Sunday, May 16, 2010

Microcar collection at Whiteman Park


16th of May 2010 was National Motoring Heritage Day all over Australia. It was supposed to be a co-ordinated event involving auto club displays all around Australia. Shelly and I went up to the Whiteman Park Motor Museum where the Perth display was to be held but only the Vintage Motorcycle Club put on a show. By the time we arrived just after 12pm most of the motorcyclists were packing up and heading home so I snapped a couple of shots and had a bit of a chat, then it was off to the museum. Although its only been a couple of weeks since we last visited the museum, they have put on a new display of microcars. I am a big fan of microcars so here's a couple of photos of the new display.

A Sinclair C5 personal transporter, the iconic Goggomobil Dart and a (Heinkel) Trojan Cabin.

Ernst Heinkel began building the Kabine Scooter in 1955 as an improvement on the rival BMW Isetta. They were originally powered by the same 175cc engine they used in their scooters, but soon upgraded the engine to 200cc. They proved quite popular in post-war Germany, but BMW successfully sued Heinkel for breach of copywrite so after only about 1000 had been manufactured in Germany, Heinkel offshored production to Ireland. They continued production there for a couple of years before selling the rights and tooling to the British company, Trojan. Trojan produced about 6000 units of the popular little car until Trojan wound up in 1963. All up about 26,000 Heinkel and Trojans were produced.

A rear view of the Trojan and Fiat Bambino. The tiny size of the Heinkel engine is clearly apparent even from the outside.


An Italian icon, the Fiat Bambino.


One of my favourite autos of all time, the Messerschmitt KR200.

Although not a familiar microcar in Australia, the German Fuldmobil was amongst the most widely copied. It was originally built by the German company Fulda with a pressed metal body and a 191cc Sachs engine in 1950. The metal body was later replaced with a streamlined fibreglass body. Engine size progressively increased and even a four wheeled version was released. Fulda licensed the design to many countries, who produced it under a variety of a names - King Fram in Sweden, Attica in Greece, Hans Vahaar in Chile, Bambi in India and Noble in England. This is an English Nobel 200. Here is a link to a blog documenting the restoration of a Noble 200. http://www.nobel200.com/

It looks like this car might have come from this ex-museum collection that was sold in 2008.
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2008/10/07/save-these-microcars-cranwell-lincolnshire/

A legendary car in Australia, the Goggomobil Dart. Hans Glas was a German scooter and microcar manufacturer. Buckle Motors in Australia imported bare Goggo chassis and engines and installed a sporty fibreglass body. Interestingly these little sports cars are so low to the ground that they have no doors, driver and passenger simply step over the side walls into the car. About 1700 were built.

The English Bond company were making three wheeled microcars since the 1930's. The 1972 Bond Bug was their last attempt at three wheelers before they folded up.

The 1986 Litestar Pulse looks more like a plane than a car. Here's a link with some more information about these strange vehicles.
http://www.autocycles.org/
On a related theme, here's a video from an early Top Gear of the Eco-car.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbdkZB9-Sd4
Here is a link to Minutia microcar blog. Sadly it's no longer being updated but it still has lots of great photos.
http://minutia-microcarsminicars.blogspot.com/

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