Friday, March 13, 2009

Messerschmitt Micro cars.

I touched upon the subject of the fuel crisis that hit Europe in the 1950's in an earlier post on this blog, and, well here is a car that was born perhaps as a result of that crisis.
The painting above is a watercolour sketch that I did of one of the most unusual cars of the period, The Messerschmitt. As the name suggests this vehicle was made by the same company that a decade earlier had been producing the fighter aircraft that roamed the skies of Europe. Once hostilities ceased however, both the Messerschmitt and Heinkel aircraft factories turned to producing small fuel efficient micro cars.

As can be seen from the brochure the Germans - as always approached the task of design with the utmost ingenuity, the cabin of the KR200 (Kabinroller 200cc) had a front and back in line seating design in which the passenger climbs in behind the driver...exactly as in an aircraft!
Note too the design of the steering wheel, although I'd hesitate to call that a wheel!

Again echoing its fighter plane heritage the Messerschmitt's plexiglass canopy was hinged sideways and opened to allow the 'pilots' to enter and exit. A small 200cc two stroke power unit drove the little fighter along briskly enough, and most importantly delivered astronomical MPG figures which were a real selling point to post war fuel starved Europe.

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