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The Trabant RS takes the awful and makes it good

If you’re a custom car builder and want to attract attention, you could go the traditional route and get your hands on the most expensive car you can, and ruin it . If you can’t afford that, then you generally go with the ludicrous tuner car category. But Bulgarian customizers KoKonja have taken a third route.

Few will argue for the virtues of the Trabant. There are crummy people’s cars that are still cheap and cheerful, like the Peugeot 205 or Fiat 124. Even the Yugo was kind of fun to drive, if you squinted in the right light. The Trabby succeeds in the cheap and crummy part, but is in no way very nice. If you think they weren’t that bad, watch this footage of Trabant assembly and get back to me.

In a way, it makes perfect sense that a Trabant 601 is the newest car to get made over by KoKonja, because if they can make that look good, especially the dreadful interior, then just imagine what they can do with a real car.

The interior is the real focus of the Trabant RS, with a full-matching cabin centered around an all-new, Alcantara-covered dash with Audi TT-style hand stitching (albeit slightly uneven) and matching Recaros. I don’t know if they came from the factory with a roll hoop but I doubt it; this one has been wrapped to match the white headliner. The exterior is only slightly modified with custom headlamps, lip spoiler, bumper, wheels and more than a little fore-aft rake, but it really works for me. No word on tuning, but it appears to be a 1.6-liter V-4 turbo.