Werner Lang, father of Trabant, died at 91

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 6, 2013

Fans and enthusiast of the much-criticized yet much-loved Trabant mourned the death of the father of this global icon, Werner Lang. Lang died of a heart attack at in Zwickau, Germany, on June 17, 2013, at the age of 91. The Trabant was launched in 1957, the same year as the Soviet Sputnik satellite. In fact, “Trabant” means a celestial body or satellite.

The Trabbie, as fans and enthusiasts called the Trabant, featured an air-cooled, two-stroke engine that provided only 26 hp, allowing the car to reach only a top speed of 62 mph. The Trabbie also featured body made from Duroplast, a plastic created from recycled materials like cotton waste and phenol resins. Lang was named as chief engineer of the Zwickau plant where the Trabant was built.

Under his direction, Trabant grew to become a global icon. The Trabbie became the most omnipresent vehicle in communist East Germany and other Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War era.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Eastern Bloc consumers were then exposed to vehicles built in western Europe. This spelled doom for the Trabbie, which design did not change for around 30 years. The Trabbie met its own end in 1991. Lang joined his creation after 22 years.

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