village, with 15,000 miles on the clock it came to the UK in 2003 and was bought and returned to it’s original factory supplied colours by Ross Gammie who discovered that it’s 53 hp was not really enough to pull his Porsche 908 race car. Since it’s redesignation as a race support vehicle the van with it’s period correct Porsche 356 wheels has since changed hands again.

FT Bonito Special, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Amazingly the FT Bonito Special above also started life as a Volkswagen, a 1967 Beetle, before a conversion was started in 1986 to turn the bug into an FT Bonito, a kit car from a company called Fibrefab. The current owner found it unfinished in a garden in 1999 and has since brought it too life with a VW Golf motor. This is thought to be the only competition version of an FT Bonito ever to have been built.

Lenham ALFA Romeo, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

David Roots Lenham ALFA Romeo special was looking resplendent, even on a dull day, as usual.

Checker Marathon, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The New York ‘cab’ above is a 1978 Checker Marathon with a 160 hp 5735 cc / 350 cui V8 motor. The car is also operated for weddings and filming by rrelite.co.uk . Among it’s credits is an appearance in the 2008 Boyzone number Love You Anyway.

Chevrolet Corvette, C3 B2Z, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

I looked in detail at a Chevrolet Corvette C3 some weeks ago the 1978 model seen here has the $399 B2Z 25th Anniversary option two tone paintwork along with the 25th Anniversary mandatory $380 option aluminium wheels and sport door mirrors.

Tickford Turbo, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The Tickford Capri is a Ford sanctioned hand built Ford Capri with a 205 hp turbocharged motor that cost double the price of a standard 170 hp Ford Capri 2.8i. This 1984 example #002 was the first type approved version, ordered by someone desperately keen to have one built as close to the prototype show car before Tickfords had even moved into the planned production facility for the series.

Knight Industries Two Thousand, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The 1984 Pontiac Trans Am based Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T) was developed for the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG) by Wilton Knight and was essentially an artificially intelligent electronic computer module installed in an advanced, mobile, robotic automobile.

The original 1982 K.I.T.T was a hard top, but no doubt in danger of getting a hot head due to his crime fighting success, it was deemed that Micheal Knight be given a Targa Top for the 1985 crime wave. This particular K.I.T.T thought to be one of thirty built is operated by rrelite.co.uk.

Midas Cortez, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

This 1991 Midas Cortez is the spiritual ancestor of the Mini Marcos with Rover Metro running gear.

Thanks for joining me on this “5th Rare Breeds Show” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Two Timing – Shakespeare County Raceway

Camaro, Shakespeare County Raceway

The day before Memorial day I attended the Yanks and Gary’s 34th Picnic at Shakespeare County Raceway for an afternoons two timing entertainment.

Shakespeare County Raceway

Situated just outside the Shakespeare central known in the tourists guides as Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare County Raceway is built on the site of Long Marston Airfield which served as a Wellington Bomber base during the 1939/45 war.

Chevrolet Bel Air, Shakespeare County Raceway

Looking like it had just come off the set of “Two Lane Blacktop” was this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. The crew running it told me the 7.4 litre / 451 cui V8 was “misfiring all over the place”, a possible victim of cavitation in the fuel system thanks to the phenomenal weather we were experiencing.

Ford Popular Coupé, Shakespeare County Raceway

A strong contingent of European based vehicles were present at the “Yanks and Gary’s 34th Picnic event including this first generation 103E Ford Popular Coupé rig powered by a 5.7 litre / 347 cui V8. The Popular was a post ’39/’45 war austerity vehicle that was only ever offered as a saloon / sedan.

Austin A40 Countryman, Shakespeare County Raceway

There were not many cars present at Shakespeare County Raceway that could boast Farina styling, but this 1098 cc / 67 cui Austin A40 Countryman van was one of them.

Trabant 601, Shakespeare County Raceway

Another novelty vehicle was the NC Engineering Ford V8 powered Trabant that was being given it’s first run after it’s former Cadillac motor had been replaced. interestingly everybody who was involved in the preparation of this vehicle has been invited to to drive it in competition.

Ford Roadster, Shakespeare County Raceway

Among the fabulous US vehicles running at the event was this 1932 High Boy “Roadster” which like the Popular Coupé is powered by a 5.7 litre / 347 cui V8. This car reminded me of Leonard Williams High Boy Roadster before it became the worlds first privately owned Gas Turbine Car.

Plymouth Special De Luxe Coupé, Shakespeare County Raceway

From the plethora of vehicles bearing original patina was this 1948 Plymouth Special De Luxe Coupé complete with a 5.2 litre / 317 cui V8.

Buick Special Convertible, Shakespear County Raceway

My undoubted “Star of the Car Park” was this 1958 Buick Special Convertible which looked, as did several other cars present, like it had just come off the golf course at a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Pontiac Le Mans, Shakespeare County Raceway

Sporting a top of the Le Mans range 5.7 litre / 350 cui motor was this Pontiac, like many competitors present the driver was wielding his own spanners to keep this fine looking car in a top state of tune.

Hurst Oldsmobile, Shakespeare County Raceway

I did not know it when I took this photo but going on the engine size of 7457 cc / 455 cui this is a rare, though I am not at all sure exactly how rare Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. In 1972 following a fatal accident with the Indy 500 no manufacturer was keen on providing a pace car so transmission specialists Hurst stepped in with a couple of hot 455 cui Cutlass Supremes in both Coupé and Convertible forms. The 1972 pace car became well remembered after Linda Vaughan was hired to appear on the back of one of the convertibles with an outsize Hurst Shifter on the boot / trunk.

Shakespeare County Raceway

One reason I was keen to attend this meeting was to get a photo of fellow Bristol Pegasus Motor Club member Crazy Chris Hartnell pulling a wheely in his slingshot Backdraft, his weather helmet was present, dry, casting a shadow, and not shaking but just like the last time he tried this the cameraman was too slow and will have to try again next time. Chris managed two 145+ mph practice runs on the day.

Soul Town Shaker, Caterham, Shakespeare County Raceway

Since this was a practice day many interesting combinations of vehicles were being run, like the Caterham above which got well and truly dusted by the 425 cui Buick Nailhead powered slingshot ‘Soul Town Shaker’ driven by Keith Crampton.

Chevrolet Camaro, Fiero Euro 427, Shakespeare County Raceway

After doing a lovely burn out while being watched by the driver of the, probably Rover V8 powered, Fiero Euro 427, the seen was set for a slightly more competitive run off than the previous Caterham Slingshot combination.

Chevrolet Camaro, Fiero Euro 427, Shakespeare County Raceway

However all present were to be reminded of Shakespeare’s quote from King Lear “As Flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods, they kill us for their sport” as soon after leaving the Fiero Euro 427 standing on the line the Camaro made a dramatic exit stage left,

Shakespeare County Raceway

punched straight in to the guard railing …

Chevrolet Camaro, Shakespeare County Raceway

and eventually came to rest at the quarter mile mark. Fortunately “th’ gods’ who would kill us for their sport’ were in benevolent mood and after he had been released from the Camaro the driver was seen walking unaided to the ambulance for a precautionary medical.

Nikon 8800, Shakespeare County Raceway

The camera gods were also smiling, after the accident I foolishly took my camera strap off to stretch out on my perch in the grandstands, waiting for confirmation that there would be no further activity on track before the curfew. When the announcement finally came I forgot that I’d taken my camera strap off got up and heard the sickening thud of my camera bouncing off the grandstand decking and into the 20 foot void beneath the grandstand and eventually hit the surface below.

Ford V8 Pickup Truck, Shakespeare County Raceway

I went to survey the damage and amazingly although the battery had dropped out the camera was fine as demonstrated by the fine shot of the 1938 Ford V8 Pickup above.

Ford High Boy Roadster, Shakespeare County Raceway

After all the excitement it was time to head home, but there was one final surprise as I left the gate …

Dodge Challenger STR8, Shakespeare County Raceway

… a Dodge Challenger STR8 bedecked in wedding bands, a perfect car for a wedding.

Thanks for joining me on this “Two Timing” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Satellite of affectionate derision – Trabant 601

Continuing on yesterdays East European theme here are a couple of pics of a Trabant 601 Station wagon. The Trabant name meaning satellite was inspired by the Russian Sputnik space programme.

The 601 was third air cooled 2 stroke model to come from VEB Sachsenring in Zwickau East Germany. In from production from 1965 – 1990 it is powered by a 27 hp 600 cc / 36 cui two cylinder, two stroke engine, which was relatively easy to maintain, to get to the underside of the car for instance, two people could easily lay the car on its side !

The Trabant body work is made of Duraplast the first to use recycled material mostly wool and cotton waste from the Soviet Union and phenol resins from the East German dye industry. Early examples had no fuel gauge but used a dipstick to determine the volume of fuel in the tank which sat atop the engine. Since the car had no fuel pump other than gravity to feed the carburettor.

Though seen with affectionate derision these cars are still used as daily drivers and still used in competition, a Trabant was also the star of a film called Go Trabi Go !

Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to come back now !