Immediately following the end of World War II, German aircraft manufacturers were prohibited from using their know-how to make airplanes, a condition outlined by the treaty with the Allied forces. Instead, some of them turned to manufacturing an inexpensive type of micro-car, affectionately known these days as bubble-cars. In a previous post, we told you the story behind another German micro-car, a 1956 Messerschmitt for sale on eBay. The story of that car spanned decades and chronicled the relationships between father and son, and father and car.
Today’s remarkable find is another car from that same era, this 1956 Other Makes Heinkel 150 Kabine:
Like the Messershmitt, it is an unusual car, seeming to be part car, part scooter. In fact, the company used the same engine that powered their scooters to power this car. The word “kabine” in German means “cabin,” an indication this vehicle was to be considered an enclosed scooter of sorts. But the truth is, in post-war Germany, there was a demand for small, rugged, inexpensive cars for the general population. Even more familiar brands, such as Porsche, were building smaller, easier-to-maintain cars. The first Porsches of the post-war company, the 356, were built with easy to find Volkswagen parts.
The listing describes the Heinkel 150 Kabine:
“This is an extremely rare and very nice Heinkel 150 Kabine. Made in Germany in 1956 and sold new in Holland where it has lived most of its life until very recently.
Ernst Heinkel saw the Iso Isetta (Before BMW was making their licensed version) and thought he could design something similar but better and he did just that. I love Isetta’s too but from an engineering standpoint the Heinkel is an improvement being lighter and similarly capable with a smaller engine.”
The Isetta, referenced in the seller’s text, was another micro-car, this one built in Italy. The Isetta and the Heinkel share one interesting characteristic: the door to the car is in the front.
According to Wikipedia, in “order not to infringe Iso Rivolta’s patent used on the Isetta, the [Heinkel Kabine's] steering wheel did not move with the door.”
The car is in great, restored state. The listing goes on to describe the mechanical condition of the car:
“It runs and drives great. The engine is a Heinkel 174cc 1 cylinder 4 stroke, Although this is slightly smaller than the later Heinkels engine (198cc) this model is said to be the most reliable and with the same top speed (about 53mph) The wipers lights and horn all work (12v). The gearbox is four speed plus reverse and works great. The clutch and brakes work perfect. The steering is nice and tight and the car tracks very well. The Michelin tires (4.4×10) are old and showing a bit of sidewall cracking but work great and have plenty of tread left. The heat and defrost does work.”
Note that the car has not been licensed in the USA, but the seller says it has all the paperwork for it to be ready to get licensed.
It is not just in the past that you find these scooter-mobiles. A present-day search reveals several enclosed scooters, one step away from the Heinkel Kabine 150, like this one:
And yes, it is available on eBay, take a look at this Shoprider Flagship Enclosed Cabin Scooter. You’ll be happy to know that the door is where it traditionally is….mounted on the side.
Truly, if it is on your mind, it is on eBay.