Adorable vintage microcars

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25 Responses to “Adorable vintage microcars”

  1. Hanglyman says:

    For the briefest happy moment, I read “adorable” as “affordable”.

    • UnderachievingSheep says:

      yeah no. Since this was posted I went through the google rabbit hole of micro cars in my area. A BMW Isetta is selling for 20,000 euros. Micro car for a macro budget… Alas, it was not meant to be. I’ll continue taking the tram.

    • kinscore says:

      The cars in the picture here on Boing Boing are from the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum collection, which is going up for auction at no reserve in February. So there’s a chance some of them will be affordable.

  2. Ms. Anne Thrope says:

    Our family went to the Bruce Weiner MicroCar museum this past Father’s Day.  Jam packed selection and some real beauties. Here’s a link to our pictures:  http://missannethropesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/mini-car-museum.html

  3. If you want to see the museum again, you have a couple more weekends before it goes away for good.  All those pictures are from the museum, taken for the auction catalog.

    I managed to finally get a chance to go last month.  Its quite a collection that’s for sure.

  4. kawayama says:

    Mark, you accidentally ALL the microcars?

  5. giantasterisk says:

     For a brief moment I thought these were miniatures of microcars, probably because of the photography style. Oh, how I would love the entire set!

  6. AwesomeRobot says:

    Not quite sure why these don’t catch on in climates where scooters completely suck in the winter.

    Though, I guess these would completely suck in the winter… but you’ll be warmer?

    • microcars says:

      Basically yes, these were scooters that kept the weather away for a short bit.  Most have scooter-based engines. Once the economy improved, a “real” car was more affordable. The transportation culture in Europe post WWII was much different than the USA. Small cars are still more accepted today as well.

      • Wreckrob8 says:

        Also after the introduction of the Mini which quickly acquired celebrity and cult status (at least in the UK and Europe) the whole concept of microcars just seemed less interesting.

  7. For a moment, I thought this was some infographic from Pixar.  Those cars are *ADORABLE*.

  8. valiant66 says:

    These vehicles date from a time when humanity was trying to figure out what cars were for; exactly where we are with electric cars today. 

    I can’t help but look at them and think how wonderful it would be if someone came up with a “universal” generic electric car chassis and let me drop a car skin of my choice down over it. Most of these would make fantastic “city cars” that don’t need a range of much over 50 klicks or 80 kph. In fact, most of these would make fantastic bespoke golf carts for retirement communities that let such vehicles drive on public roads.

    I do wish I could build a car from raw components the way I can build a custom PC… i.e. I could start with a frame that meets federal crash safety standards and drop in components that met my specific needs. Those Bond cars look pretty cool…

  9. redesigned says:

    are any/all of these street legal in north america?

    • microcars says:

      Pretty much all of them are “grandfathered” in and can be registered for road use in the USA, except perhaps the Eshelmans, although I have seem some with license plates.  There are many owners that drive the more accessible models (Isetta, Messerschmitt etc) on the streets of North America at speeds up to about 50 mph.  I used to drive a BMW Isetta on the old Tollways in the Chicago area when they had the baskets for the change.  Fun trying to toss the change UP into the basket. 
      Semis would all slow down and surround me to look while I was tooling along at 50 mph.  I actually felt safer on the highway than on side streets. 

  10. microcars says:

    These vehicles date from a time when humanity was trying to figure out what cars were for…

    No, they date from a time when driving a “real car” was EXPENSIVE, materials were scarce, and loopholes existed to allow one to enclose a scooter and register it cheaper for road use to keep the weather away.  
    A number of them were originally designed as invalid vehicles to be sold to wounded veterans of WWII.  When normal, able-bodied people started buying them, the manufacturers realized there was a market for an enclosed scooter.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      These vehicles date from a time when humanity was trying to figure out what cars were for…

      Apparently the designers of these cars had ruled out using them for clandestine trysts.

  11. tw1515tw says:

    I still remember once going in an Isetta as a 5 year old – well, I can remember the tartan cloth seats (might have been a rug) and the getting out of the car from the front.  

    The 54 inch long Peel P50 is meant to be back in production. The original was featured on Top Gear  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJfSS0ZXYdo

  12. Vanwall Green says:

    Sad that the museum is going away, it seems to be the story of microcar exhibits, they are undervalued as an important historical type; one collection many years ago in Phoenix owned by Les Lindvig had a huge amount pristine cars, some of which ended up at the Weiner Museum, I believe, when it was eventually broken up. I’ve driven a few microcars over the years, and they’re fun for short runs and always get attention when you stop somewhere. I’m restoring a Bond Bug three-wheeler like the one in the musem auction catalog, there aren’t many here in the States, and I look forward to driving it around.

  13. ImmutableMichael says:

    Analysis, analysis, analysis…  Sorry folks, but for these I’m suspending my critical faculties.  These are brilliant.   Message ends.

  14. Christopher says:

    The library where I work had a much smaller exhibit of some of these microcars in the main lobby a couple of years ago. Every time I walked by them I was tempted to get in one and drive it away. 

    • Donald Petersen says:

      Until the head librarian notices you putt-putting past, mutters “Come back here, you,” and drags you and the car back to the lobby by your ear.

      I can’t imagine quick getaways were these cars’ strong suit!

  15. Steve Bosman says:

    I love how friendly some of those cars look – grilles and lights straight out of “Cars”

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