With Trabant from Gersdorf to Naples

Gersdorf / Naples. In the summer of 1990, the year of the reunion, Udo Strutz set out with his wife Rita and their seventeen-year-old daughter Jacqueline to travel from Peterfield to Naples in the azure Trabant, following in Goethe’s footsteps. Go Trabi Go has always been a beloved movie. But instead of “Schorch”, “Mirko” soon went off.

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Read more after the announcement

Dennis Voigt stands in front of his garage with a mustache and a mullet. His Trabant is parked behind him in a crowded gray building in East Germany. Mayor Mirko. Year of manufacture ’89, white papyrus, two-cylinder two-stroke engine, 26 hp. “I was born at the wrong time,” he says, and you immediately believe him. Dennis Voigt is 23 years old. A few months ago he bought a Trabant 601 S. in Peterfield. There, Wolfgang Stumpf aka Udo Strutz began his journey to Italy. This somehow fits. It actually fits like a glove. Because Dennis Voigt, along with a couple of his friends, have exactly that in mind. With Turabi from Gersdorf to Naples and back again. 1500 km one way. And never more than 80 kilometers per hour.

With 26 hp for Italy

What sounds absolutely crazy makes Dennis Voigt euphoric. “The idea came up when we were watching Go Trabi Go in a cinema in Dresden. Someone said, ‘Let’s do it too’ and the others were there,” the 23-year-old recalls. The story hasn’t been 100% thought out yet. But the initial plan is there. “We planned the trip for five days,” says Dennis Voigt. Instead of going on the highway, you should be going along country roads. They want to drive the Brenner, the legendary road connecting Austria and Italy. In Italy and then along the water. “The path is the goal,” says Dennis Voigt. “The trip itself should be something special. That’s what it’s about.”

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Read more after the announcement

Denis Voigt inherited his love for Al-Tarabi from his father. To this day he loves the charm of “cartoon”.

At the age of 23, Dennis Voigt actually had no points of contact with the GDR. But his father gave him his love for Trabant. Tarabi still drives today. In wind and weather. every day. “My father led me to a kindergarten in my dirt, and later to school,” he recalls. “I read and studied the manual at that time.” He later learned to drive himself with his father, Turabi. “When I was eight, I took the gearshift out of the passenger seat because my mother didn’t want to use the gearshift on the steering wheel.” What did his father say when he heard of his son’s idea? “He doesn’t think so. My dad didn’t drive very far in his car in dirt. Now I want to drive 1,500 km twice in a row.”

Huge spare parts warehouse in Gersdorf

He learned everything he knew about Trabant from his father. In Gersdorf, where the family lives, Dennis Voigt has access to a huge spare parts warehouse. I’ve accumulated a lot over the years. It is one of the main advantages of the 23-year-old: he can do everything himself on my dirt and does not depend on anyone. No special tools required either. “You can take the engine out yourself. It’s going out in 20 minutes, it’s coming back in 40 minutes,” says Dennis Voigt. And he needs to know. He’s taken it before.

You can pay several thousand euros for a dirt car today.  For Dennis Voigt, it was important that his Trabant not be a Piccopello.  Says:

You can pay several thousand euros for a dirt car today. For Dennis Voigt, it was important that his Trabant not be a Piccopello. “One has to look at his years as well,” he says.

He still remembers the day he bought a dirt car in Peterfield. The weather was bad. “I was driving down the highway in the freezing rain,” he says. “When I got home, my dad was already standing under the garage and was waiting for me.” In fact, Dennis Voigt wished he had a glacier blue dirt river. “But when you see a good show, you don’t look at the color.” After more than 30 years, the price of a “cardboard” has become. You pay several thousand euros to buy a Trabant. This does not guarantee that they are in good condition.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

“Everyone has their own story with Al-Turabi”

But Dennis Voigt’s new baby is doing well. “It has hardly any rust, just a few specks of tar here and there.” “But you should be able to see that he’s older.” When Dennis Voigt is standing somewhere in my dirt, people ask him about it. “Everyone has their own story with Al-Turabi,” he says. “Especially the older ones tell me their tricks, some still have something false that they can give me.” Dennis Voigt loves stories. And he loves the way they connect people.

Dennis Voigt and his friends want to travel from Gersdorf to Naples on a trail

Dennis Voigt and his friends want to travel from Gersdorf to Naples on the “Go Trabi Go” trail with two Trabis and Simson.

Instead of Rita and Jacqueline, Karl Dam and Niklas Reich set off with him to Naples. One with a second dirt and one with a Simson S 51. They pack their tents because they want to be as flexible as possible. Don’t book hotels, just sleep wherever you are. A space for tools and spare parts has also been reserved in Tarabi. “Head gasket, spark plugs, brakes – we can take that with us if something is in the way.” While there are enough opportunities to get spare parts in Germany, it may be more difficult in Italy.

No timetable, no set route

The three don’t really know what’s in store for them just yet. Just do it, go first. They want to drive to Naples at least to take one photo, to have a look at the city. “Let’s see where that time takes us,” says the 23-year-old. You don’t have a set timetable, no set route. You have to be able to withstand such a trip. “We can do it. The three of us define pretty much the same way.”

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The motor can be removed within 20 minutes, and back within 40 minutes.  You can do it all yourself in Tarabi - one of the things the 23 year old loves about Tarabi.

The motor can be removed within 20 minutes, and back within 40 minutes. You can do it all yourself in Tarabi – one of the things the 23 year old loves about Tarabi.

There will still be some challenges: “In Italy, the tank is full at gas stations, so don’t fill yourself up,” says Dennis Voigt. “Somehow I must explain to the official at the gas station in English that a mixture must go into my dirt.” But it will be fine. He will often have to go to a gas station. It can travel 200 kilometers on a full tank. He got support from Andy Koons, a spare parts dealer. His company Leisniger Autoteile Kunze sponsors the trip for €200. Because even if the Trabi has not been built for a long time – there are still replica parts. Anything Dennis Voigt can’t find in the family’s inventory, he has to get.

Operational test in the Baltic Sea

He still has a little time to give my earthy a good look. Dennis Voigt, Karl Dam and Niklas Reich do not plan to travel to Naples until next year. But there is a test run this year. “We want to go to the Baltic Sea,” says the 23-year-old. It’s only about a third of the way around, but it’s the perfect test. “So I can first see how it drives longer distances, and what its characteristics and quirks are,” he says of a dirt car. By the way, when we go to Italy next summer, the navigation system will not show the way. Instead, the Road Atlas will be on the passenger seat. If it’s nostalgia, then right.

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Written by Stephanie Helm

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