From the late '50s a vehicle, a personal carrier emerged from the Eastern part of Germany which became the symbol of Eastern transportation. That's the Trabant.
This car, which originally wasn't destined to be a car, created one of the biggest mistakes in automobile history. In the '50s, when cheap transportation was all the rage throughout Europe and small motorcycles, mopeds were the only means of transport, another idea existed for an intermediate vehicle between the car and the motorbike. Call it bubble-car, microcar, whatever - You'll get the impression.
The Trabant, which was originally called the AWZ P70 was originally intended to be a closed motorbike with a small engine and lightweight construction. A perfect mean of transportation for the whole family with a little boot at the back.
One of East Europe's biggest mistake was to keep the successor of the P70, the P601 in production for decades long after the original idea became worthless. And when they bolted a Volkswagen Polo engine into it, they disgraced the original spirit of the Trabant.
Why am I saying this? Look at the Goggomobil and compare it with the Trabant. Yes, the Trabant was the Eastern version. I'm not defending the idea, I'm just asking everyone to keep their head on the ground and look everything at prospect.

The history

DKW - Das Kleine Wunder (The small wonder). The German carmaker's pre-war type F8 became the archetype of all East German family cars.
The Zwickau Automobile Factory (AWZ) continued the production of the F8 and an updated version, the F9 after the War under the authority of the Soviets and then the East Germans.
At the early '50s it became crystal clear that these models were outdated. In 1953 production of the F9 was transferred to Eisenach, where EMW and later Wartburg were produced.
At Zwickau, a new model was developed, the P70 (P for plastic and 70 for the displacement which is about 700 cc).
AWZ P70This car was the first German small car with plastic body. The name of the material was Duroplast and contained resin, strengthened by wool.
The AWZ P70 debuted at the 1955 Leipzig Fair. Its engine was based on the old F8: two-cylinder, two-stroke, 690 cc, 22 bhp. With this engine the car which weighed 820 kg had a max. speed of 90 km/h. A three-speed asynchronized gearbox was fitted which transmitted the power to the front wheels.
The mechanical components were plain F8, but the powerplant was rotated by 90 degrees and placed further the front axle. So the wheelbase should've been lengthened by 220 mm. This resulted in better handling.
Beside the 'Limousine' body style a 'Kombi' estate and even a coupé was offered.
During the four year production life about 30 thousand cars were supplied.
In the meantime from 1957 on, a new updated model was on the market: the P50.

The P50 Trabant


This car carried the 'Trabant' badge for the first time.
Comparison of dimensions: Trabant: 3375 mm length, 1500 mm width and 1395 mm height. Goggomobil T300 Limousine: 2900, 1280, 1310.
Yes, the P50 was bigger than the Goggo and more powerful, but the idea was the same. The shape wasn't too bad either, in '50s style.
The P50 as its name suggest carried a smaller engine: 500 cc, 18 bhp, still two-cylinder, two-stroke. The four-speed transmission was still asyncrohinised.
And in 1964 after 132000 P50s the new P601 debuted. For a very short time there was a P60 on the market, before the P601.
This car had a 594 cc, 26 bhp engine derived from the P50.
It sported new cylinders, new cylinder-heads and exhaust system.
The shape is ridiculous now, but it was beautiful for many in the last 3 decades. It's a normal limousine, not too extravagant.
It was easy to repair, easy to live with. Sure, it soon became outdated, old design but who cared? Here, many family men still cry back to their youth when they had a Trabant. Everyone had a joke about the Trabant, but it was still the basic mean of transport. The epitome of socialism: bad, not capable of doing too many things, not too efficient but still manages to work somehow :-)
I devoted two pages for the 601:
The first show a couple of illustration from a '60s brochure with the technical details, the second is more artful with pictures of 601s in Hungary.