Thursday, April 30, 2009


I had a friend that hand painted his Buick plaid.
It took him months to complete it, then another
couple of years to get the motor vehicle agency to
put plaid on his registration as the color. Here we
have a nice plaid Reliant.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Austin Mini - 50 years old

The Austin Mini was one of those amazing designs.

  • Transverse-mounted engine

  • Front-wheel-drive

  • Race & Rally success

  • Excellent use of space (door pockets will fit a bottle of Gordon's Gin)

In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th Century, behind the Ford Model T. The car had a production run of 41 years, and when it came time to film a remake of The Italian Job (1969 original), the producers had to wait until the new MINI was available. (The remake was filmed in 2003.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's a CORNvertible

Let's use corn for fuel to make it cheaper - Wait a minute -
We need that for feed so the price of meat stays down -
Wait a minute - This is cornfusing -

Monday, April 27, 2009

First date

Hey honey, are ya ready for our date? My rides right outside !

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Poetic Appeal

For Sale - One econo car - If you're sick and tired -
Of paying for the price of fuel - A bit of assembly required

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Concours d'LeMons

Should I be insulted that news of this show has been forwarded to me by several people? Are you trying to tell me something about my taste in cars -- or about the cars I own?

This show is described as the "poor man's" response to the auto excesses of Monterey. (And they actually have a category for cars that have been rejected by other shows.) It is the ultimate, "Show what you brung" car show -- featuring some of the makes and models that are unlikely to ever appear at the Quail.

And while they do poke fun at some of the cars we love, it all seems to be in good spirit. Check out the Concours d'LeMons.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I like those legos

These are a few things you can do with your legos if you spend enough
time at your worktable. These creations come from a very creative
individual by the name of Sven Moritz Hein from Germany.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wedgie vs. Box on wheels

The AIXAM and the MEGATRUCK are two tiny trucks we
like here at the clubhouse. I really liked the way the MEGATRUCK
bypassed all the filling stations when I took it for a test drive in my
dream last night. What did the Smart take - 12 years to get to the USA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fiat 850 - Gee, it almost looks new!

I've become addicted to the Bring A Trailer website.

The administrators of the site take submissions from all over (independent sites, ebay, craigslist, etc.) and run the most interesting ones on their site. It's not unusual for them to post two or more cars for sale on an average day. Most of the postings are for cars that I have very little interest in buying -- but they are certainly interesting to see. But when a minicar or microcar for sale is posted -- it really gets my attention.

Yesterday a posting appeared for a 1971 Fiat 850 Sedan. The car looks really clean -- almost new. (NOTE: Other than the photos, I've never seen the car, and I have no connection with the seller.)

I'm not a "Fiat" guy -- other than having owned an 1800 Spider back in the 70's -- but it looks pretty good to me. Is the price reasonable? You tell me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Microcar Events

The year is shaping up to be a good one -- if the rain lets up long enough to let us get our cars out for some Spring outings.

May 2nd:
If you are anywhere near Nashville, you won't want to miss the 6th Annual Microcar Drive at the Lane Motor Museum. Not only do you get the opportunity to drive your microcar in a great group of cars -- but you have one of the premier microcar collections to peruse at the Lane Motor Museum.

May 2nd:
And for those of you in the area just north of New York City, don't miss the exhibit at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. The 6th Annual "Model T's to Mustangs" show may not sound like a microcar event, but as a special feature marking the 50th anniversary of the iconic BMC Mini, there will be a section dedicated to mini and micro cars.

May 3rd:
To close out the weekend, take a ride up the Hudson River as part of the 3rd Assault on Bear Mountain Micro & Mini Car Cruise.

Whether you prefer drives or shows, this Spring has them all. Dust off the car and get out there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Microcars at the New York Auto Show - 2009

Standard fare at the auto show tends to be SUVs, tuners, and a roomfull of cars that all kind of look alike. (Even in a space that I once learned was the size of 17 football fields, the manufacturers manage to line up an army of ho-hum cars.)
So it was a welcome relief to find a display of four microcars near the entrance to the show. A Messerschmitt, a Vespa 400, a Peel P50, and an Isetta. The Lane Motor Museum and were well represented.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Smart FourTwo, Toyota Yaris, and Honda Fit get their noses out of whack with new crash test results.

Recent tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggest that smaller cars, such as the Smart FourTwo, Honda Fit, and Toyota Yaris, aren't as safe as the tests conducted last year would have you believe.

Standard crash tests determine the results of collisions between cars of similar size. And the Smart car, the Honda and the Toyota received good ratings in these tests.

The more recent tests pitted the three cars against midsized cars -- and the results weren't nearly as good. All three received poor ratings for head-on collisions, and the IIHS determined that drivers would sustain significant injuries to the head and legs. Not very good news for all the people who have shifted to smaller cars to reap the benefits associated with their improved mileage.

So...what do we do? It's our hope that, as more small cars get on the road, the odds of hitting one of those "rolling tanks" will start to go down.

In the meantime -- the answer is "defensive driving."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ultra Sweet Ride

The RUMEN is the brainchild of Roumen Antonov. See a video of
this remarkable Mini-Micro at

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Smaller, Greener Chrysler? (NY Auto Show 2009)

Chrysler has been under the gun recently, with some politicians suggesting that it should be the "odd man out" in the automotive industry. And maybe this is appropriate, since Chrysler seems to be the "elephant's graveyard" of automotive companies.

We all know the current Chrysler lines -- Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge. And since we are minicar people, we probably know about Chrysler's GEM division. But think back...

  • Plymouth
  • DeSoto
  • Imperial
  • AMC
  • Nash
  • Hudson
  • Maxwell
  • Willys

And you can probably even include all the Rootes Group (Sunbeam, Singer, Humber, Hillman) -- although Chrysler sold them off to Peugeot before they completely disappeared.
Amid this, Chrysler is doing its best to show off some minicars and electric vehicles. Maybe to offset some of those giant Dodge behemoths.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Car Movie Stars
Movie cars as movie stars.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goings on at the New York Auto Show - 2009

There are several small cars at the New York Auto Show this week -- some new and some old.
One of the new cars is the Scion iQ. It is still in the concept car stage, but Scion (Toyota's little brother) is hinting pretty heavily that this is a concept that's going to turn real.
The car is promoted as having seating for 3 plus (the plus is either a box or a very small child).
Check out the video.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's that little car doing in Paris anyway?

For all of you movie buffs, here is a challenge. Pull out your videotapes (or DVDs) of "Is Paris Burning?" This car appears in the first few minutes of the film -- and only for a couple of seconds.

Check it out, and let us know what you think it is.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fiat Abarth Racing Team

Team Roosevelt campaigned a team of Fiat Abarths in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The team served as an advertising vehicle for Roosevelt Motors, the east coast importer for Fiat. (Roosevelt Motors was owned by Frank Roosevelt, son of former president Franklin Roosevelt.)

Check out MINUTIA for a two-part story about Team Roosevelt, "Little Engines, Big Wins."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New millenium flower children

If you like the look of those old VW vans but want a newer and more economical
version, maybe this is the answer. Custom vans from Asia are popping up all over
as reincarnations of the choice vehicle of the hippie. Now what about some flowers.
Speaking of flower children - Happy Birthday Tiny Tim (RIP) - mom too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How Big is Your Citroën?

If you don't have enough room in the garage to fit another minicar (and you already have bits and pieces in various storage units), maybe it's time to start working in miniature . . . very miniature.

Made from a kit by Heller, the car came with everything a novice modeler needs -- including glue, paint and a brush. The results may not be an award-winner, but you can fit a bunch of them on the top of your dresser. And it doesn't even leak oil.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Personal Mobility and Accessibility (PUMA)

The folks at GM and Segway recently announced the results of an 18 month collaboration -- the PUMA 2-seat microcar.
The car is based on Segway's technology, with the addition of GM's research on electric vehicles. They may be a little ambitious, but they are talking about a 2012 release of the new vehicle, at a cost of about 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of a car.
It sounds very cool. We hope it gets past the issues that have limited the acceptance of Segway's scooters.
Thanks to Randal Larson-Maynard for bringing this to our attention.
Randall Larson-Maynard
Former 2-time Isetta 300 owner; fellow blogger.AIM, Yahoo, & GoogleTalk: rlarsonmaynard

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Maxed-out MINI


That's an image that is hard to un-see. It is clearly a product of a twisted sense of humor, coupled with some photoshop skills.

The MINI Convertible weighs in at a substantial 2,745 pounds (unladen), and we can only guess what it would weigh with this load in it.

The MINIUSA site has a frequently-asked-questions section, and one of the questions is, "I'm a pretty big guy. Will I fit in a MINI Cooper or a MINI Cooper S?" And the answer is:

"With its wheels spread out to the corners as far as possible and our plant on roof, MINIs have a surprising amout of cabin space and headroom. In general, a MINI Cooper or MINI Cooper S can comfortably accomodate people as tall as 6'7". For more information about who and what can fit in a MINI check out the Dimensions & Cargo Space section under LEARN in the main site navigation."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Guessing Game

Okay you Subaru experts "Name that tune" - I mean car.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Looking at the Subaru R1

The Subaru R1 is a sweet street machine for the econo set. We like the look and it's
micro mill pushes it past the gasoline stations for miles before stopping. We want 1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Isetta Autocross

There are so many jokes made about microcar performance that it's great to see what one of these little cars can do in an Autocross.
There's no dialogue -- other than a nervous laugh when the Isetta lifts a wheel.
We'd love to see more videos like this one, showing that it isn't all about horsepower -- that maneuverability is an advantage these cars have over many other vehicles.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to make a 3-wheel Messerschmitt into a 2-wheel Messerschmitt

I couldn't believe this when I saw it -- and it sounds like the announcer couldn't believe it either. (I wish I could understand what he was saying.)
Maybe one of the Messerschmitt mavens in the club can explain how this is done.

Friday, April 3, 2009

B M Double U

Look for a "HOT" Isetta on the internetta.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Recently we've had a decorative car in the front yard. Today we have one
in the side yard. This funny little Fiat seems to be a planter too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Cash for Clunkers" rearing its head again

While we understand that the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association has some real economic motivation to oppose the "Cash for Clunkers" legislation, their arguments make a lot of sense.

BETHESDA, Md., March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) supports efforts by the Obama administration to help stabilize U.S.-based vehicle manufacturers, the association cautions that the "Cash for Clunkers" proposal will harm the environment, negatively impact car owners, waste billions of taxpayer dollars and hurt the hundreds of thousands of vehicle service and repair businesses in America.

AAIA strongly opposes the use of Cash for Clunkers programs, which threaten jobs in the independent aftermarket industry by removing repair opportunities for vehicles and raising the cost of used cars and parts.

"It seems arrogant to destroy perfectly good vehicles with many more years of useful life just to entice consumers to purchase a car that they might not be able to afford," said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. "This is hauntingly reminiscent to the home mortgage debacle when consumers purchased homes they could not afford."

Cash for Clunkers would prematurely destroy vehicles and their valuable parts and components, denying more affordable used vehicles and parts to millions of low and middle income families who cannot afford to purchase a new car even with a $3,000 to $5,000 government voucher.


Keep in mind...almost all of the micro and minicars on the road today would probably be considered "clunkers" by this legislation. And, more importantly, late model used cars -- the cars that, if allowed to survive, will become the classic cars of the future -- may be taken out of the market and destroyed by this legislation. Effectively removing the source of classics and classic car parts.

Think about it...