Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We are entering a new year -- why can't we produce a microcar here in the US?

They have one in Sri Lanka. That's right...Sri Lanka.
If they can produce a microcar, we should be able to make one here in the US. (There is plenty of underutilized automobile manufacturing capacity, and lots of people looking for jobs. We could probably even make one in Detroit, or Flint.)
Micro Cars Limited of Sri Lanka has since upgraded their line, but the Privilege was their first microcar.
Micro Privilege is the first ever locally manufactured vehicle. In January 1999, the MICRO car project was initiated and aimed at providing a National car which is a safer, economical, environmental friendly and affordable means of transport for the masses of the country, where it would be possible for majority of our people to own a car (mean of individualized transport).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Beat is on the Street

A Chevrolet Beat prototype was recently photographed on the grounds of New York's Rochester Institute of Technology. It was heavily camoflaged -- but that didn't fool the folks at AutoBlog. The Chevy Beat was one of a trio of concepts Chevy showed at the 2007 New York Auto Show. According to Bob Lutz, the Beat will go into production in 2009. The Beat won't be coming to the U.S. until it meets federal crash-test standards, so we won't see it until at least 2012.

The Beat was first shown in MINUTIA, Issue 16, Number 1 (2007).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Kinda micro collector cars

Lots of little cars in the collector catagory kind of look like microcars. This little Coca Cola car has that Frisky feel, or maybe it's kinda Coronet. In any case we like it, especially since Betty Boop is the driver. Boop Boop A Doop

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Army Bread is Good Bread (Kommissbrot ist Gutes Brot)

If yesterday's posting (Gutbrod) sounds like it might be "Good Bread", then today's posting is the logical next step.

The Hanomag 2/10 "Kommissbrot" was launched in 1925. the little (10 foot long) car was powered by a one-cylinder, 499cc, water-cooled, four-stroke engine that generated 10 hp and was able to propel the car to a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, getting 60 miles per gallon.

The design was very simple -- independent front suspension/rigid rear axle without differential. The car had a single headlight, only one door, and a starter cable between the two seats. Susan Cerf of the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum (Tampa Bay has a recently-restored 1927 model) described the starter cable as similar to a lawn mower, "just pull the cord and there she goes."

While the 2/10 could be referred to as a "people's car", and its promotion used the line, "Five pounds of sheet metal and one pound of paint is the Hanomag" (an unusual claim that perhaps suffers from too literal a translation), people took a look at the car's unusual shape and dubbed it the Kommissbrot, or Army Bread, referring to a shape that resembled that of a loaf of bread.

With a daily output of "up to" 80 pieces, 15,775 vehicles were sold from 1924 to 1928, at a price of approximately 2,300 Reichsmarks. (For comparison, Ford Model-T's were selling at about 1,200 Reichsmarks) The follow-up to the Kommissbrot, the Hanomag 3/15, also falls into the category of minicar. Built from 1929 to 1931, the 3/16 was powered by a 750cc, four-cylinder engine. Timing was unfortunate, with the economic downturn of 1929 -- leading to large stocks of unsold vehicles. And even a strong showing in 1930, with the company capturing a 14% share of the German domestic car market (second only to Opel), the withdrawal of some loans forced the company to restructure, exiting the minicar market.

Oh...and we tried to translate Gutbrod from German to English, and couldn't make the connection. Good Bread in German is Gutes Brot.

(Much of this story first appeared in MINUTIA, Issue 16 - Number 2.)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gutbrod Gutbrod Gutbrod

Everything you'd want to know about the Gutbrod is right here -

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hope you didn't eat too much over the holidays: Crosley H-Mod Racer for Sale

The "Unicorn", a Crosley-powered H-Mod racer, is for sale at Bring A Trailer. This is a great example of the "on a shoestring" racing that took place in the 50's. This car was built in 1952 (in San Francisco), and has a racing history that includes the inaugural races at Laguna Seca in 1957, Pebble Beach, and the Monterey Historics.

It is described as a "basket case", but it is a piece of racing history.

The car has Crosley power, Fiat/Simca axles, and an all aluminum body. It has been described as a racer that includes elements of California Hot Rod construction.

At $9750 it is affordable -- but you should try sitting in it before you decide to buy it. It was built for a driver considerably smaller than some of us. That extra helping of Christmas turkey could make you too big to shoehorn yourself into this baby.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Microcar & Minicar Club!

We were looking for just the right image -- and we stumbled across this "Christmas Isetta" on the Flickr photosharing site.

It is "over the top" as any microcar decked out for the holidays should be.

So...Happy Holidays! We hope this has been a good year for all of you, and we are looking forward to an even better year in 2009! (Celebrate the holiday season, then go out to the garage and get to work on your car. Spring is just around the corner.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Smile at someone

Happy Holidays to all ! Here are a couple of cars for your wish list.
Enjoy the season and cruise into the new year with a spirit of adventure.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Microcar Style

It's December 23rd...only two more shopping days before Christmas, and you still haven't found that perfect gift for the microcar fanatic in your life.

We were in the same situation -- so we went to the source of all quirky gifts -- eBay.

This Japanese tin toy is a nice representation of an Isetta, with friction power. It's available with a Buy it Now price of $75. (That may seem high, but when was the last time you priced a real Isetta?)

The perfect Christmas or Chanukah gift (lots more fun than a dreidel).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Make it through the holidays

Now that the holiday season is upon us, please drive safely.
You wouldn't want to end up like this Mini, so take it slow.
Accidents are a scary and costly thing. Save your own life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This thing is a tank - make that 2 tanks

This custom is another homebuilt style auto from the fifties.
It was featured on one of our favorite blogs -

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Homemade Isetta Snowmobile

You don't see one of these every day.

Bert Verwey, Member #946, found this homemade "Isetta snowmobile" back in 2005, and sent in some photos and a description. This is the article that appeared in MINUTIA, Issue 14, Number 1.

"Enclosed are some pictures of my latest find. It was advertised as an Isetta engine/transmission. It turned out to be the complete power train with original wheels and tires, brakes and back plates, and a perfect windshield. It had been converted into a homemade snowmobile. Two tracks ran around each set of wheels, and a trailer mounted on a pair of waterskis held driver and passenger. Controls were mounted on the handlebar and steering was articulated. Note the Isetta rear bumper on the front, the louvered side cover and single Isetta headlight. Also note the GM timing gears and chain used to gear it down a bit. All together, quite an ingenious setup. The late owner's family had a lot of happy memories of driving this thing around the farm."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Here comes the FUTURE

No it's not the Isetta of the future, it's my Hi Tek Hoopmobile.
Slightly modified with a VW 1600 bug engine, even though when
people ask I say it runs on condensed brain waves. Other features
include Siata Spring fenders and a fun fur coating. For more fun -

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Finally, an attractive pair of red stilettos in size 300EEE

There has been a recent flurry of internet postings about a Red Stiletto promotional car created by Marshalls to promote their shoes. But the postings haven't all been positive. It turns out that the Marshalls high heel car is a copy of a Red Stiletto car created by artist David Crow. The original car uses a 1972 Honda CB 350 motor and running gear. The car took Crow four years to complete, and is rumored to have been in reaction to his girlfriend's shoe collection (we would call that a fetish).

Unfortunately for Mr. Crow, not only did he break up with his girlfriend before the car was completed, but he doesn't seem to have received any credit (or payment) from Marshalls for their use of the idea.

But...we know that Mr. Crow was the originator of the Rolling Red Stiletto -- and the car has been featured widely in books, at shows, and on the internet.

One man's giant shoe is another person's minicar.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Russian Invalidka

Most of us are more familiar with the little invalid carriages made in thr UK.
Unfortunately, they are being collected and crushed because they were owned
by the government and are being phased out. Here is the lesser known Russian
version called the Invalidka.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a mystery

Todays "Mystery machine" has a Minarelli mill but that's about all we know about it.
Does anyone have any more info about this gullwing gizmo. If you do, make a comment

Monday, December 15, 2008

Here come the Steiffs

Oh, look who it is. The Steiff bears are coming to visit us in thier Isetta.
And I see they have a suitcase on the luggage rack. I wonder if they're
going to stay for the holidays.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let's get sociable

The Scott Sociable Tricar looks like it's missing a front wheel.
Read more about it and other motorcycle history at the site -

Saturday, December 13, 2008

If you want an have to do the Paperwork

I can't tell you how many times I have been approached with the question, "Where can I get a microcar...for not much money?"

And the car most people want is an Isetta.

Well...there are plenty of cars out there, but they don't come cheap. Unless you go about it in a completely different way...a paper Isetta.

Vince Budnick did just that. And he has documented the process on his website, DigitallyDo.

Just follow the directions for, "The best cut, fold and paste Isetta on the web."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Merry old Mini

Awhile ago we had a Smart car featured in a Blondie comic strip.
Today we have Homer Simpson trying to fit in a Mini. Good luck

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obscure Topics: How about Minicars in French Comics?

Proving that there is something for everyone on the internet, I recently stumbled across a blog with a posting of "every car ever shown" in the Tintin comics.

You can find it on the Veer Ideas Blog. Go to "The Cars of Tintin."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Dilly (of a microcar)

I was looking through a recent newsletter from the Swedish Microcar Club (MC-BIL KLUBBEN), and I came across a cartoon featuring an Isetta. I read it and passed it by -- then got to wondering about the strip. So I did a little hunting around.

The strip, "It's Me, Dilly" was created by Mel Casson and Alfred Andriola (using the pseudonym of Alfred James). Casson started as a cartoonist for the Saturday Evening Post, but his cartoons also appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, Ladies' Home Journal and many other national magazines. In cartooning, Casson is best known as the creator of the Sparky and Redeye strips. Andriola started his cartooning career as an assistant to Milton Caniff, the creator of Terry and the Pirates. Andriola's best known strip was Kerry Dunn.

It's Me Dilly appeared in newspapers from 1957 through 1960. According to the history pages of the Birmingham News, the strip was was billed as a working girl humorous soap but was basically cheesecake punctuated with blonde jokes.

We'll have to say...while Dilly is very cute, we like Minnie's choice of cars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

75 mpg daily driver

The Geo Metro (well really it's a Suzuki) just about fits into the minicar catagory.
It's the car I drive daily and with the 3 cylinder 5 speed overdrive model 50 mpg
isn't unusual on the highway. The XFI model was the super economy model rated
51 city 58 highway. The car we see here was slightly modified for even better
milage. It's tandem seating, skirts and smooth syling make this a slippery custom.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The good China

Powered by a 2 cylinder diesel this Chinese vehicle is one of a selection
of micros available in electric and even solar. Hop over to the site -

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pilotez-moi à la lune (In a Citroën 2CV)

OK...I can't speak French. Hopefully you get the idea.
What we have here is a flying 2CV. Until they get close to it, it almost looks like you could get in it an take off -- but it's really a model helicopter.
My favorite part of this video is when the camera operator appears to get dizzy, following the flight of the 2CV, and falls down.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gotta Getta Goggo

We are suckers for all things related to cars -- and particularly related to minicars.

That's why we like to scan various sites, including Bring A Trailer -- a very cool site that posts various cars for sale that are brought to the attention of the site administrators.

It's been a busy week, but we managed to check the site and found this very cool little Goggomobil posted. The description is:

This rare Glas Goggomobil has covered only 36k kilometers since new and claims a fantastic 55mpg. It is in amazing original condition and includes extensive documentation back to the original German sales order. The seller is offering the car in San Jose, California for $10,950 OBO. Contact us at if you are interested.

Check it out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Solar Roller

Well, I guess you'd never get a flat tire with this rig. I think we've got a ways to go
before all the bugs are worked out of this contraption. And what's with that cupcake.
For some solar cars -

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Make a Bee line to your Daihatsu dealer

The little Daihatsu Bee is a rare one from Japan.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Auto sales are down all over...but -- "There's Got to be a Morning After"

Things are bad all over.

Korean automakers recently announced that production would be cut in reaction to slumping sales -- domestic as well as exports.

According to the automobile industry on Monday, the five major Korean automobile makers sold a total of 445,111 cars, including those sold overseas, last month, down 8.6 percent from a year ago.
Domestic sales plummeted by 27.3 percent, with only 74,217 cars sold, while overseas sales dropped 3.6 percent, with 370,894 cars sold. The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said, “Although overseas sales didn’t drop by a large margin until last month, the drop will increase from this month.” The monthly domestic sales’ performance was the lowest since February 2005.

But the good news is that minicar sales remain strong. The Kia Morning, the Kia Soul compact crossover and other small models will stay in production over the winter months. Kia Motors’ compact car, the Morning, topped the individual sales chart, becoming the first small car to do so since January 1999. The model is likely to stay atop the list for several months, with plenty of orders piled up over the next three months. These models boosted Kia’s domestic sales 3.7 percent on-year in November, making it the sole gainer among the five carmakers in the local market.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Car Club of the Month

The Scottish Microcar Club is a very active organization with many
get togethers and rallies. We honor them as our car club of the month.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pioneers of the month

Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement began building bicycles, then
went on to build motorcycles and cars. Eventually the company
they started evolved into the one we now know as Skoda. We salute
them as our automotive pioneers of the month - For more history -