Micro, bubble & popular cars at Autoworld
30 oktober 2016
From 29/10 to 11/12 Autoworld will be putting a number of micro, bubble and popular cars in the spotlight.
Everyone is familiar these days with small city cars like the Smart, the Mini, the Beetle, the 2CV and others. But bubble and micro cars have been around since the '50s. These diminutive vehicles were a response to the first oil crisis of 1956. They were mainly built in Europe, and the designers must have had great fun coming up with them! The 'bubble' name was inspired by the roof of the famous Messerschmitt Kabinenroller KR200.
A lot of bubble cars were produced by former German aircraft manufacturers such as Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Fulda and BMW.
The Italian Iso Rivolta Isetta used a BMW engine to build its own model under licence. This vehicle, with its door on the front, is probably the most famous micro car of them all!
From England came the Heinkel and Isetta three-wheelers, with right-hand drive, and the Peel Trident, designed by the brilliant Peel Company from the Isle of Man. The three-wheeled Bond Minicar, the Meadows Frisky and the Scootacars also deserve a mention here, as do the Berkeley Roadsters with their 360cc engines.
By contrast, there were only a few French micro cars, including the Velam Isetta, the Peugeot VLV, the Vespa 400 and the Rovin.
The arrival of the Austin Mini in 1959 marked the end of the bubble car. The Mini had the advantage of being able to seat four people, and was also made to drive long
distances: the ideal compact vehicle at a low price.