Monday, March 02, 2009

Messerschmitt KR200: The cabin scooter, from the streets of Tokyo!

The Messerschmitt KR200, caught in Tokyo. Cool!

One of our readers – Horacio – has sent us these pics from Japan, where you can see a Messerschmitt KR200 parked at the Kuramaebashi Dori and Chuo Dori crossing, in the Akihabara District in Tokyo. Yes, the Messerschmitt is really more of a three-wheeled car rather than a motorcycle-style trike, but okay, it’s just so very, very cool that we couldn’t resist posting these pics here…

The Messerschmitt KR200 was designed by an aircraft engineer – Fritz Fend – and around 40,000 units of this ‘bubble car’ were built between 1955 and 1964, in Germany. With two seats in tandem, the vehicle had motorcycle-like one-behind-the-other seating for two people. The engine was a Fitchel & Sachs, 191cc two-stroke single-cylinder unit, mated to a four-speed manual transmission. With about 10bhp, the KR200 had a top speed of 100km/h and at 30km/l, it was also quite fuel-efficient.

At 229 kilos, the Messerschmitt KR200 was actually lighter than, say, a BMW K1300GT, which weighs 255 kilos. The KR200’s manufacturers actually referred to it as a ‘Kabinenroller’ (scooter with a cabin), so maybe this was the 1950s equivalent of the BMW C1? In any case, with its removable soft-top and tandem seating for two, the KR200 was as close as anything could get to being a three-wheeled motorcycle. Today, a well-maintained KR200 could go for anywhere between US$15,000-25,000.

Here, we’ll also note that the Messerschmitt KR200 may soon have a spiritual successor – Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car may actually be very close to the old Messerschmitt in many ways! More about the T.25 here and here’s an interview with Murray himself.

This picture shows just how small the KR200 is!


Laurie said...

That really is amazing! God bless electric any form...they are efficient and eco-conscious!

Anonymous said...

Electric scooters? Er... in case you didn't read the post carefully, the Messerschmitt KR200 is from the 1950 and is powered by a 191cc petrol engine! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Long live petrol vehicles! Curse the green meanies!

Blitz said...

2stroke 4life!))

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