These are hard times for 30,000 "Trabis" in Germany. Spare parts for the GDR cult car are under threat of becoming extinct. Fortunately there is Frank Hofmann - a Trabi enthusiast from Zwickau, who has replicated wear-resistant parts. His latest coup: A pivot bearing bushing for the steering, made of high-performance plastic from the Cologne-based company igus and thus considerably more robust than the original.
An SUV with 400 HP, wide, high and dominant, weighing two tons. For many people such a heavyweight is a status symbol. But not for Frank Hofmann. The heart of the trained radio and television mechanic from Zwickau beats for another vehicle. It is small, modest and only 26 HP strong. We are talking about the Trabi - built by VWB Automobilwerk Zwickau from 1958 to 1990: the symbol of German reunification.
As a small boy, Hofmann fell in love with the GDR cult car, a Trabi 500, which belonged to his grandfather's neighbour. "For me, there was no finer car. I had particularly taken a liking to the rear end," Hofmann enthuses. "It was clear that one day I would be the proud owner myself. As a young adult, in 2000, an attempt was made to restore a defective Trabi. "I looked through spare parts catalogues for weeks. Terribly frustrating, because many parts simply no longer exist," Hofmann recalls. But crises are also known to be opportunities. "Suddenly I had the idea of becoming self-employed, with my own online shop for spare parts. “ Said and done! The shop Trabantenwelt.de went online in 2006.