Small cars always had a certain appeal, mostly thanks to its simplicity and price, which was considerably lower compared to their larger brethren. Most of these models are barely a step up from a motorcycle with an enclosed cabin, but they did the job they were meant to do, getting people from point A to point B.
The Strømmen Car
Built-in 1949 in a small village of Strømmen near Oslo, Norway, not much is known about this car. All we know is that it weighs 200 kg and was capable of a top speed of 50 km, although we don’t know which engine was powering it. The car, made almost entirely out of plywood, is located in Norsk Folk museum.
1959 Scootacar MK I
Only 1,500 Scootacar MK Is were ever made and very few survived until today. Scootacar was made in England and features three wheels and steering that resembles a handlebar, which makes sense since there is hardly enough room for a full-blown steering system.
Design in England by Alan Evans, Bamby was powered by a Yamaha 50cc air cooled engine. The car was a single seater, with a single gull-wing type door. The production of Bamby ceased in 1985.
The 1933 Rollfix
Rollfix was made in Germany and came in two models, a two-seater and an estate car. An interesting fact is that although both models had three wheels, the configuration was different. The two-seater had a single rear wheel, while the estate car had a single front wheel. Both models were powered by a 200cc engine. The production lasted only three years and was stopped in 1936.
The Renault 4CV
The Renault 4CV was the first French car to sell more than a million units. It was a successful design and the production lasted from 1947 to 1961. It was a 4-door design, featuring Renault’s Ventoux at the back, with a rear-wheel drive.
Hanomag 2/10 PS (The Komissbrot)
In production from 1924 to 1928, The Komissbrot had a fuel consumption of 4.0 liters per 100 kilometers (71 mpg), making it one of the first mass-produced fuel efficiency cars. The low consumption was thanks to the low-friction single-cylinder engine and the car’s low weight. It had no differential and the power was transferred to the rear axle via a chain.
Lloyd – German Mini Cars
Lloyd cars, made by Norddeutsche Automobil und Motoren GmbH, were a German answer to the British Mini Cooper. Several models were made, with body mostly made from wood and fabric, mounted over a steel frame. They were small and cheap, which was perfect for post-war Germany, still trying to recover from the horrors of World War 2. As such, they were very popular and sold a considerable number of units.
The Champion 400
The only model ever produces by the Champion Automobilwerke GmbH was, Champion 400 was initially a very simple and cheap car, which made it popular in the early 1950’s. As other automobile makers upped the ante, Champion gradually became more complicated, but that took away its edge in pricing, forcing the company to eventually stop production and close in 1958.
King Midget – Micro Kit Car
The idea of 3D printing and assembling your own car is something that has been envisioned as the future of the automobile industry. However, back in 1946, you could already do something similar, by ordering a kit of King Midget and assembling it yourself in your own garage.
Powered by a 200cc engine, Framo Stromer was a three-wheeler made in Germany in 1933. The car had a very useful feature that could transform it into a light truck, making it a great choice for farmers.
The Rytecraft Scootacar
Made in England between 1934 and 1940, the Rytecraft Scootacar was produced by the British Motorboat Manufacturing Company. The company sought to expand its portfolio from making just motorboats and expanded into automobiles. The original design was powered by an electric motor, but the powerplant was later changed to a 98cc ICU engine.
1956 Avolette Tourisme (de Luxe)
De Luxe badge isn’t something one would usually associate with microcars, but Societe Air-Tourist was obviously ahead of times when it came to marketing. Avolette was a three-wheel car powered by a single cylinder, two-stroke engine.
Designed in Germany in 1950, the Fuldamobil didn’t have a lot of success in Europe. However, it garnered enough attention that the license was bought by several manufacturers worldwide and the car ended up being made on four continents.