Life Begins Under 500cc

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Automotive enthusiasm is a hugely diverse phenomenon, and for plenty of hobbyists, the smaller the car the better. The NY Times recently caught up with a few such microcar mavens at the Microcar/Minicar World Meet, and helped shed some light on the miniaturist automotive subculture. Sure, some might call driving a Goggomobile pickup the length of Route 66 without ever exceeding 30 MPH a bit…eccentric, but the passion that these microcar maniacs exude is undeniable.

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  • Darkhorse Darkhorse on Sep 02, 2010

    My Dad was obsessed with these cars when they were new back in the late 1950s. We lived in the sticks of western Maryland so there were no dealers nearby. One day we went to the train station and took the 5 hour ride to Washington DC and then to the BMW dealer. Being a 10 year old car nut, I wanted him to buy a 507 or at least a 700, but no, he had his eyes on an Isetta 300. I remember waiting at the dealer while they installed lap seat belts. Considering there was only the thin front door between you and death I wonder what Dad was thinking but then he always put seat belts in all of our cars and made us use them. It must have taken us 7 to 8 hours to get the little beastie home following Route 50 up the Appalachian Mountains. The poor little car could barely make it up steep inclines with the two of us onboard. Definitely not a road trip car. We had it for a few years until the engine blew (one too many hills I guess). Fond memories. In retrospect, these were made for frugal post war Europe where trips were shorter and the topography allowed for small engines.

  • Obbop Obbop on Sep 02, 2010

    "My Dad was obsessed with these cars when they were new back in the late 1950s." Neato!!!!! Pops obviously followed the "different drummer" route. Good for him!!!!!!!!!!!! Too many well-indoctrinated "sheep" filling the USA's human herd.

  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Sep 02, 2010

    I like little cars, they seem so toy like and cool... i have a Golf now, it seems huge compared to these... I love my freinds Cooper too, and Fiat wants to sell the 500 here, i cant wait. Of course the problem here is the preponderance of gigantic suv's all over the place, it can be kinda intimidating at first, but i supppose you'd get used to it. I have never been intimidated in my Golf, tho others have been, riding in it. I live in Philadelphia, its crowded here. But i think most people in this country have alot of space. Hell, i bought a 400 sq foot apartment for 250,000 bucks, but i was about 40 miles out, there was 9.5 acres witha house for 95,000. I wonder if there are enough city dwellers to buy these? I HOPE so! Smart does not seem to be having a good time of it.

  • Samuel L. Bronkowitz Samuel L. Bronkowitz on Sep 02, 2010

    My brother has a King Midget and a Crosley, both of which qualify for Microcar events. We've been to a couple of shows at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. If you like this kind of thing and you're in the Atlanta area it's worth the drive out to see Bruce's collection. It is amazing.