Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sinshiem micro-car collection

Here is a selection of micro-cars from the Sinshiem, Speyer and Brussels Motor Museum collections.

1942 Peugeot VLV (light city car). 377 of these little electric micro cars were built by during the Second World War after the Germans confiscated Peugeot's industrial plants.

Fiat 500

This is a Hanomag Kommissbrot from the 1920's. Hanomag went on to become one of Germany's major truck manufacturers.

Another French car with an Isetta and Vespa in the rear


A line up of 1964/65 Goggomobile Coupes

NSU Prinz Spyder

Nothing says "bubble car" like an Isetta

Except maybe a Heinkel...

A 1957 Goggomobile T-250 sedan

1955 Kleinschnittger F-125

Zundapp Janus

The ultra cool Messerschmitt

The Mercedes-Benz 130H was Mercedes' attempt to develop a rear engined "volks-wagon" during the late 1930s. It was a very experimental design and the problems with the rear engine gave it poor handling. Ferdinand Porsche and Josef Ganz were both consultants on the project.

The east and west German "volkswagons." One became a world-wide phenomenon and the other a phenomenal lemon. The Trabant and the Volkswagon.

Trabanting in Berlin

In Berlin I took the opportunity to have a bit of a drive in a Trabant with Trabi-safari. Trabi-Safari offer hour long 'drive yourself' tours around Berlin. The Trabi has gained something of a cult status now with many western tourists wanting to experience first hand just how bad they are to drive. Several other cities also offer similar tours, including Dresden, Leipzig and Krakow in Poland.

We were a little pressed for time so we only did a short half hour trip. The Trabi definitely takes some getting used to. I have driven a H gearbox before but the Trabi gears are a lot like a motorcycles - you kind of know where you are by feel and the sound the engine makes. To go into reverse you have to slam the gear shifter forwards "with some violence." Brakes were like butter. All up it was a fun experience. We were driving in peak hour traffic so never got over 40 kph and hardly up to fourth gear. Other drivers also gave us a wide berth - which was very kind of them! Later, I had a look in an old-timer bike and car magazine and noted that you can pick up a Trabi for about 300-400 Euro. Hmm, how's that credit card looking??

Here is a link to Trabi-Safari's website:

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