Archive for 2008

Where is Elvis Presley’s Messerschmitt?

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

elvis_messerschmittElvis Presley had a habit of buying cars and then giving them away.

A lot of this was documented in the film: 200 Cadillacs (available on DVD) but he apparently bought and gave away more than just Cadillacs.

At some point he had purchased (or was given) a Messerschmitt KR200.

The Film 200 Cadillacs has a short interview with Bernard Lansky who apparently got Elvis to trade him the car in exchange for some shopping at his Memphis Clothing store.

An Australian Elvis Fan site has more images including a small clip from the DVD program, and some audio of Elvis talking about how he swapped the car for some clothes.

So where is this car today? Still in the Lansky family?
And where is the BMW Isetta that he gave to Col Tom Parker?
(it has apparently surfaced, more on that later!)

Call for Microcars at 2009 NY Auto Show

Thursday, December 4th, 2008
Vespa 400s at the Paris Auto Show

Vespa 400s at the Paris Auto Show

The 2009 NY Auto Show has invited us to display some Vintage Microcars with the rest of the Automotive World’s offerings from April 10-19

So this announcement is just to see if there is enough interest from enough people to pull this off.

Even though we don’t have to pay them to exhibit, there are some costs involved, some restrictions and some things to be aware of.

So if you are interested in providing a Vintage Microcar for Display or if you are interested in “working the show” by the Display for 1 or more days in NYC, please go HERE

There is an “info” link there that has a bit more background material on what is involved, so please make sure you read that part as well.

NOTE– this is NOT a formal commitment for anything! The NY Auto Show has the final say on everything and they want to know what -if any- cars would be displayed so they can also plan.

They are looking at a minimum of 3 Microcars with the possibility of more.

It is an amazing opportunity to be part of a world class automotive event.

*UPDATE:  See us at the NY Auto Show HERE

GM’s answer to the Isetta; The CADET

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Peter Brock, who is known for designing the original Split Window Corvette that later became the StingRay is not so well known for designing a Microcar for GM as a competitor to the BMW Isetta.

At 19, he was the youngest designer ever hired by GM Styling but he thought GM was missing something in their lineup;  A small car.  At the time GM had nothing and Brock thought there was a market for “young guys like me” who were going to school and could not afford big cars.  His ideas intrigued Harley Earle enough that Earle started a project to address the “student market” and assigned Brock to head it.

The result was the GM CADET.

The story behind this is documented on Brock’s website with this one paragraph in particular that really speaks volumes about the attitude of the day:

Earle was so excited about the Cadet he planned to showcase the car to all of GMs upper level executives and dealers at Styling’s annual internal VIP car show.  At the show’s end, after attendees had survived hours of blinding chrome on the new 1958 GM line-up, the lights went low as other cars were cleared away, and then they came back up on this beautiful little jewel of a $1000 car, slowly spinning on a turntable… the Cadet.  The audience fell silent.  It was about a third the size of anything they’d seen all day. No one knew what to say… they sat in stunned silence!  The only chrome on it resided on slender door handles.  After a few moments, the president of GM, Harlow Curtice, stood and formally announced: “GM doesn’t make small cars”.  The lights went out and the car was never mentioned again.

Read the full story at Brock Racing Enterprises.

thanks to Rob Maselko for the heads up on this…

SCAM: Fiat 500 Craigslist – Laura Biss is fake

Friday, November 28th, 2008
Fiat 500 that is not for sale!

Fiat 500 that is NOT for sale!

If you are trolling Craigslist looking for a cheap Microcar, don’t fall for this scammer trying to “sell” a Fiat 500 for $3000.

The ad has been placed in local Craigslist postings all over the country and most every one of them has been “flagged” for removal because it is SCAM.

I contacted the “seller” who lists their email as
(update: that email account has now been disabled)

I got a reply with a link to some more photos on and the offer that the car would be placed on eBay on a “private” auction “Just for Me!”, where I could “safely” buy the car because eBay offers 5 days “protection” against fraud. Problem is, that eBay does not offer that and the eBay link that “Laura Biss” sent me was a scam site posing as eBay. The text of the scam email follows… (more…)

29th Annual Unique Little Car Show

Friday, November 21st, 2008

*NOTE: This is is NOT the current show listing!  This is from 2009.
Please check the Microcar Meets page for the current info!

The 29th Annual Unique Little Car Show will be held April 3-4 2009 in Commerce CA in the center of the beautiful and popular Citadel Outlets — situated behind an historic Assyrian Castle wall and within walking distance of the Double Tree Hotel.

sponsored by The Metropolitan Club of California.

here is a link to photos of a previous Unique Little Car Show

if you are looking for info for the 2010 Unique Little Car Show, CLICK HERE

HOW TO: Shift A Goggomobil with Pre-select gearbox

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Ralf demonstrates how to use the Reverse button on a Goggomobil Transporter equipped with the electric Pre-select gearbox.
Jim tries to help but sort of fails.

The same info should apply to any Goggomobil with the Electric Pre-select gearbox.

This video is a very short segment from the Störy 2002 Video which can be found on DVD HERE

Microcar Museum in Thailand

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

For many years there has been quiet talk and rumors of a Microcar Collector in Thailand.
It seems the rumors were true!
Jesada Dejkulrit is the collector who has a large Private Collection of all sorts of vehicles under the name “Jesada Technik Museum”. He appears to have a special interest in Microcars and Bubblecars of all sorts.

His first Microcar was a Messerschmitt, purchased in 1997 at an auction, since then the collection has grown quite a bit. Rumor has it that a number of the cars sold at the recent BubbleCar Museum Auction in the UK will be going to this collection in Thailand.


Auction Results: BubbleCar Museum UK

Saturday, November 15th, 2008


After squashing a previous rumor that they were closing, the UK-based Bubblecar Museum sent out announcements that there was to be a large Auction of Bubblecars and related parts at the Bubblecar Museum and yes a number of the microcars in the Museum would be sold.

??? So what is it?  They are closing?  They are not closing?

They are selling all the contents?  They are not?

Turns out they ARE CLOSING….but they close EVERY YEAR at this time until the Spring…when they….RE-OPEN.

This time is a little different since they are moving and are “downsizing” the Museum collection and focusing more on British Cars.  While a number of the cars in the recent Auction were from the Museum Collection, the Auction also had Microcars and spares from other people as well mixed in.
There were 186 “Lots”.  About 86 were Microcars.
You can find a list of Auction Results HERE.  

HOW TO install the Interior Panels on your Isetta

Friday, November 14th, 2008

as shown by David Raab who makes very high quality reproductions in panelboard that is as close to the original as possible.
(Watch in High Quality if possible, it looks much better)

You can contact him at or call 714.669.3119

Peel drives a Messerschmitt

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

EMMA Peel that is. From the old AVENGERS TV show.
Specifically the episode “The Girl from Auntie” originally broadcast in 1966.
The Avengers was distributed in over 120 countries aside from the UK and was dubbed into several languages. What language are they speaking in this clip?

BMW Isetta at AAPEX/SEMA Las Vegas

Monday, November 10th, 2008


Jan Durham at the Clean Tools booth in Las Vegas NV with her BMW Isetta

Jan Durham at the Clean Tools booth in Las Vegas NV with her BMW Isetta

Jan and Thom Durham got to have their BMW Isetta used by Clean Tools (maker of the Absorber and other products) at the 2008 AAPEX Show in Las Vegas this year.
AAPEX stands for Automotive Aftermarket Products EXPO and is a trade only venue that is sort of a companion to the more well known SEMA show (Specialty Equipment Market Association).
Both Shows are part of YAA (Yet Another Acronym): AAIW (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week).
Clean Tools contacted The Vintage Microcar Club looking for an Isetta in the Las Vegas Area and we hooked them up with Jan and Thom.
Has your Microcar been used for commercial purposes?  Let us know.

Creator of Peel P50 dies at 87

Saturday, November 8th, 2008


One of the few remaining Peel P50 microcars is passed by the coffin of its inventor and Peel Engineering Company founder Cyril Cannell

One of the few remaining Peel P50 microcars is passed by the coffin of its inventor and Peel Engineering Company founder Cyril Cannell

SITTING in salute at the funeral of Peel inventor Cyril Cannell was one of his most famous creations.

The diminutive Peel P50, the world’s smallest road-legal car, was the first in a series of experimental microcars built in the 1960s by Mr Cannell’s fibreglass firm Peel Engineering Company.

Seventy P50s were produced between 1963 and 1964, but fewer than two dozen are thought to still exist including this one, bought by Peel’s Manx Transport Heritage Museum after a public appeal in 2005.

Volunteers at the museum used to see Mr Cannell come in to gaze with pride at the three-wheeled wonder, advertised in its heyday as a city car capable of holding ‘one adult and a shopping bag’.

In tribute to him, they lifted the 1.3-metre, 130lb car on to the patio of Peel Centenary Centre, where it was passed by his coffin leaving Peel Methodist Church on its way to Peel Cemetery.

Complete Isle Of Man Article Here

Microcars at Hilton Head Island Concours

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

The 2008 Hilton Head Island Concours D’elegance featured a MICROCARS specific class this year
In attendance were examples of Messerschmitt Tg500, Messerschmitt KR200, Mochet Velocar, IOTA, Peel P50, Zündapp Janus, FIAT Jolly, Vespa 400, BMW Isetta 250, Berkeley and Scootacar MK2.

There were also a pair of Crosleys in another catagory: Outstanding Orphans.
(This was primarily because the “Microcars” class was featuring European Microcars and the Orphans class was featuring American Orphans, otherwise they would have been in the Microcars class)

David Anspach's Crosley Hot Shot Winning an Award

David Anspach's Crosey HotShot won an award in another catagory.

Palmetto Awards went to Janice & Larry Newberry’s FIAT Jolly and to Kerry and Linda Erendson’s Scootacar MK 2. Best of Class went to Jim Garbo’s Messerschmitt KR200.

Although NORMALLY exhibitors are required to stay until 4pm for the benefit of those who paid to get in to see the cars, the weather turned to light rain in mid-afternoon and anyone who wanted to leave the grounds around 2pm did not get any resistance from officials. Otherwise it was a gorgeous event.
Because the turnout was so good, it is possible that the Microcars Class will become a regular class at this Concours D’elegance.

More info on this and other Concours events around the country in a future issue of MICROCAR NEWS magazine.

[UPDATE] Hilton Head Island Concours has posted a GALLERY of the winners this year.
Click the MICROCARS section to view the 3 winners, also click the ORPHANS section to see the winning Crosley.

Looking for the 2009 Hilton Head Island Concours winners for Microcars Class? Click Here

Local Teen Rescues Microcar!

Sunday, October 26th, 2008


photo: Jim Parker, The Post and Courier

photo: Jim Parker, The Post and Courier

Club Member Connor McCann from SC recently made the hometown news in an article about his rescue of a BMW Isetta.   The article appears in the online edition of the SC Post & Courier’s CHARLESTON.NET

It is a nice little general interest piece, unfortunately “rescuing” the Isetta was a bit more involved and colorful than the story makes it out to be.  Connor’s own version is much more exciting, involving Surveillance Cameras, Drug Addiction and JAIL!
(all part of the previous owner…not Connor).  
I guess that is not what people want to read about in the Charleston SC newspapers… who knew?

Of course I can’t get Connor to let me reprint his version of the story here either. So….

Read the Charleston Article Here

Drive a Peel P50 on Top Gear! (sort of)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

For those of you that saw the episode of TOP GEAR with Jeremy Clarkson driving the Peel P50 through the offices of the BBC and wishing “Gee I wish *I* could do that”, well your wish has been granted.

The Top Gear Website has a nice Flash-base Game that allows you to “drive” a Peel P50 through the building, avoiding potted plants, lazy employees, copy machines and walls in order to get to the elevator so you can be on time for an “important meeting”.

This is probably the SLOWEST game I have ever played, but given the context I guess that is appropriate, there really is not a way to use the “turbo-boost” here because as soon as you do, you find yourself smacked into a wall or a desk.  Enjoy!

(you can find an article about this episode in Microcar News #1 2008)

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