Before the automobile industry developed cars capable of going 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, there were the microcars. In the 1950s and 1960s, several European countries, in particular West Germany, manufactured cheap, zippy microcars that were one step up on the evolutionary chain from motor scooters. Most of these models are long gone today, save for those hiding in the garages and warehouses of avid car collectors.
One such collector is Stefan Voit, a German car enthusiast who has spent two decades assembling a stash of more than 50 microcars. Voit recently opened the Kleinwagen and Rollersammlung Museum (Microcar and Motor Scooter Museum) in his hometown of St. Ingbert, Germany, and it is filled with small vintage cars from Germany, Italy, France, and other European countries.
On display are a “cemetery of car brands,” including the NSU Fiat Prinz, the Goggomobil, a Bond Minicar, and a Messerschmitt Cabin Scooter. There is a microcar with a plastic chassis (Spatz), a tiny, royal blue BMW Isetta with an equally tiny camper, and the world’s first car built with its engine in the center of the car (Zündapp Janus). Sharing the exhibition space with the candy-colored vintage cars are more than a dozen motor scooters, Vespas and the like, that provide a bit of perspective to the progression of wheeled vehicles in the mid-20th century.
St. Ingbert is located about 12 miles outside of the city of Saarbrücken in southwestern Germany. Admission to the Microcar Museum is available via written request at oldtimercamping.de.
Photo © Stefan Voit