Chuck Squatriglia of Wired
went to Atlanta to visit the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum, which holds the world's largest collection of microcars.
The 15 years after World War II marked the golden era of the microcar, and the "bubble cars" of that time comprise the bulk of Weiner's collection. Their designs are as varied as the countries that produced them, from the egg-shaped Avolette Record and voluptuous Champion H2 to the elegant Berkeley T65 sports car and bizarre Zundapp Janus with doors at each end. The most famous of the post-war microcars are the BMW Isetta that opens like a refrigerator and Messerschmitt KR-200 built by the same company that produced German warplanes.
Most post-war microcars were less than 10 feet long and weighed no more than 1,000 pounds. Their diminutive dimensions and tiny engines - most no larger than those found in Vespa scooters - made them highly fuel efficient. The Messerschmitt KR-200, for example, got 87 mpg.
There's no way GM or Volkswagen are going to start cranking out a car like the Messerschmitt because there's no way people are going to commute alongside SUVs in a car that's 10 feet long and weighs 507 pounds. But with consumers increasingly demanding more fuel efficient cars and Congress mandating that such vehicles be built, the microcar ethos - small car + small engine = less gas consumption - increasingly is influencing automotive design.
Previously on Boing Boing:
• Microcar and Minicar Club annual meet photos
• Little car kits from Japan
• Tiny car from 1964: the Peel P50
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]