Index Home About Blog
From: (VAntonova)
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Rare cars (was: losing pieces of  VWs)
Date: 29 Sep 1998 06:05:36 GMT

>And if we're going to go into Soviet Block esoterica, there's
>Trabant (the cheaper of the two East German cars; plastic,

Actually, it's not plastic. I'd say fiberglass, but not exactly. More like
Shperplat (sompressed wood pulp with epoxy). Or maybe it's old rags and linen
soaked with horse glue. I had a minor wreck with one, and spent many hours
trying to figure out what it was made of. My best guess was that they took
anything fibrous (wood pulp, rags, linen, asbestor, fiberglass, and wnything
else that was avalible at the time) and mixed it with anything sticky they
could get their hands on.

>as opposed to
>reinforced plastic, body; most famous picture of one after the Fall of
>the Wall was of a Trabi that had been lifted bodily into a dumpster)

It weights about 1000 lbs, maybe a little less. The main problem of lifting one
is that there is no place to grab it. The chance of lifting the body shell of
the chassis is pretty good.

>Skoda (prewar Skoda products were not bad, the Czechs were pretty good
>engineers; some Skodas made it to Canada)
>Tatra (ditto; ever see an air-cooled rear-mounted V8?)
>Lada (Russki Fiat; some sold in Canada)

My parents had one. At the time, I thought it was a very nice car.


They made some interesting trucks for the russian army. I remeber listening to
some drive down a road. Sounded like they had a 15:1 rear end. They were doing
30MPH and sounded like they were turning 4000 RPM. They were constantly
shifting gears, without much effect on engine RPM or speed.

I also saw a GAZ half-track. Living hear Boulevard Lenin (in Bulgaria), I heard
a lot of interesting traffic noise. One morning I was woken up by a lound
squeaking sound. Couldn't determine where it was coming from, but it was slowly
getting louder. Half an hour later I saw the GAZ half-track coming. The
squeaking from the tracks was loud enough to drown out the engine roar.


The car with a tank engine. That is, the engine that cranked the main engine.
As Russia could never make batteries that would last more that a few months,
they abandoned the idea of electric starting and used a pony motor. Some idiot
figured the little 2-cyl engine putting out 15 or 20 HP would make a good car

>Dacia (Rumanian Renault)

Another common car in that area is the Moscvitch. Has a water-cooled 4-cylinder
engine, but the 2-cyl Trabant could outrun it.

An interesting car I saw once in a while was a Pobeda. They were made in the
50's or 60's by Bulgaria. None were running. Abandoned cars in these countries
were not removed from the steets, and I had a great deal of fun tearing them
apart. I also tore apart some sort of a Russian airplane that was abandoned in
a field, a couple of German tanks, and a John Deere tractor.

Car theft in these countries was greatly conplicated by the fact that it was
common practice to do anything one wanted to do with an abandoned car, and it
is usually very hard to tell an abandoned car from one that isn't. With the
cost of gasoline (I've stood in line for 6 hours to get gas, and often there
was a limit of 10 liters or so), and the fact that most cars needed constant
and expencive repair, most cars looked abandoned. It was not uncommon for
somebody to accidentally strip somebody's car, in plain view of police and all.

Another interesting thing was that there were no junkyards as in America. There
were enormous piles on junk, cars, buses, trucks, airplanes (and yes,
metalworking machines) that were for anyone to take. I had a great time there.

Another interesting thing was the massive amounts of interesting stuff in
dumpsters. I pulled countless oscilloscopes and other electronic equipment from
a dumpster next to a high school.

There was also a lot of machine shops everyware. One day I saw a number of
lather sitting outside one of them. In the next few days, they were stripped of
all parts that a man can lift.

Speaking of lifting, Bulgaria was the biggest manufacturer of forklifts at one
time. They were called Balkan Electrocar (they were electric). Japan bought
most of them, tore tham apart, and buy their own forklifts witht the parts.


Index Home About Blog