Author Topic: What got you into microcars and when?  (Read 4366 times)

Stuart Cyphus

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What got you into microcars and when?
« on: September 13, 2008, 11:35:06 PM »
 It's the weekend after the National and the forum has been a little quiat since that event, so lets get started on a topic everyone should be able to reply to.....

 WHAT GOT YOU INTO MICROCARS AND WHEN?[/font] 

 As I asked the question, I'll put myself on the spot first shall I?  I suppose with me it all started with the fact that from 1984 to 1990 our everyday car was a very certain Reliant Regal which now belongs to Cuscus47. This car has probibly done more than any other to shape my motoring interests & is why I favour three-wheelers in particular. Then in the late 1990s I ended up working for the folk who owned the farm where Alan Hitchcock rented a shed. Now & then I'd bump into Alan over there, got to know him, & then I saw inside that shed for the first time......

 As well as Reliant's, I also had a good idea of what bubblecars were. Dad had had a couple of Bonds in 1973 & 1978 respectivly & had also had a 1965 Trojan 200 (reg no. BFC 370C, Where is it now?) way back in 1976 which he & a mate used to tour Scotland. These were all years before I was born but their photos have always been in the album ever since.  By the time I met Alan I was just starting to get a bit jaded with the Reliant world & now here was a whole new world to explore!  This was also at the exact same time I began to take an interest in those things known as invalid carriages.  Shortly afterwards, in mid 2001, I discovered the Register of Unusual Microcars and I've never looked back.

 Now, how was it for you?

marcus

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 09:01:23 AM »
Interesting topic, Stuart! I think I saw Bubble cars driving around in Montevideo, Uruguay, where I lived '58 to '62, aged 2-6 and fascinated by all the different cars I saw there. Jorge Schneckenberger in the H-T club says Schmitts and Heinkels were around, and the locall bus co had a fleet of early Isettas for mailing and parts collection. I do not SPECIFICALLY remember bubbles, but at Christmas 62 we returned to England and lived in a wooden unheated Summer holiday cabin on the coast, yes we came back from 5 years in the tropics to one of the coldest winters ever! That Christmas in my Gran's house I found a box of Christmas presents, and being a good boy immediately put the lid back on and left it because I would have got in big trouble for looking! But I DID see a HUGE red toy bubble car, and I was sure that this was to be my present, I was so excited I did not dare say any more or even look at it for more than an instant. I think it was probably a Heinkel. As it happened it was not for me, and I never saw it again! I think it was Heinkel, because a while later I saw an Isetta and thought how wrong and ugly it was compared to what was now one of my fave cars. I did also love Schmitts. These were sometimes seen in the streets and sometimes in films and TV. Then I started noticing that my fave was sometimes a Heinkel and sometimes a Trojan, years later I figured out why they looked so similar!
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Peelpower

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2008, 12:34:15 PM »
I made nearly the same experience like Marcus. Grown up in the early sixties, i always saw this tiny cars everywhere on the roads. Our neighbour used to drive an Isetta and my teacher used to own a Fuldamobil. Then, for a couple of years, the bubblecars disappeared out of my mind. Driving some motorbikes till the early 80's i once again saw a "Schmitt", and my life did totally change.I sold the Motorbike in 1982 and bought a Goggomobil, because i could'nt effort a Schmitt. Several trips to different microcar events succeeded, and then in 1985 i purchased my red KR 200 whichsoever i still own. I never lost the microcar virus, and i still do love my small collection of cars  and accessories.

Inaheinkel

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2008, 05:25:55 PM »
Hi Stuart

Good topic.

I have always been into classic cars. From the age of a bout 10, I was helping (hindering ? ) every Saturday morning at the small vilage garage where my Dad was manager of.

Quite often they would get a car in for M.O.T. that was not viable to repair ( this was when the brakes were tested with a swinging penduum in the pasenger footwell, if the brakes didn't work you found out the hard way, several times my Dad or the other M.O.T. tester would come back up the hill where the brakes were tested and help to improve my understanding of the local descriptive words) if the car was too bad it was sometimes purchased for the 2nd hand spares or if the customer wasn't interested it was kept in lieu of the M.O.T. fee, and it was my job to strip as many bits off as possible, inbertween my serving petrol and making the tea.

As soon as able I was onto a moped and then a small motorbike, My first car at 17 / 18 was going to be a 3 wheeler Reliant, a low mileage local car that an elderly lady customer was going to trade in against one of the 3 cars we usualy had on the forecourt, it would have been about 1980 so it could have been a Robin.

I decided against the car as it was not considered cool enough and to my Mum's horror I went through about 4 motorbikes over the next 18 months.

Eventualy I decided I had to get a car, my best friend had one and it looked so much warmer.

A mini van was purchased from a friend for the massive sum of £17.50 and a 2nd hand socket set. It needed a new front wing and some work on the brakes, but with help from Dad and about £100 it had a years M.O.T. and I was up and running.

I have always liked the smaller cars, this has been partialy because I like their style, but also because they are cheaper to run and easier to store.

For a period of about 2 1/2 years I was into Austin A30,s and A35's at one pint I had 17 of them at the same time, I also was into braking them and selling the spares.

I think it was about 7 or 8 years ago that I decided that the next time I was going to get a classic car it should be a microcar.

I just love the diversity and the mix of crazyness and practicality.

All the best

John
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Smart51

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2008, 01:20:04 PM »
I’ve always liked small cars, but things like my first car, a Citroen AX.  About 10 years ago I thought it must be possible to do more MPG than the 50 MPG that my AX did so I started to read up on car design.  I thought that 100 MPG should be easily possible and started to work on designing my own car.

Last year, Jeremy Clarkson drove a Peel P50 on top gear and I decided I would have to make a modern day version of one.  That’s when I joined the RUMcars forum.  In the first few weeks, my car’s design grew a bit, to carry 2 people and to keep up with modern traffic but at 2.5m long and with a 250cc engine, it is definitely a micro car.

Whilst I like the old micro cars, especially the messershmitt, I think that there’ll be a modern microcar boom in the next few years.  I’m looking forward to that quite a lot.

marcus

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2008, 05:34:59 PM »
Smart51, I agree that there could be another boom in micros because oil is now being used much faster than new fields are discovered. I think it will still take MUCH worse economy and fule price to get most people give up luxury cars. It never ceases to amaze me that brands like Mercedes Benz used to be a rare luxury car, now they are as common as Fords!                                     The size and mass of average cars has increased hugely in 25 years, and so has the amount of extra stuff like turbos and power steering etc which all uses more fuel. I guess most of us on this forum remember the 50s and 60s micros, and I hope that new generations will soon be able to see, use and enjoy a new generation of them. Anyone see Rory and Paddy's British Adventure? PEDAL CAR races.... now that looks FUN!!! And low carbon footprint.
Once in mid 70s I spotted a red Heinkel/Trojan down near East Peckham/Paddock Wood and these were now a rare sight so I gave chase in my mini clubman estate but could not keep up with him around the corners.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

piatti

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2008, 12:11:15 PM »
I was allways interessed in classics cars and scooters. But in 1997 after moving into a new flat in the old town of zurich, I had to sell my "normal" car (fiat 124 spider) due to the terrible amout of money a parking space costs (rent: > €500 per month) at this area of the city.

As 3-wheelers are considered as motobikes in switzerland, a bought an Isetta and parked this car on the motobike parking in front of my house for free...

A handful of swiss isettas with special rear axle where built to fulfill the swiss reglements for driving them "as motobikes".
See: http://www.rollermobilclub.ch/rmc/pages/info/hofmann.htm



A couple of months later a joined the famous nordkapp rally and since then I'm part of the swiss cabin scooter community.
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marcus

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2008, 06:33:16 PM »
Hello Piatti, interesting rear wheel arrangement on your Isetta. In Uk people often assume WRONGLY that 4 wheel Isettas are taxed as 3 wheelers, but even the close Swiss spacing would still have to pay extra tax here. Your name is Italian for cymbals...are you a drummer? Are you aware that one of the best Cymbal makers (Paiste) is in Switzerland?
I once had gigs in Austria and Switzerland and went through Zurich Airport (1980s). As my bag went through Xray I suddenly realised there were 2 soldiers close behind me with machine guns pointing at the floor...but ready! I do not know where they came from or how they moved to me so silently, but was VERY impressed. I realised that the lady at the machine saw something suspicious in my bag, it was my Bell Tree (suspended metal tube chimes). i always carry this separately. I said "glocken", she said OK, and by that time the soldiers had gone again. Good security!
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

Inaheinkel

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2008, 07:16:09 PM »
Hi

You are very lucky she understood you.

Glock is now one of the most popular makes of guns used by people going across borders, it is made of ceramic and is hard to detect when broken down into component parts.

Don't worry, I'm not a part time terrorist as well as microcar enthusiast, I just like interesting information.

John ;D
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Chris Thomas

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Re: What got you into microcars and when?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2008, 09:40:09 PM »
Dear Stuart

I suppose I should declare my hand in answer to your question, What got you into microcars and when?

The literal answer would be a shoe horn!

But to be more honest it would have to be the Aston Martin Lagonda in 1976.

This may seem a strange starting point but it was the car that introduced me to the designs of William Towns, which includes such designs as the Aston Martin Bulldog, Hustler, Tracer, Microdot and Minissima. Having purchased a Hustler and keen to extend my collection I was able to purchase chassis no 1 Elswick Envoy which is the productionised vehicle derived from the Minissima design. This led me to register it with the Register of Unusual Microcars.

I have always been interested in weird and wonderful means of transport and preferred small cars to big fire breathing monsters, appreciating their engineering efficiency and ingenuity, but was never an all out fan of bubblecars, which were of my era. Having said that I always wanted a Bond Bug, and was totally devastated when I found that I was too tall to drive one, having no room for my left leg between the steering wheel and the engine compartment. ( note the similarity between the Bond bug and the designs of William Towns).

I have always considered myself to be knowledgeable about cars of all types, not in detail but in a broad spectrum, but having seen the names of the vehicles on the register I realised there was a whole parallel universe that I knew nothing about, apart from the well know British and German microcars and bubblecars. In the last seven years I have learnt so much about this parallel universe and can see that there is a lot more still to learn.

I like to think that I am an early adopter and what I do now others will be doing in 5 to 10 years time, and so my interest in the electric side of Microcars will I hope be the next trend, be it  solar, hydrogen or battery. In the mean time I feel I am better at writing about cars than repairing them, so I will probably sell the Elswick at some time on the basis that others can gain more pleasure from owning it than I have over the last seven years.

Is that sufficient detail for you Stuart.

Chris Thomas