Saturday, April 01, 2006

Car Stories 3 - My Strangest Car

Yep. It was a Trabant - the darling of East Berlin (until the wall came down). My part in the story begins in Vancouver - before the wall came down. An embassy official brought the car to Canada in the 80s. As you can see, it was a stretched model, suitable for diplomatic services. I don't know why it was painted yellow. There was evidence in the nooks and crannies that it was originally black. This fellow managed to bring the car to Canada (a regulatory nightmare, I'm sure), but he didn't bring any spare parts. When the engine blew, he was out of luck. He sold the car, and I, having the right connections, heard about it. I bought and sold lots of cars when I was in college, but this was the oddest. The original motor as a little 2-stroke with only 26 hp. It was easy enough to find a replacement - there are lots of old 2-stroke motorbikes on the coast. I used a twin from a Yamaha RD 400 (air-cooled, about the right amount of power).

I didn't keep it for long. I got sick of all the attention it attracted, but the worst part was climbing hills. If I had more than one passenger, someone would have to get out and push. I found out - too late - that I couldn't resell this rig. I didn't have diplomatic immunity from safety standards and emission controls like the E. German dude did. I had to take it to a wrecker. I hope they recycled the plastic body. It would have made a lot of fine garbage cans. Frankly, that's all it was fit for - the garbage can. Like this post.

Happy April First.

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