Monday, March 14, 2005

Please Don't Eat the Car...

This morning's Chronicle had a feature on Auto Orphans, that is, low-end cars that are now forgotten--except by low-end car enthusiasts. I was particularly piqued by the tale of the Trabant, "the weird little East German car that could well be dubbed the pinnacle, if that's allowed, of basic transportation.

"Affectionately known as the "Trabi," millions of these tiny cars were produced by VEB Sachsenring, Automobilwerke Zwickau. Because of the shortage of steel in East Germany, the Trabant's body was made of Duroplast, a combination of wood and cotton pulp mixed with resin.

"'That's where you get the phrase 'cardboard cars,' ' says Rod Dahlgren, a Napa auto appraiser who owns three Trabants.

"At one point, the automakers learned that rats and other rodents would chew at the Duroplast body, so in the next batch of car bodies the Trabant people mixed in some rat poison.

"'The rats stopped chewing on the bodies,' Dahlgren says, 'but the manufacturer realized this (use of rat poison) was not such a good idea.'"

I should think so. Imagine if junior had a nasty habit of nibbling on the bumpers. As for the rats--they'd likely keep chewing on the Duroplast, only they'd die, which would leave you with dead rats and a car with nibble-marks all over it. Do you think rats would learn not to chew on cars? "Hey, Hans, get away from that bumper, man! Didn't you see what happened to Aldo?"


Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

My Yugo could crush your Trabant, though I'd have to be pushing pretty hard.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

And it probably wouldn't be drivable afterward.

4:09 PM  

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