By on May 19, 2012

An obviously Axis-inspired driver was seen today in Kamakura, Japan, complete with aloha shirt and toy poodle. A British crime writer who stood next to me swore up and down  that this is the real thing and an original Messerschmitt Kabinenroller. What do you think?

I think this is too slick a fiberglass replica of the Messerschmitt. The real McMesserschmitt had three wheels instead of four, and the bodywork had some serious panel gaps.

The real Messerschmitt Kabinenroller had a 173 cm³ (10.5ci)  enginelet that propelled the Schmitt to an exhilarating 90 km/h  (55 mph). For a long time, it would have been just fine for the freeway.

The story that Messerschmitt had a surplus of  Me 109 fighter canopies that were recycled into the Kabinenroller is most likely apocryphal .

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20 Comments on “Some Japanese Are Taking That Kei Car Thing A Bit Too Far...”


  • avatar
    righteousball

    Sorry but personally I’m more excited about the Honda Beat behind it… cause that has never appeared in a 2unlimited music video. :)

    • 0 avatar

      don’t get too excited about that beat. it was a cute car but its today roots showed through far too clearly. the thing was a dog to drive, especially on the expressways. noisy and harsh. passing lorries was -er- fun. and it wasn’t any better on the twisty roads up in the japanese alps.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Well nothing wong with having some fun, dont think anybody will be able to build another exact copy.
    Extra wheel will add extra safety.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If that white car really only has three wheels, it can’t be very stable.

    • 0 avatar
      shepherd

      The three wheeled version was very sterdy, wouldnt tip due to being low to ground also unlike a reliant robin theres two front wheels to stop this, though saying that theres a good youtube clip of one driving on two wheels, the four wheeled version was too expensive and late to the bubble car scene, costing then a years wage to buy, double the three wheeled versions cost, back to thetopic, this is some japanese kit car, the nose is too wide at bottom, its too curvy, it only has one seat, andif you look it up its boot lids massive. As a four wheel messerschmitt will set you back aound the 100k mark nowadays, i sure hope it dint start life as the real thing.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There was also a four-wheeled version: http://microcarmuseum.com/tour/messerschmitt-tiger-white.html

    According to that link, only 320 were built. I do hope that the Japanese poodle version in the photo was a replica, as it obviously wouldn’t be stock.

  • avatar
    sco

    I’m still trying to figure out the gearing and differential ratios that would allow those 10 inch tires to spin fast enough to reach 55 mph without the whole vehicle catching fire

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Original Mini’s had 10″ wheels as well. The Cooper versions were quite capable of exceding 100mph with a bit of tuning. It really is not a problem.

      • 0 avatar

        Quite a bit of tuning and probably a 1275cc engine too. My brother owns a ’63 Mini Cooper and an earlier owner added, using a Dymo labelmaker, “If God had meant for Minis to go 100mph, He would have given them bigger wheels” to the front of the heater box.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        Given that Mini Cooper S were one of the most versatile and successful competition vehicles of that era, I’d tend to suspect they didn’t have much if an issue with the whole 10″ wheel thing. I’d hazard a bet they rolled down Conrod Straight in Bathurst at significantly more than 100mph when they took the first nine places outright in 1966.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Judging by his left elbow, he must have the dog in his lap. That’s gotta be a violation.

  • avatar
    niky

    There were a bunch of four-wheel Messerchmitts… I don’t think that’s original… but in the spirit of Bosozuko, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were.

    The Beat… fascinating car. One of the few where you can oversteer, correct and get back in line at well under the speed limit… while (attempting to drive) in a straight line…

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    That is a seriously funny clown car. Thanks for posting.

  • avatar

    Nicht ein Messerschmitt, sondern es ist ein FMR (oder eine Replik FMR).

    When Willy Messerschmitt was allowed to make aircraft again in 1956, he didn’t need Fritz Fend’s microcar anymore, so he sold Fend the factory in Regenburg that was making the Messerschmitt branded three-wheelers. Fend, with automotive supplier Valentin Knott, then formed Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau GmbH, Regensburg (FMR) to manufacture the KRs and other vehicles.

    FMR was licensed to use the Messerschmitt name and logo on the KR-200 which stayed in production while Fend designed his ultimate microcar, the Tiger 500. It had an engine with double the cylinders and more than double the displacement of the KR-200 at almost 500cc, a monocoque design with a tube rear subframe with adjustable independent suspension and coil springs, larger wheels, and bigger (and hydraulic) brakes. Plus, both firsts for a Fend design, it had four, count them, four wheels, and a true reverse gear. It was said to handle very well, but was twitchy due to 1:1 steering.

    Fend had to rename the Tiger. Krupp, apparently no longer concerned about associations with the Third Reich, complained because they owned the Tiger name, from the Tiger tanks they made during the war. So the Tiger 500 beccame the TG-500 for Tourenfahrzeug-Gelandesport, or “cross-country sports touring vehicle “.

    More here:

    http://www.carsindepth.com/?p=3614

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Just using your pictures as example. The headlights are completely incorrect and if you look closely the fender and U shape between the fender and body is a different length and proportion.

    It’s a replica, a fun one but still a replica. I’m sure he’s having fun with it though and in the end isn’t that what really counts?

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    I would like to point out in manner that is full of grace, that the vehicle in question is not a FMR T500 (and most certainly not a Messerschmitt for the reasons others have already highlighted).

    It is in fact a Mitsouka K2 Microcar.

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    While stationed in Germany during the mid 60’s saw Messerschmitts all the time. Nearly always driven by young people. Strictly a town and secondary road car. No autobahn for you. At least it was better than walking.

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