Wagon Wednesday: Trabant Wagon with Alfa Romeo Engine Swap

The Trabant, be in a “sedan” (actually a coupe, but who’s counting the doors) or wagon version, was a miserable vehicle, even by Eastern European standards. All this misery was powered by a miserable two-cylinder, two-stroke engine. I still remember from my childhood days how people used to mix gas and oil at gas stations, often cursing at getting the mixture wrong. Most notably the Trabant will always be remembered by its perforce in a U2 video which made it the poster child of communism and all that was wrong in Eastern Europe.

Fast-forward two decades and the cars of the Eastern Bloc are developing a cult following. Some people preserve them in their original conditions and some… don’t. This one isn’t obviously isn’t original. Remember the conversation we had about crazy engine swaps? This one maybe up there.

That is an engine out of an early 1990s Alfa Romeo 33. The very vague ad does not state the displacement of the horizontally-opposed four cylinder gasoline engine but it does say that it is “very good” condition, or as close to that as anything Alfa can be. How does this rate on your crazy engine swap meter?

I can only assume that the engine is mounted in front of the front axle for some reason, perhaps a Subaru- or Audi-like front-wheel-drive setup. It says that a Wartburg sub-frame was used, which should give you that warm fuzzy feeling you get whenever OEM part usage is maximized during such conversions. I’m not really sure what’s going on there, but hey, it’s “very good”

Because of the elongated nose, the interior received a good amount of hacking. Or maybe it came like this from the factory, I am not really sure. Notice the ignition switch on the left hand side, you know, for when you’re racing your Trabant at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Continuing the “racecar” theme inside are two seats that were probably pulled out of the same car from which the engine and steering wheel came out of. Extra bonus are the two improperly installed harnesses. Roll bar? It’s a Trabant, it does not need to stinkin’ roll bar! It’s made out of some of the strongest plastics available in DDR.


Sexy and useful is the ass of a Trabant Wagon. Just look at the fins! And those taillights, you’d think they’re custom clear lenses, right? No, those babies are original, just faded from the sun. Other than the “very good” engine the seller says that this Trabii needs a little TLC. I’m pretty sure these cars needed a lot of TLC as soon as they left the factory.


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