With gas prices up and city streets getting more jammed every week, these ultra tiny cars are looking pretty tempting…
BMW Isetta + camper
Isetta + Mille Miglia
1950 Martin Stationette
1931 German microcar
FMR (Messerschmitt) Tg500
Either the smallest car in the world, or one of them. It was made by a little firm on the Isle of Man beginning in the 1960s. Its three-speed gearbox had no reverse gear. Instead, the car came with a handle so you could reverse it manually.
It looks like a Jeep crossed with a trike. It was made in 1957 by a company in Barcelona. The little machine boasted a top speed of 67 km/h and only consumed 4 L/100 km. The motor was a tiny 175 cc unit.
(Photo: Alberto Salguero, Wikimedia)
The cheapest car ever sold. Later known as the Briggs & Stratton Flyer, but commonly nicknamed the “Red Bug.” It’s basically an early go-kart. The engine powered a fifth-wheel which hung off the back of the car.
One of Fearless Editor Banovksy’s favourite machines. Hard to argue with its super-cute style – the car’s style that is, not Banovsky’s.
This German machine is one of the earlier microcars. From what we can find out from translated German, this thing is actually powered by an electric motor.
(Photo: Mattes, Wikimedia)
These little jeeps still command a bit of a cult following. Built in San Diego in the late ’50s and early ’60s, they were marketed for both recreation and utility purposes.
(Photo: Crosley auto club)
Definitely one of my personal favourites, although I doubt I’d ever fit in it. The original design came from engineer Ermenegildo Preti. The car was first seen in 1952 in Milan, before BMW bought the design in 1955. It had 13 horsepower, but could still pull a small camper.
It may have been small, but it was big enough to finish the famous Mille Miglia race.
(Photo: via Isetta World)
This sorry-looking green machine is a Soviet SZD microcar. (Beside it in blue is an SZA model.) If they look basic, that’s because they are. Seen in Belarus.
(Photo: Nabil Al-Tikrit, Wikimedia)
Wow! This thing is beautiful. It’s like something from an alternate history where big cars never became popular. Amazing craftsmanship. It has a four-cylinder engine which drives just the rear wheel. Only three were ever produced based on the design by inventor James V. Martin.
(Photo: Dave_7, Wikimedia)
Made in Surrey, England, this red machine is one of the more iconic microcars thanks to its distinctly curvy silhouette. There are no doors on the side, just one big one in the front. Beautifully simple, and it manages to make a modern Smart ForTwo look bulky.
(Photo: Writegeist, Wikimedia)
Bit of a streamliner style going on here. As the photographer notes, “Yes, it’s almost as wide as it is long.” The Hoffman is a German design from the early ’50s and features rear-wheel steering.
(Photo: Jason Sullivan, Wikimedia)
Another machine that has a claim to the title of the world’s smallest car. This one is a modern car though. Best of all, you don’t need a driver’s license to drive one of these things, and you can legally drive them along bike paths and through shopping malls.
(Photo: Facemepls, Wikimedia)
Probably most famous for its cameo in the film, “Austin Powers in Goldmember” Domino’s Pizza used them for deliveries once upon a time too.
Perhaps the sexiest microcar ever? Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss had one. We think Mick Jagger had one when he was young and cool. The British company just announced it will be putting the three-wheeler back into production after a 60-year hiatus.
Another photo just to prove how awesome this thing is. A mad machine, driven by even madder folks.
There’s not much info on this pre-war German machine. We understand the photo is from August 1931. The vehicle has a licence plate though, so it must have been street legal.
(Photo: German Federal Archive)
Also known as the Victoria 250. It had a fibreglass body and a 10 horsepower motor. The littlest sports car in the world?
(Photo: Spurzem, Wikimedia)
Another microcar from Peel, the manufacturer based on the Isle of Man. To climb into this one, you flip the whole “bubble” top up.
(photo: Philip Kromer, Wikimedia)
A four-wheeled version of the similarly tiny KR200. Its two-stroke engine allowed it to rocket to 100 km/h in about 30 seconds. Not massive performance by any means, but things were slower back in the ’60s. As these brave souls on the Nurburgring track in Germany prove, it was fast enough to race.