Archive for 2009

Goggomobil Transporter for sale! (but you missed it)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

goggotransporter01One of the more desireable and elusive Microcars is the Goggomobil Transporter.
Built from 1955 to 1964 by GLAS in Germany, the Transporter was apparently built off the Goggomobil Coupe chassis but reinforced with stronger coil-over shock suspension to accomodate a greater load. It had an option of 250 or 300 cc engines in Germany and 400cc engines for export models. It is a Uni-body construction (like the Goggomobil Coupe and Limo/sedan), the body is basically bolted onto a lower pan that consists mostly of 4 wheel wells connected by a stiff center tube that runs from back to front.
3-4000 were built with at least 2000 of those going to Deutschepost (German Post Office). The rest were work trucks and most all of them got “used up” and then discarded. Less than 100 remain worldwide. This is a condition affecting all Microcar-based trucks so any that remain become that much more desireable.

They do not change hands often and most owners do not want to part with them for any price.
So imagine the buzz when one appears on German eBay.
An un-restored example that is on the Goggo Transporter Register.
The German Goggomobil Forum lit up when this showed up, but after a few days the seller apparently cancelled the eBay listing when bidding reached 10,500 Euros. This left some people thinking it SOLD for that price especially when someone came onto the forum announcing that it did sell for 10,500 €. (I can’t remember if it was someone claiming to be either the buyer or the seller). Whether the thing sold at all is still unclear, sometimes people like to put stuff on eBay just to see what kind of reaction they can get and then yank the listing.

Update: Now someone else has come onto the Goggomobil Forum claiming the vehicle was sold privately for more than 50,000 €

Update 2: It did not sell for 50,000 €, but it did sell privately for a good chunk of change according to the Buyer who provided the details.  The vehicle will stay in Europe but NOT Germany!
(note: Buyer is a member of The Vintage Microcar Club who has been looking for one of these for a long long time…)

IEEE Spectrum magazine takes a look at Vintage Microcars

Monday, November 9th, 2009, the world’s “leading professional association for the advancement of technology” has put up a rather nice 6 minute long video/slideshow/interview that was culled down from about 2 hours of phone interview.

It is part of the online version of their SPECTRUM magazine.

I think they did a good job, what you do you think?
Take 6 minutes and go HERE to see what engineers think of Vintage Microcars.

Hilton Head Island Concours 2009 Microcar Class results

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

The Hilton Head Island Concours once again had a MICROCARS class (thanks to J.C.O’Steen).
Invited participants included:

1938 American Bantam Boulevard Delivery -owner: Mark & Hilary Becker
1940 Bantam Riviera – owner: Buster & Brenda Tankersley
1952 Crosley Super Sport – owner: Ken Cahill
1954 Rovin D4 – owner: Lane Motor Museum
1956 BMW Isetta Bubble Window cabrio – owner: J.C. O’Steen
1957 BMW Isetta – owner: Frank Rabino Collection
1958 Messerschmitt KR201 – owner: Mac Jones
1959 New Map Solyto – owner: Lane Motor Museum
1960 FMR Tg500 – owner: Ralph & Wendy Hough
1960 Messerschmitt KR200 – owner: Buster & Brenda Tankersley

Best of Class went to Ken Cahill’s Crosley Super Sport
Palmetto Awards went to Mac Jones’ KR201 and Frank Rabino Collection’s BMW Isetta

As more Microcars are being restored to a higher standard and they are getting recognized by more automotive enthusiasts and collectors, expect to see more Vintage Microcars at Concours events across the USA in the future.

Unique Little Car Show 30th Anniversary 2010

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


April 9th & l0th 2010 marks the 30th Anniversary
of the longest running gathering of small cars in the USA.

Primarily for un-restored and restored Unique Little Cars up to 1500cc.
Club Membership is not required.
In an effort to support the preservation of original un-restored cars, the Host will award a Trophy to the best preserved original car shown. Best of Show Trophies will be decided by registered participants. We need at least 5 pre-registered cars for a “Type” award.

Friday night there will be a cruise and eating adventure.
Saturday will be the day of the show.

Location: Embassy Suites Phoenix North, 2577 W. Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023
Located at the Southeast corner of I-17 and Greenway. Cars will be displayed on shaded grass in the Courtyard setting next to a large pool area. To get these special discounted rates, Hotel Reservations and Car Show Pre-registration must be in by March 9th, 2010. (more…)


Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The original title of this 1957 film starring Peter Sellers was “Your Past Is Showing” but for some reason they now call it “The Naked Truth”.  The credits also refer to it as “The Naked Truth” at the end as well (?)
Anyways -These are all the scenes from the movie with a British-built RHD BMW Isetta.

The driver of the Isetta is actually the “bad guy” who is trying to blackmail famous people into not printing their sordid tales in his gossip magazine: The Naked Truth.  If he could only afford an Isetta and has to live on an old boat, it would appear his blackmailing skills are not well honed.

Note in the first scene when the Isetta drives up to the camera with lights on and then turns them off, if you are watch in HQ you can see that the lighting crew quickly put some sort of diffusion material over the headlamps and did not trim it very well. It is quite obvious when the lamps are turned off.
Later scenes do not have the material on the headlamps.

Do you know any other films with Isettas or other Microcars in them?  leave info in the comments section and hopefully clips from the films will show up here in the future.

Messerschmitt KR200s in ONE,TWO,THREE

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A few extracts from the 1961 film directed by Billy Wilder and starring James Cagney.
One,Two,Three is a Cold War farce that happens to have a couple of Messerschmitt KR200s
(and other period German vehicles) in the background of a few scenes.
See if you can spot the Goggomobil!

Interior Kits for Messerschmitt KR175, KR200

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

One of Nick Poll's new Interior Kits

One of Nick Poll's new Interior Kits

Nick Poll in France has been making new interior upholstery sets for Messerschmitt KR175, KR200 and KR201 and TG500 for many years. He has been listing them on eBay but now has a website just for them.

The interior sets look exactly like the original used in the early days. He makes them in red, black, blue, cream or in any colour of your choice. Snakeskin costs €30 extra.

check out his site: InsideMesserchmitts

Isettas and more for sale at Kruse Auburn 2009 auction

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Bunch of Microcars up for auction over Labor Day Weekend in Auburn IN at

14791482_3 1480

2801_3 1485 2841_3

1481 1484 3037

The online catalog is not particularly easy to navigate through, but you can get an idea of at least which DAY each car will be auctioned. Plus there the official “catalogue” shows a few more cars than appear on the website, (more…)

This is NOT a Smart Car!

Friday, August 21st, 2009
This is not a Smart Car

This is not a Smart Car

Are you getting emails forwarded from people showing a car smashed between 2 large trucks like the one above?
And does the email say something like

“Here is a photo of a wreck in Jefferson Parish, LA (near New Orleans ) between two trucks and a Smart Car. Think I’ll pass on the Smart Car.

Do You Still Want a Smart Car? Not if you are smart!”

Here is some news: The car is NOT a Smart Car!
It is a Ford Escape as reported by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and confirmed HERE in Snopes. The photo is real, the car is just NOT a Smart Car.
(Only the passenger side of the vehicle was crushed, the driver survived with some injuries.)

It is relatively easy to spot the difference even if you can only see one wheel. (more…)

Microcar Wins ConcoursD’Lemons!

Monday, August 17th, 2009
photo by Mike Harrell

photo by Mike Harrell

Mike Harrell’s 1980-era KV won the coveted WORST OF SHOW at this year’s first ConcoursD’Lemons in Montery CA.

The Concours D’Lemons celebrates “The Oddball, Mundane and truly Awful of the Automotive World”

Mike had no idea what “class” was going to be registered in originally, but when he signed up the car he was eligible for:

  • Umitigated Gaul, 1970-current
  • Oil Burners
  • Ass-Engine Sled, Non-Hessian

“I could only dream of winning such special awards as “Most Dangerous” or the doubtless highly coveted “WTF??? Award said Mike before the show, I had a shot at “Most Effluent” but the local emissions facilities will only examine vehicles which are required to be tested under state law and the KV is exempt. Just as well, I suppose.”

What put Mike’s car over the top is its drive system which is “unique” to say the least.

click for larger image

click for larger image

The wheels are free-rolling but driven by a pair of stone cylinders pressing against them. Working much like the capstans in a cassette player, the stone capstan drive looks bizarre and even more bizarre is that it works!

The KV Mini was built in France by the same company that turned out the Rolux and the Solyto, but the market for this car was elderly people who were unable to deal with the formalities of a driver’s test. Power to the rear wheels comes from a mighty 125cc single cylinder 2-stroke motor. Top speed is an alledged 34 mph.

“It’s just an awfully, awful, awful French two-stroke car,” said Alan Galbraith, organizer of the show.

Congratulations Mike!

Spare Parts Collections Lawsuit!

Friday, August 14th, 2009

We last wrote about Spare Parts Collections in the letters section of Microcar News Issue #3 2008

Since then we have heard a smattering of other stories from people about their experiences with this “company” in Uruguay.
They have a nice website and a nice eBay page as seller : SPAREPARTSCOLLECTIONS
Attempts to get any comments from Martin Corbo or anyone else regarding the complaints we had been receiving were met with very defensive and hostile email responses that among other things claimed

“in every case we have resolved the issue even if it would involve compensation to the client for the inconveniences (that is another of our policies, for your record).”

At the time, this was counter to what I was hearing from The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum which has apparently now filed a lawsuit against Martin Corbo, Fabian Scavone and Plinio Gani, who all represent SPARE PARTS COLLECTIONS.
I guess they have some “unresolved” issues….

The lawsuit was filed on July 13 2009 and other than being about Breach of Contract, details will probably have to remain under wraps until a judgement is rendered.

We do have a bit more background on Spare Parts Collections and eBay (more…)

HMV Freeway Reunion 2009 Plainfield IL

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Jim Rostis hosted the 30th Anniversary Reunion for HMV Freeway Enthusiasts in Plainfield IL.

The Freeway is an American-made Microcar built in Minnesota from 1979 to about 1981.
16 cars showed up from all over, the furthest coming from California and one came from Canada.
more photos HERE

Why do we love Isettas?

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

This video pretty much sums it up. What other car could you make a video like this with?

What is a bit astonishing is that this was made by the BMW Museum in Munich.
Listen to the lyrics and in particular to ” …without you I would never rise again”

Does this mean BMW is finally acknowledging the Isetta’s place in their history as “the car that saved BMW”?
Maybe it is just coincidence but this commercial is all stop-motion animation with KinToy Isettas zipping about, having fun and mixing it up with all the other BMW marques as well as modern day traffic. To think they just randomly selected a song to run in the background is difficult to believe.

What do you think?

3-wheel Mystery Cushman (?)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
well, what is it really?

well, what is it really?

“Jane” recently bought this three wheel car in Los Angeles and has been unable to find out any information on it. It has a Cushman motor. It has a sticker on the front bumper that says Explorer Driving-Safe Road Rally. That is apparently associated with the Boy Scouts. However she was unable to find any information on the cars used for the rally.

Is this a real Cushman? Or is it some sort of Home-built vehicle?

Weird Yellow Pages Ad with ISO Isetta

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

A French Yellow Pages ad with what appears to be an Italian SPANISH-built ISO Isetta driving around!
great footage and the car is a featured player, not just background.
(thanks to John Malcolm for digging this up…)

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