We all have heard of the Trabant....the duraplast wunderwagen of 2 strokes, cooling airs and 26 raging German horses that came out of East Germany.
However, what was there before the Trabant? VEB Sachsenring did not make a huge span of models in it’s existence....the Trabant’s variations formed the majority of this by far. They built some IFA trucks from 1957-1960, but otherwise the Trabant was their bread and butter from 1957 all the way until 1991 when the now-VW-powered Trabant 1.1 ceased production. EXCEPT for this:
I give you - the Sachsenring P240 - a late ‘50's luxury car from East Germany!
These cars had a brief production run of only about 4 years spanning from 1955 to 1959 (produced alongside the Trabant P50 for a time!), but I think they are quite handsome. Horch produced them under the Horch name as well. They came in Estate, sedan or convertible variants. They had a unique grill design and interesting exterior and interior details (at least on the higher trims) such as the chrome side-strip across the doors, or the interesting rectangle-circle-rectangle gauge cluster and handsome clock placement surrounded by vertical chrome strips.
They were powered by a 2.4L Horch straight-6...about 80hp...top speed of 120kph. The sad story is the car’s history. In their wisdom, with the Czechs producing more luxury Tatras, the Soviet Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) decided they would hold a contest to see if East Germany or Czechoslovakia’s car was better, and therefore more worthy of production - you can’t have TWO countries providing luxury cars to Soviet leadership and bigwigs, think of all the wasted resources! :O
Sadly, the Tatra 603 (which IS an awesome car in it’s own right) won out and East German and other communist officials started driving it instead while lower communist officials drove imported Soviet cars, especially the GAZ-21 Volga.
And, what of the poor P240? Well, it fell into the history books as a lesser-known blip, overshadowed by it’s smaller, more humble ‘People’s Car’ brother, the Trabant...