Author Topic: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited  (Read 10098 times)

steven mandell

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Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« on: November 23, 2013, 04:40:40 PM »
Has anyone ever figured out why Minicomtesses come with both a vertically opening, and horizontally hinged bi fold door, and a conventionally hinged and operated swing out door?
After watching the video posted by Nick, I gather that more than one door was needed to allow you to escape the vehicle after it apparently routinely trips over itself.  However I don't see how the additional expence or complexity of the vertically opening door was justified, as the car could only come to rest right side up, upside down, or on its right or left side after a roll over, and I cannot see any advantage to the bi fold door's requirement of vertical clearance to allow it to open if the car ended up lying on its opposite side after a roll.
Indeed this requirement tor vertical clearance should render the bi fold door useless if the vehicle ended up lying flat on its roof like an overturned turtle.  Interesting to note that this particular outcome was not realized in the hilarious video.  Perhaps it is due to the effective round top shape of their external roll cages?
If the bi fold door was intended to allow its use by invalids, I find it amusing to say the least, that they would have been expected to have a very functional left lower appendage, as this would have been needed to operate the left side mounted pedal provided for the single occupant to be able to propel the vehicle by leg power.
Being about the narrowest of production vehicles in the modern era, at only about 3 feet wide, I cannot reasonably imagine a situation where a driver would find himself parked in a space that would not allow exiting via a conventionally hinged and constructed door.

Does anyone know how effective the training wheels of the earlier of the three wheeled models was at preventing roll overs?
If they were significantly effective at preventing this unwanted outcome- why was this feature not carried over in their later 3 wheeled models?
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 04:43:23 PM by steven mandell »

Barry

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 05:06:11 PM »
Detail of the controls and doors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tWtHu6SCNw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RMZZe69_us

I thought the early ones had no 'training wheels' but when they found out they were so easy to tip-over they added them?

From Microcarfan - Denis

This rare document dates from 1972 and can get an idea of the initial form of the first few carts all fabricated. It evolved very quickly and for good reason: Legend has it that one of the first user has not been able to exploit the driving characteristics of the vehicle nor harness the power ended up in the ditch, trapped in her case which of course had switched side door! By force of circumstances saw the following models equipped with a second door and two stabilizer wheels at the front (one quickly understands the usefulness of the latter as soon as one path a few meters edge of a mini Countess). For twenty years I am passionate about microcars, I have never met a copy of this version

http://www.microcarfan.com/index.php/marques/72-acoma
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 05:07:49 PM by Barry »

steven mandell

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 06:26:21 PM »
By force of circumstances saw the following models equipped with a second door and two stabilizer wheels at the front (one quickly understands the usefulness of the latter as soon as one path a few meters edge of a mini Countess). For twenty years I am passionate about microcars, I have never met a copy of this version

http://www.microcarfan.com/index.php/marques/72-acoma
[/quote]

Hi Barry,
I am confused by your quote re the "path a few meters edge of a Mini Countess", and which copy you never got to see in 20 years.

Perhaps Stewart or Jean Doo can set us straight on the evolution of necessary but inadequately compensatory evolution of their engineering.

Barry

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 07:57:13 PM »
Not my quote - it is confusing.  Just a direct computer translation of the wording on Denis' Microcarfan website.  How is your French?


La légende voudrait que l'une des premières utilisatrice n'ayant pas su exploiter les qualités routières de l'engin ni en maîtriser la puissance se retrouva dans le fossé, prisonnière de son écrin qui bien entendu avait basculé coté porte! Par la force des choses les modèles suivants se virent équipés d'une seconde porte et de deux roulettes stabilisatrices à l'avant ( on comprend très vite l'utilité de ces dernières dès que l'on parcours quelques mètres à bord d'une mini comtesse !). Depuis vingt ans que je suis passionné de microcars, je n'ai encore jamais rencontré un exemplaire de cette version.

???

steven mandell

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 10:15:47 PM »
I had a poodle once.
But we still had the language barrier.
Can someone else chime in here? ???

Rob Dobie

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2013, 10:24:14 PM »
DING - DONG - DING - DONG  ;D
Ain't got nuffink now except memories.

steven mandell

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 12:06:50 AM »
Someone less dingy  please. :)


marcus

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 08:47:27 AM »
Perhaps there were some legal requirements to be met, even if they had no relevance to the Comtesse. Also as soon as anyone starts making and selling anything, other people involved in the project and then customers start adding their suggestions and requests and inevitably tings get added which are not relevant to the original design. My own work on lightweight and compact versions of heavy instruments came under huge pressure at our US production facility to add all sorts of extras and accessories which completely negated the point of making the product lightweight and portable!
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

steven mandell

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 09:18:36 AM »
I can see how your ship barely made it off the ground ::)

marcus

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 09:39:06 AM »
Chortle! At least it did, my Trojan is below it, stuck firmly on terra firma despite being a lot lighter.
Just remember: as one door closes behind you, another slams in your face

Denis

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2013, 09:58:11 AM »
Dear all,
As I wrote at the time of my first website : It would appear that one of the primary users ( a ... woman ... !) of one of the first model following an accident in the lower side of road remained trapped in the car who had switched from one side of the door.
Now I am able to confirm !
The story is true and it was confirmed to me by somebody of Villeneuve la Comtesse , the village in which one was installed Mr Emile Boussereau .
Mr Boussereau inventor " a little dreamy", manufactured all kinds of things . For example: A trailer that served to lift cars . ( In French : Un pont roulant remorquable )
He died accidentally, few years ago, crashed through the roof of a shed in which one he had stored his car.
I finally got to see one of the famous first version : One door, rear all flat , no additional small wheels without it was possible for me to acquire it.
But all hope is not totally lost.
Hope makes us live...
Denis

AndrewG

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2013, 02:08:51 PM »
Detail of the controls and doors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RMZZe69_us
At the end of that video, it does show what a narrow gap the 'butterfly' door can be used in.  I hadn't realised how little space it needed.

Stuart Cyphus

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2013, 03:45:56 PM »
 I always believed the reason for the gull wing door was mainly so you could park as close as possible to an obstruction (Such as end-on to the kerb between two normal parked cars in typical French anything-goes city parking) and still be able to wriggle out as the gull wing can open in only a few inches of gap roughly compatible with the nose of an average car.

 I really can't understand either why the Mini-Contesse has this reputation for instability. Mine never even remotely felt like it was ever going to put a wheel wrong at any time, no matter what one did with it. Being sat as good as directly on the center of the rear axle, the driver's own weight keeps the car pretty much glued to the floor. Plus they just aren't powerful enough to get into trouble in my experience. Certainly I personally found my Comtesse to be the most "neutral" handling car I've ever been in. They just go where you point them, and gets there in their own time.

 I'd have another one....   


Denis

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2013, 05:29:27 PM »
Stuart,
If you look at one of my vidéo called Minicomtesse, on my site, you will understand the usefulness of small wheels...
It is true that we must turn a little faster to get this result!
http://www.microcarfan.com/index.php/videos

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: Minicomtesse mysteries revisited
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2013, 06:36:21 PM »
Brilliant, I'd not come across the videos on your site before!  :)
Malcolm
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