Quirky and extremely desirable, this Messerschmitt KR200 is a purists answer to sleepless nights.
Messerschmitt began their engineering escapades following a cull on aircraft manufacturing in Post-War Germany. It was aircraft petrolhead Fritz Fend who through caution to the wind or wings and came up with a cheap sporty little ‘runaround’, with a unique tandem configuration to allow an airplane fuselage shape.
Fend went cap in hand to Messerschmitt with the ludicrous idea of building a micro-vehicle, which was based on his Fend Flitzer invalid carriage.
Introduced in 1953, this pull-start engined micro was powered by a two-stroke, single-cylinder engine, originally of 173 cc capacity for the KR175, growing to 191 cc for the KR200 of 1955, mated to a four-speed sequential gearbox.
Technology did however jump forwards in 1954, with an electric motor being offered as standard to fire the thing up.
If the car was quirky, the controls were even more so with an aircraft style steering bar, much like an aircraft, being implemented for steering purposes. A gearstick looking lever at the side had a secondary lever for clutch operation. Reverse gear was selected after turning the engine off, then selecting the gear required and restarting the engine.
The bizarre process meant the car had the same four gear ratios available in reverse as it did in forward motion, which allowed similar speeds going forwards or backwards (if bravery was your thing).
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A monocoque tub was topped with a canopy, reminiscent of the planes of WW II, hinged at the side which opens to allow the driver ‘easy’ access, providing his flexibility were that of a professional acrobat.
This particular microcar is being offered by Worldwide Auctioneers, at their Scottsdale Auction January 16 2019.
The 600-cc two-stroke engine was apparently sourced from a Trabant 601 and tuned by the Messerschmitt-community renowned, Hollie Herbolzheimer to 35 HP. Finished in Rose with black fenders, over a red interior with grey cloth inserts to the seat, this fabulous slice of history has been restored to an outstanding level.