Though most of these microcars were made in the UK, Germany and France one country from the communist bloc were masters in making them - Hungary. At one time there were over 10 different brands of Hungarian microcars.
It is also said that nearly 500 different types of microcars were produced since the beginning of automobile history with most of them being produced in Europe with few in distant Argentina and Japan.
And yet so less is known about these wonderful cars, especially in India (though it currently produces one - Tata Nano and earlier the electric Reva). We provide a glimpse of some of them,
Peel P50 – UK
This model has been listed by Guinness Book of Records as the smallest microcar in the world. With a body length of just 54 inch, this car would fit one person and a shopping bag. It had a single headlamp and a single wiper. It was made by a firm called Peel Engineering between 1962 and 1965.
Chiqui - Spain
Made by Automóviles y Autoscooter Kapi in Barcelona, this car with a 125 cc single cylinder engine of Montessa (motorcycle manufacturer) had 3 wheels and 2 doors and were made for five years starting from 1950.
Forshaga Shopper - Sweden
A microcar built in Sweden, this 3 wheel car first rolled out in 1961. After several changes in design, the model was released as Shopper in 1964. The 1 HP engine was from Husqvarna (Swedish motorcycle manufacturer) and had a manual gearbox and a foot operated clutch. Later, the Shopper even had disc brakes on all the three wheels. But what was unique about this microcar was its steering handle that was fixed to the fibreglass roof and when lifted would also move. They were produced until as late as 1994.
Bamby – UK
A single seater microcar with a 50 cc Italian made Minarelli engine, the Bamby was a 3 wheeled vehicle and was made in small numbers in 1984.
Kersting – Germany
Kersting-Modellbauwerstätten a German motor manufacturer came up with a car that had a plywood body with removable hardtop. It was powered by a DKW made 2-stroke engine and was designed on the basis of the founder’s first sketch in 1920.
André Siames – France
An electrician called André Siames made this small electric microcar in his backyard. With a 1 HP electric powered engine, this microcar with two passengers could travel upto 80 km/hr.
Uttoro - Hungary
Powered by a Hungarian made 2-stroke Csepel 250 cc engine the Uttoro (Pioneer, in English) had a kick-starter that was placed on the rear axle. It could do about 80 km/hr.
Cingolani – Italy
This was a 3-wheeled car that weighed just 119 kg. and was powered by a 125cc Vespa scooter engine. Built by Ezio Cingolani it took him three years to build.