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Driving Down Memory Lane

31 May 2016 No Comment

As promised I said I wanted to write about the only three “Bubble”Cars that I had experienced, well gratefully this is the last of the series.
The reason that I say gratefully is that the mind cannot always delve so far back into the filing system and that is not so “lekker”.
As I am sure most of my ardent readers are aware, Messerschmitt were actually aircraft builders and if you know anything about the Second World War you will think back with great trepidation to think of the capability of these flying machines.
However, after the war Messerschmitt were not permitted to build aircraft and therefore had to find another source of income.
In 1952 Fend approached them with the idea of building a small car based on his Fend Flitzer invalid carriage.
Production was started at Messerschmitt’s Plant in Regensburg and was known as a Kabinenroller, meaning a scooter with a cabin. The first units were fitted with a 175cc motor, and carried the Messerschmitt insignia.
In 1955 the KR175 was replaced by the KR200 with some subtle changes to the bodywork such as wheel cut-outs and an improved canopy design. The biggest improvement being hydraulic shock absorbers fitted at all three wheels.
With the car retailing at around DM 2,500 it sold like hot cakes and almost 12,000 were retailed in the first year, which would become the highest annual recorded sale of the KR200.
Performance figures quoted at that time were rather remarkable with a top speed of 90km/h despite a power output of only 7.4kW (9.9hp).
In 1956 after things seem to have settled down Messerschmitt were again permitted to build aircraft hence they sold the franchise to Fend, who with his brake and hub supplier Valentin Knott, formed a new company Fahrzeug und Machinenbau GmbH Regensburgh to continue production of the KR200 and other vehicles.
There were several other improvements made in years to come but to no avail the production of the scooter with cabin, KR ceased to exist.
Now this is an idea for all you fat cat dealers out there making the bucks.
They (FMR), decide to make factory-converted service cars, which worked as follows.
Each car was fitted with a detachable tow bar and clamp. The service technician would drive out to the client’s car, where he would fit the tow bar to the front of the service car and then attach the clamp to the rear of the car to be serviced, thereby towing the service car back to the premises for its service and at the end of the day the procedure was reversed and after delivering the vehicle back to the client, they merely unhitched the bubble car and drove back to the dealership.
Now that’s what I call German enginuity!
Slim né?
Don’t forget your flu shot or maybe you won’t be here to read what’s to come in the next edition.
Cheers vir nou, bly warm en kyk waar jy ry!

John lemmon
johnl@postnet.co.za

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