The Ossi 700, sometimes stylized OSSI, is a compact passenger vehicle produced by the now-defunct East German marque Ossi between 1956 - 1991. Ordered to be produced by the communist government in the German Democratic Republic and remaining in production for almost 40 years, the 700 became a well-known symbol of East Germany and the Eastern Bloc as a whole.
Beginning life in the mid-1950's, the Ossi 700 was envisioned as a compact, durable and cheap mode of transport for a working class citizens of the Eastern Bloc. During its introduction, its 28-horsepower 648cc Inline-3 engine was seen as simple, but adequate by the standards of the time. Exports were popular, especially to countries ravaged by war which were in need of cheap transportation. Many were exported to countries such as Norway, Japan, the United Kingdom, among others. Originally slated to be put out of production by the late 1960's, East Germany's growing economic problems caused the 700 to continue production, avoiding the development costs of a new model.
Criticisms of the 700 started becoming apparent in the mid-1970's, when the car was beginning to become increasingly outdated even by Eastern Bloc standards. This also started becoming apparent in the car's quality, which notably dropped off through the 1970's and 80's as the GDR's economy suffered.
The 700 was refreshed yet again in the early 1980's, this time featuring much more body-colored and plastic trim, abandoning chrome almost entirely. What chrome was left on the car was replaced by untreated steel, which rusted easily. The bumpers were changed to appear more modern, however they were strongly contrasted by the car's now archaic double-round-headlights and strikingly 1950's design. The interior also received another update, this time featuring headrests and once again a new steering wheel. It ended production in 1991, shortly after the reunification of Germany.
Though the Ossi 700 became a symbol of the stagnant economy in the GDR, its massive production numbers has resulted in popularity among its enthusiast community. Early models especially can be coveted, and later models are both seen positively and negatively by former citizens of the GDR. Its stubby, outdated appearance, poor driving capabilities and archaic engine became the center of many jokes.
Popular examples being; "What does "700" stand for?"
- 700 cars delivered, 0 customers satisfied.
- 700 facelifts and trim levels, 0 differences.
- 700 escape opportunities (referring to the Berlin Wall, as well as the escape attempts using neighboring countries' borders).
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The Ossi 700 is really slow, but pretty fun to throw around. It fits well into tight spaces, but lacks in safety and performance.
I hope you enjoy it.