Author Topic: What's a Bubblecar?  (Read 15027 times)

Elvis

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What's a Bubblecar?
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:55:00 pm »
I know this may sound a very daft question though I would really appreciate people's definitions on what a Bubblecar is or should be?  I've been asked about the possiblity of a book on Bubblecars though there seems to be varying definitions as to what a Bubblecar should be.  The publishers and myself were thinking along the lines of classic 1950s - 1960s Bubblecars like the Isetta, Heinkel, Trojan Messerschmitt and Peel Trident though to others vehicles I would have tended to class as Microcars are also termed Bubblecars.

I'd therefore really appreciate any feedback on this as it would be most helpful.

Thanks.
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Bob Purton

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 02:28:08 pm »
Hi Elvis. I would tend to agree with you and the publishers. It has to look bubbly! Covering only bubblecars severely limits a book scope though. Its all been said and done so many times before as well. You would have to come up with a radical new format to make a new bubblecar book stand out from a rather bland croud. I'm not saying you couldnt do that of course! :)

Elvis

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 02:59:04 pm »
Thanks Bob and yes I agree, I have looked at what has done before and also think that it needs to be something different.  :)
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marcus

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 03:02:23 pm »
Agree with Bob, it is not an exact definition, just a nick-name which came into use in UK when people started seeing small round cars with relatively big bubbly windows, principally the early "bubble window" Isettas, 'shmitts and H/Ts. The name was already known before the Trident came out but it fits the bill, as does the later Isetta: despite having less bubbly windows it still follows the bubble shape. BMW 600 and original Fiat Multipla have flat fronts which could just see them included too.

Others could include Arzen's Oeuf, the Hoffman "copy" of the Isetta, a few Eastern European, Spanish and South American cars like the Dinarg, and arguably the Delta/Janus.

As Bob says, most of these are well known, some in bubble car books, some in micro car books, some in Eastern European car books (like Julian Nowill's) or other foreign/classic car books.

Just limiting your future to just "proper" Bubble Cars you have a very limited number of proper contenders, and therefore you would have to have something new or interesting to say about them, and/or get some really interesting photos and locations. The photos in the Sparrow Family Albums are hard to better, so that might a visual bench-mark to aim for. If you go more on text you may frighten off casual purchasers but also struggle to get many sales among proper devotees as a lot of info is already out there in books, magazines and club publications.

That's the bad news, the good news is that most of us on this site are compulsive anoraks and never tire of seeing more published! But certainly try to think of a "new" angle, good luck and keep us posted!
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marcus

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 04:10:14 pm »
I hoped you would see it that way, not as me trying to put you off, but just aware of what you might be up against!

I have a bubble car book sitting waiting for me to get my ar*e in gear and put out there. I think it does have a unique "angle" which might just make it of interest to a few, if self-published.
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richard

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 04:17:42 pm »
Agreed with much of that already stated.some more thoughts - not. Multipa , BMW only by association with Isetta. Yes Scootacar no Bond. Etc. As with others the angle has to be there I think
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Bob Purton

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 04:25:54 pm »
It would appaer the best way to sell anything these days is just add Meerkats!

Barry

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 04:44:02 pm »
Do we need a sort of family tree or an evolutionary tree or an overall category of cars, sub-divided into smaller groups (which could overlap)

The main category - Microcars.   What is the definition?  

                                                           Cubic Capacity:     700cc or less
                                                                     weight:     ?
                                              Manufacturing date limit:     None


What does everyone think is the correct definition?

sub-divisions - Bubble cars (definition)
                    Sans Permis (definition)
                    Invalid carriage (definition)
                    Electric
                    Tricycles (for Bonds A, B, C etc. if they don't fit into bubblecars or are they simply just microcars)

There are unusual small cars that sit just outside the definition of microcar - usually because of cc.  Bond bug, 875, etc.  How do we accommodate these or should they be disregarded?

I think the definition of Microcar is the first step, then we can decide exactly what makes and models can be included.
                    
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 05:36:39 pm by Barry »

Bob Purton

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 04:55:12 pm »
An early Bond Bug with original engine would be within the current definition anyway at 700cc.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 04:57:46 pm by Bob Purton »

marcus

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 06:05:50 pm »
Some bubbles/micros were classed as Cabin Scooters, something like the Moby is not really designed to be a Sans Permit vehicle, so is it a Cabin Moped? Is a Velorex a cabin motorcycle?!
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Elvis

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2013, 09:57:24 pm »
An early Bond Bug with original engine would be within the current definition anyway at 700cc.

Reliants would be very selective, 1935 - 1938 models that had a 600cc JAP engine would be microcars but the ones from 1936 - 1938 with a 747cc JAP engine essentially are not.   Models from 1938 up until 1962 with 747cc side-valve engines also would not qualify.  Then the 1962 Regal 3/25 with a 600cc OHV engine would be OK as would the later Regal 3/30 with a 700cc OHV engine and as you mention early Bond Bugs.  But the later Bond Bugs, Robins and Rialtos again fall outside the 700cc definition with 750cc - 850cc engines.  I read somewhere that in the USA the limit on engine size for a microcar is 1,000cc.
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Big Al

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 10:31:14 pm »
You cannot really successfully categorize a 'bubblecar' It is a quintessentially British concept of some cars that are Microcars. If you talk about bubblecars in other parts of the world, even English speaking, they may well have no idea what you are talking about. If you go to Italy they will be thinking of exclusive designer house exotica like the double bubble Alfa Romeo. Its actually a very limiting book title on its own and really covers a very few vehicles accurately.

Microcar is a made up class of vehicles that can be defined. The problem with defined classes of vehicles is peoples efforts to change the parameters to insert new vehicles into the existing class, rather than creating a new one to fill with a new area of interest. So we end up with the campaign for real microcars within a rather flexible definition which is beginning to not mean anything other than a small car. The Off Topic Lounge wins. I know what I mean by a Microcar and a lot of the stuff talked about on this forum is not it.

However go to a title like 'The bubblecar explosion' and you have carte blanche to pull in none bubblecars who owe their existence to the impact the true bubblecars made in design, marketing and sales. It is irrelevant as to if they are microcars or not because the two things are different but related areas of interest. A Dymexion is very much a bubblecar, but it is not a microcar. I argue a Tatra is nothing but a huge bubblecar on steroids, but it it is not a microcar. A Bond MkG is not a bubblecar but it is definitely a microcar. Bang, there is the interest in the book, its a concept of design bringing some pretty off the wall stuff in. No idea if thats what the publishers want as they tend to be ultra conservative and if baked beans sell we will make a new brand of baked beans. Its all a form of wind in the end. Now having given you half the book I was going to write you can go and argue about it.
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Barry

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 10:41:13 pm »
In America everything is big.  

The 700cc rule is a tricky one.  Arbitrary, just to indicate a reasonable top limit.  

All of your comments about the Reliant range are valid - personal interpretation on engine size of a true microcar steps-in.

A very old 750cc small car could easily be referred to as a microcar, there will always be a grey area.

That is why perhaps we need a category for Microcars that fall just outside the 700cc limit.  They should be included as a related range, not banished from ever being spoken about. (like IC's.....oops I said it)

Perhaps there could be an upper limit of say 875cc but other restrictions on size or weight to exclude the likes of minis and A30's etc.
Above 700cc three wheels or light-weight construction may be important to define a microcar??? tricky.

1000cc is just too big, sorry USA.

What does everyone else think?

GoggoPete

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 11:48:49 pm »
Where does one draw the line when it comes to size. The 600cc DAF is the same size as the 747cc model that replaced it...yet one is a microcar and t'other isn't? Similar argument with Trabbis, 595cc versus 1.1 litre, yet the body is same dimensions.

And don't forget some of the Japanese Kei cars of course. Albeit some may exceed the engine cc but must qualify on smallness?

The Synder ST600 is a truly horrendous vehicle by all counts yet it is a 600cc. Does that make it a microcar.

I guess it's all a matter of taste and one man's horse poo is another man's manure. As my old man reminds me. 'If everyone liked the same thing then they'd all want to sleep with your mother!'.

So I think best to be pragmatic about your choices. Be broad, appeal to all (ie a larger selling base) and don't be too judgemental...you can't please all the people all of the time but you could offend a fair few...and that's before we've even opened a chapter on ICs (which btw I rather like, especially Invacars...well, they are belt driven after all!).
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Jim Janecek

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Re: What's a Bubblecar?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 12:12:58 am »

1000cc is just too big, sorry USA.

I agree with you, but there was heavy lobbying by influence peddlers.
Oddly enough the ones that pushed for the 1000cc upper limit now call 500cc and under: MICROCARS
and 501 to 1000cc : MINICARS
so perhaps a change is in order.

and the press calls any new small car a "MICROCAR", that doesn't help either.

I am personally inclined to call anything a MICROCAR that was intended to be an enclosed scooter suitable for road use.