There are many classic cars that have vintage cool, but it is the rare model that has a retro-futuristic look, like something imagined in a Jetsons cartoon. Today’s featured listing out-bubbles the Smart electric micro cars, yet it was made in 1956. Check out this 1956 Other Makes Messerschmitt KR200 :
You may associate the name Messerschmitt with the manufacturer of German fighter planes from World War II. According to Jalopnik, the company was prohibited from building aircraft after the war. Fritz Fend, an aircraft engineer, approached the company with his design for a Kabinenroller, which translates to “cabin scooter,” essentially a scooter with a cabin enclosure.
Credit Germany with engineering a bubble-top car that resembles a buggy-eyed insect from the front and a scooter from the back. The innovation doesn’t stop with the exterior. The streamlined shape and light weight has this three-wheeled micro car clocking in at speeds up to 65 mph while getting 87 miles to the gallon.
The marriage of car to scooter proved happy, as customers snapped up 12,000 the first year of release. But the most intriguing part of the story behind today’s listing is told by the seller:
“This 1956 Messerschmitt KR200 was owned by my father who passed away last year. He was in the United States Air Force and stationed in Germany during the mid-to-late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He was enthralled with the little “Kabinrollers” that he saw running around…
Although money was tight for him as an airman in the military, he was able to purchase a Messerschmitt that needed a little work for the grand sum of $50. He fixed it up and resold it for $100. He would buy and sell the little cars and became known for his work on them…
Then about 2000, a Kruse auction catalog arrived in Dad’s mailbox. In the catalog was a photo of a black Messerschmitt KR200 and the gleam in his eye told me we were going to that auction! We found information as to the size of the KR200 and found out that it would fit perfectly between the wheel wells of a full size Ford Econoline van. So we headed for a local car rental, picked up the van and drove it to Colorado. We now had an enclosed car hauler!…”
The seller, f.a.s.t., shares that his father was too nervous to bid at the auction, and enlisted his son with the duty of competing against several in-person and phone bidders, amid an audience that was going nuts over the car. Part of the hype was that a driver started the Messerschmitt and drove it to the podium.
They won the car, which the dad called his “time travel machine,” and hauled it back home. According to f.a.s.t.,
“He would take it to car shows but the car hardly sat still. His whole reason for taking the KR200 to a car show was so that he could give rides to anyone who wanted one!
I have to admit that if you parked a Messerschmitt next to a supermodel handing out $100 bills, there would be a line to see the Messerschmitt and at the end of the show the supermodel would still have her cash. It is amazing the response that people have toward these little cars!”
The dad drove the car as long as he was able. Once the dad showed signs of dementia, f.a.s.t. took the wheel, tooling his dad around town as they sat in the tandem seats. When his father died last year, f.a.s.t. knew it was time to let someone else enjoy the car. The papers are in the seller’s name, and the car is still in good, though not perfect, condition, both aesthetically and mechanically.
In an updated postscript to the original listing, f.a.s.t says he has received many messages from eBay readers and shoppers, thanking him for sharing the touching story of his father and his Messerschmitt KR200. He thanks them for an outpouring of support, and for sharing their own experiences of loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia. In his words, “This truly is an awesome place to meet wonderful folks as yourself who are reading this now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know dad would be very happy with how his car has been received here.”
Here is what we strive for this blog to be about—the individual stories behind the listings, and how a special item holds deep meaning for people. We express our gratitude to f.a.s.t. who took the time to tell his eBay story.
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