Posts Tagged ‘Micro cars’

The popularity of the original Austin and Morris Minis spawned many models that targeted different markets. These are two of them:

a12121_mini spawns_01a12121_mini spawns_02

Built as more luxurious versions of the Mini, both the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf had longer, slightly finned rear wings and larger boots that gave the cars a more traditional three-box design. Wheelbase of the Elf and Hornet remained at 2.036 m (6.68 ft), whereas the overall length was increased to 3.27 m (10.7 ft). This resulted in a dry weight of 638 kg (1,407 lb)/642.3 kg (1,416 lb) (rubber/hydrolastic suspension) for the Elf and 618 kg (1,362 lb)/636.4 kg (1,403 lb) for the Hornet respectively. Front-end treatment, which incorporated each marque’s traditional upright grille design (the Hornet’s grille with a lit "Wolseley" badge), also contributed to a less utilitarian appearance.

 a12121_mini spawns_03
NCA001000905_004, 05-09-2007, 17:01,  8C, 8000x7970 (0+2186), 100%, NCA_08-08-07,  1/80 s, R56.7, G30.6, B32.5

The cars had larger-diameter chrome hubcaps than the Austin and Morris Minis, and additional chrome accents, bumper overriders and wood-veneer dashboards. The Riley was the more expensive of the two cars. The name "Wolseley Hornet" was first used on a 1930s sports car, while the name "Elf" recalled the Riley Sprite and Imp sports cars, also of the 1930s. The full-width dashboard was a differentiator between the Elf and Hornet. This dashboard was the idea of Christopher Milner the Sales Manager for Riley. Both the Riley Elf’s and Wolseley Hornet’s bodies were built at Fisher & Ludlow under their "Fisholow" brandname. Plates in the engine compartment on the right side fitch plate bear evidence of this speciality. Very early Mark I versions of both cars (e.g. press photo of 445MWL) had no overriders on the bumpers and a single piece front wing (A-panel and wing in one piece, no outside seam below scuttle panel) that was soon given up again, allegedly due to cost. The Elf’s and Hornet’s special bumper overriders first appeared in 1962. Early production Mark I’s also had a combination of leather and cloth seats (Elf R-A2S1-101 to FR2333, Hornet W-A2S1-101 to FW2105) whereas all later models had full leather seats. Mark I models were equipped with single leading shoe brakes on the front.

a12121_mini spawns_05a12121_mini spawns_06

Both the Elf and the Hornet went through three engine versions. Initially, they used the 848 cc (51.7 cu in) 34 bhp (25 kW) engine (engine type 8WR) with a single HS2 carburettor, changing to a single HS2 carburettor 38 bhp (28 kW) version of the Cooper’s 998 cc (60.9 cu in) power unit (engine type 9WR) in the Mark II in 1963. This increased the car’s top speed from 71 to 77 mph (114 to 124 km/h) . Therefore, Mark II cars also came with increased braking power in the form of front drum brakes with twin leading shoes to cope with the increased power output. Both Mark I and Mark II featured four-speed, gearboxes (three synchromesh gears) with rod gear change, a.k.a. "magic wand" type. Automatic gearboxes became available on the Mark II in 1965 as an option. The Mark III facelift of 1966 brought not only wind-up windows and fresh-air facia vents, but disc brakes replaced front drum brakes, too. Concealed door hinges were introduced two years before these were seen on the mainstream Mini. The gear selecting mechanism was updated to the rod type, as seen on all later Mini type cars. Automatic gearboxes were available to the Mark III in 1967 again. Full-four synchromesh gearing was eventually introduced during 1968. 30,912 Riley Elfs and 28,455 Wolseley Hornets were built. Production ceased in late 1969 when British Leyland discontinued the Riley and Wolseley brand names.

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »

If it never needs repairs, why do they have complete spare part service

Image found on Casa de Ricardo

Read Full Post »

The Mikrus MR-300 was a Polish microcar produced between 1957 – 1960 with a body built by WSK Mielec and engines by WSK Rzeszów. Only 1,728 units were built.

Model history

The MR-300 was designed as a cheap car for the masses. The idea to design this construction, one of very few automobile manufactured in Poland, arose a12111_mikrus_04coincidentally. At the end of 1956 the authorities decided to make use of spare production capacity at the aerospace manufacturers WSK Mielec and WSK Rzeszów. At the time, both plants were only producing planes and motorcycles. The new plan was to add automobile manufacture as well. During the initial period WSK Rzeszów prepared plans for the engine, while WSK Mielec focused on the chassis and bodywork. The project was presented at the beginning of 1957, during the National Automotive Meeting. The first prototypes were presented on July 22, 1957 in Warsaw. The new car was named Mikrus MR 300 (taking its name from the initials of the words Mielec and Rzeszów). By the end of the year, the first cars left the assembly plant. In addition, two convertible models were available.


Press reports at the time stated Taking into consideration the price, which should not exceed the price of a similar cubic capacity motorcycle by more than 25 – 30% we may assume that it will constitute a very popular means of transportation for a wide spectrum of users. The Mikrus turned out to be very popular. However, the high cost of manufacture prevented the idea from developing into a mass, individual motorization. At the same time, the high price of the vehicle was meant few could afford it. The Mikrus cost 50 thousand Polish Złoty, the average of 50 salaries. The much larger Warszawa cost 120 thousand Polish Złoty.


Read Full Post »


The R360 was Mazda‘s first real car – a two-door, four-seat coupé. Introduced in 1960, it featured a short 69 inch (1753 mm) wheelbase and weighed just 838 lb. (380 kg). It was powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled 356 cc V-twin engine putting out about 16 hp (12 kW) and 16 lb·ft (22 Nm) of torque. The car was capable of about 52 mph (84 km/h). It had a 4-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. The suspension, front and rear, was rubber “springs” and torsion bars.


Within a few years of introducing the R360, Mazda had captured much of the lightweight (kei car) market in Japan. It was augmented by the Mazda P360 “Carol” 2+2 in 1962, as well as a convertible version in 1964. Production of the R360 lasted for six years.


Text from wikipedia

Read Full Post »

a12088_Messerschmitt model kr2

Read Full Post »

a12053_Mitsuoka Micro Car_01a12053_Mitsuoka Micro Car_02
Mitsuoka Motors
(光岡自動車?) is a small Japanese automobile company. It is noted for building cars with conventional styling, some of which imitate British vehicles of the 1950s and 1960s. It is primarily a coachbuilder, taking production cars, like the Nissan March, and replacing the bodywork with its own custom designs. It has also produced a sports car, the Orochi. Mitsuoka Motors is also the principal distributor of retro-classic TD2000 roadster in Japan. Mitsuoka is the youngest Japanese auto manufacturer, and bases its current cars on Nissans and Infinitis. Also, it built just one ute version of the Viewt, which is in the U.K. It also makes its cars look like different cars (i.e., the Galue is meant to look like an older Rolls-Royce).

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »

Digital StillCamera
The Glas Isar is a small two door four seater car produced by Hans Glas GmbH at their Dingolfing plant. The car was first presented as the Goggomobil T600 in September 1957 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with volume production starting in August 1958.

Initially Glas described it simply as a “big Goggomobil”, but in Autumn 1959 it was rebranded as the Glas Isar. At the same time a kombi (estate car) version joined the range. A minor facelift occurred in August 1960 and the Isar continued in production till the end of Summer 1965.

a1159_goggomobile t700_06


The car that appeared at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show was a prototype which in the event differed significantly from the car that entered production the next year, in that it used front wheel drive. In most other respects, notably regarding the two cylinder boxer engine and the overall shape of the car, only minor stylistic changes differentiated the cars that went into production in 1958 from the 1957 prototypes.

a1159_goggomobile t700_01

The front wheel drive prototype was unstable, however, because of the way the engine was set far ahead of the front axle, and high above the front-wheel drive a1159_goggomobile t700_04power train, in what was a relatively light weight car. Setting the engine further back in relation to the front wheels would have involved a level of re-engineering for which neither time nor money were available. The decision was therefore taken to switch to a rear wheel drive configuration. The late decision led to issues with the gear box, however, which could not be redesigned at this stage and was simply switched round to allow for the fact that the drive shaft pointed in the opposite direction to that previously envisaged. For the driver, this gave rise to a back to front gear change, with first and third speed gear level positions nearer the driver and second and fourth positions facing the front of the car.

a1159_goggomobile t700_02

The late switch to rear wheel drive threatened to reduce luggage space while freeing up space under the bonnet/hood above the low profile boxer engines, and the manufacturer took the opportunity to reposition the spare wheel to a location under the bonnet/hoot in a cradle above the engine.

a1159_goggomobile t700_03

Goggomobil T 700

By the time volume production commenced in August 1958, the T600 had been joined by the more powerful T700. In this car the 688 cc boxer motor developed a maximum power output of 22 kW (30 PS) at 4,900 rpm, which provided for a top speed of 110 km/h (69 mph) and reduced by a third the acceleration time to 100 kmh (62 mph).

Text fro wikipedia

Read Full Post »


A step up from racing with lawnmower at least, but then again, if it has got an engine, you can race it 😉

Read Full Post »

The Bamby first appeared in Hull (UK) in 1983 and was designed and built by Alan Evans. Being a keen Bubble car enthusiast Evans’s created the Bamby after being made redundant from a building firm in 1982. The vehicle was a single seater with a fibreglass body that had a single gull-wing type door.  It was powered by an air cooled, single cylinder  50cc Yamaha engine. Production ceased in 1985


Text from 3wheelers.com

Read Full Post »

Georges Mochet began to produce cycle-cars at his, now-demolished, premises at 68, Rue Roque-de-Fillol at Puteaux in approximately 1946 and by about 1952 had progressed to more modern looking two seater micro-cars and powered two-wheelers. In 1958, with approximately 3,000 vehicles manufactured, production ended.


Georges had inherited the business from his father, Charles Mochet (1880–1934) under whose leadership it had, after the First World War, produced children’s’ pedal cars and, between 1924 and 1934, the ‘Vélocar’ lightweight, pedal-powered, cycle-car. In 1934, the firm’s revolutionary, record-breaking ‘Vélo-Vélocar’ recumbent bicycles were banned from cycling competitions by theInternational Cycling Union. Charles Mochet died soon after.

The continuation of recumbent cycle production and of the cycle-cars, popular in occupied, no-petrol France, and the subsequent switch to micro-cars under Georges after the Second World War was therefore a direct evolution from the pre-war business built up by his father.


Under Georges Mochet the cars were powered by small single cylinder two stroke Ydral engines initially of 100 cc installed at the back and driving the rear wheels. By the time manufacturing ended, the engine size had increased to 175 cc. During this time the body work also evolved, with improved weather protection a welcome aspect of later models.

There is a Mochet three-wheeler cycle car in a museum dating from 1947, described by one commentator as “very rustic”, but regular production dates from approximately 1950 which some sources take as marking the birth of the Mochet autobusiness. 1949 or 1950 saw the arrival of the “Type K” cycle-car with its 100 cc engine. This was replaced in 1952 by the “Type CM Luxe”, the engine size now increased to 125 cc. The “Type CM Grand luxe” for 1953 retained the 125 cc and added a new “ponton” format body, with headlights set into the front wings. The Mochet now looked like a normal car, but smaller, at just 2550 mm long and 1130 mm wide, recalling the pedal cars produced under the patron’s father before the First World War. Despite the modern body-work the 1953 “CM Grand Luxe” retained the same 1700 mm wheelbase and 980 mm front-track of the original “Type K” cycle-car.


In October 1953, at the Paris Motor Show, Mochet exhibited a modern looking small cabriolet bodied car closer in size to a (small) normal car. The car was powered by a twin cylinder 748cc unit providing a claimed 40 hp of output. The unit was based on the engines used by the BMW motor bikes used by the police. However, this Mochet 750 never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

Text from wikipedia 

Sometimes adding an optimistic Grand Luxe just don’t cut it – Ted 😉

Read Full Post »

756_fuji cabin_03

With Japan in a devastated turmoil, many companies scrambled for survival. Hitachi Aviation, associated with Hino and Isuzu were forbidden to build airplanes and attempted to survive by producing non-war related products. Hitachi became Tokyo Gas-Electric Manufacturing Company and merged with Fuji Automobile and by 1952 was producing motorcycles and small two-stroke engines, called Gasuden.

756_fuji cabin_02

The Fuji Cabin was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1955, intended as a fully enclosed motor scooter. Its sleek aerodynamic monocoque body was constructed of polyester, a bold use of this material at the time. Very well engineered by Ryuichi Tomiya, a director of Suminoe Manufacturing which also produced the Flying Feather microcar and bodies for Nissan, the Fuji Cabin featured rubber suspension, staggered seating, a cooling duct down the centre of the car, and beetle-wing motor lids. The tiny, but well engineered Gasuden motor featured a reverse gear.

756_fuji cabin_01

Competition was stiff in the Japanese motorcycle market at this time and the price was somewhat steep. This, combined with poor marketing and inexpert handling of the FRP material, contributed to poor sales. This particular car turned up in a derelict condition in Pennsylvania, whereupon it changed hands several times before its acquisition and restoration for this collection. Another example (with two doors and detail differences) of this extremely rare exotic can be seen in Tokyo.

Text from Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

Read Full Post »

Gabriel Voisin was an eccentric genius. A brilliant engineer, he walked his own road through the twentieth century, being in on the birth of aviation and building magnificent classic cars in the twenties and thirties. His company Aeromechanique was taken over by engine builders Gnome and Rhone during the turbulent 40’s.

He designed a very minimalist vehicle using all of his skill and knowledge of aircraft construction. Its Motor Show debut resulted in over 1,000 orders being taken, but Voisin was in conflict over the project with the G&R directors. Gnome & Rhone built 16 examples in the summer of 1949. In October 1950 it was redesigned to include low body sides, and in 1951 got a larger 197 cc Villiers engine. This unique car has a very special cabrio bodywork with circular doors. It was built as a special four-seater, according to the blueprint for the car on view in the museum.

Voisin sold the license in June 1953 to the manufacturer Autonacional SA in Barcelona, who renamed it Biscuter and went on to build 20,000 examples.

This unique car has a very special cabrio bodywork with circular doors. It was built as a special four-seater, possibly as a prototype in 1957, although technically a C-31, this particular car was never mass produced.

Text from Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

Read Full Post »

890_1951 Hoffmann_01

In the period immediately after the Second World War, many talented people wanted to "have a go" at producing their own vehicle. One such was a certain M. Hoffmann from Munich who, from 1949 to 1951 came up with this extraordinary vehicle.

Its enormous width derives from its most interesting mechanical feature: its rear-wheel steering. A large triangular frame structure supporting the entire motor (ex Goliath Pionier) is pivoted at its forward end on a massive kingpin. A complex system of levers provides the steering, which moves the entire cradle from side to side in a wide arc.

1951 Hoffmann_02

The result is a lethal cocktail of automotive engineering "don’t’s"- extreme front track width combined with an ultra-short wheelbase giving major straight line instability, and rear-wheel steering which can easily bring loss of control at any except very slow speeds, to which any fork-truck driver can attest.

The central position of the steering kingpin in the car means there is little room for the driver and passenger up front, and the original bench seat has been substituted for two smaller separate ones, allowing slightly better access to the cramped cabin over the wide sills.

1951 Hoffmann_03

Perhaps this interesting and eccentric vehicle can be used to illustrate the reason why in this modern day one has a myriad of rules to contend with when building a vehicle.

Images and text from microcarmuseum.com

Read Full Post »


This highly original Cuno Bistram was a very well-constructed one-off from Hamburg. The name is the designer/constructor’s, about whom little is known, apart from the fact that the Bistram family was influential and well-known in Hamburg. He must have been a capable engineer, as the quality of workmanship is very high, both in  the level of design and the superb metalworking skills in evidence.

The car takes the form of a monoposto racing car, but it was, apparently, simply intended as a personal runabout, built simply for the joy of building it rather than to some specific purpose.


The complex sliding pillar suspension and beautifully-shaped custom fuel tank fitting into the compound-curved tail are examples of the fine craftsmanship seen throughout. Bistram followed the principle of weglassen, meaning “leave it off if it’s not necessary.” This extends to the leaving-off of a starter motor. Starting means turning the ignition on, lifting the tail cover to tickle the carb, and giving the kick lever on the outside left rear a dab. The motor lights up easily, and one is soon enjoying the passing scenery accompanied by the pleasant burble of a period two-stroke.

Text from RMauctions

Read Full Post »


Maurice A. Julien was a very well qualified engineer, known particularly for his work on the development studies of the Citroën Traction Avant, which made its debut in 1934. He retired to Toulouse at the beginning of the war, but during the Occupation, materials, especially gasoline, were very severely restricted, and Julien designed and built pedal cars as did Georges Mochet with his Velocars. In comparison, however, Julien’s Neocar was stylish and sleek, with its long hood, sweeping fender lines, and double kidney grille. It was mechanically more sophisticated than the average pedal car, as the front wheels were driven by cardan shafts, it employed a limited slip differential, and it used a derailleur, which permitted one or two people to pedal at different rates. Due consideration was given to the control of vibration. The last months of the Occupation saw second generation motorized versions in circulation. Finally, in 1944, the engineer had ready a much more sophisticated car, a coupe, which was close to the one that would debut at the 1946 Salon.

The two Julien cars that appeared at the Paris Salon of 1946 were set apart from the many other small vehicles on offer by the name of their distinguished creator. The Type VUP, which was recognizable by its open rear wheels and full-width axle, was powered by a flat-twin motor. The similar MM5 had narrow, enclosed rear wheels and was powered by a single-cylinder motor. Both cars were fitted with sliding windows. The VUP would not see production. The following year was taken up with dealings with government bureaucracy to receive permission to develop the MM5 as a production car. Detail improvements were attended to, resulting in better ventilation and braking and a slightly enlarged motor—a result of vigorous road testing.


The car that made its appearance at the Paris Salon of 1947 was a beautifully proportioned cabriolet with sensuous curved body lines and attractively rounded fenders, which flowed together at the front, underneath an exquisitely-shaped pointed hood. One could immediately see the heritage of the Traction Avant in the strong central-welded bulkhead structure-cum-windshield frame curving up from the sills. The front hood was hinged from this structure below the windshield, and the entire rear engine cover hinged upwards from behind the seat, allowing unhindered access to the motor and drivetrain. The sliding windows had now been replaced by windows hinged at the door-top to fold down into the interior of the car and into the doors themselves.


Julien reorganized his company as la Société des Automobiles M.A. Julien, now based in Paris, had re-entered the microcar market with a more modern design. The Julien MM7 shown at the 1949 Paris Show appeared to be a copy of Rovin’s D3. There were the same pontoon-shaped, interchangeable front and rear fenders. It differed from the Rovin in the semicircular side windows, like those of the Champion 400 Coupe, and in the headlamps built into the front fenders, which the D4 would get in 1954. Despite this revamping, nothing much would come of Julien’s brave final attempt.

Text and images from RMauctions

Read Full Post »

808_Mazda K360_01

The Mazda K360 (Japanese: マツダ・K360) is a three-wheeled light truck made by Mazda. It first went on sale in 1959 in Japan. Production ended in 1969. In total, 280,000 vehicles were produced.

The vehicle is 2.975 metres in length, 1.28 metres wide, 1.43 metres tall, weighs 485 kilograms, and has a top speed of 65 km/h.

808_Mazda K360_02

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »


Eshelman was a marque of small American automobiles (1953–1961) and other vehicles and implements including motor scooters, garden tractors, pleasure boats,aircraft, golf carts, snowplows, trailers, mail-delivery vehicles and more. The Cheston L. Eshelman Company was incorporated on January 19, 1942 and was based on the sixth floor of an industrial building at 109 Light Street in Baltimore, Maryland, with aircraft production facilities located in Dundalk, Maryland.

The Eshelman company began production of commercial light aircraft in Dundalk after World War II, but was best known toward mid-century for its inexpensive light garden tractors and similar machines (including the Kulti-Mower) which were widely promoted in small advertisements in the back pages of mechanical and scientific magazines.


By 1955 a second, larger model was added to the Eshelman line, a basic six-horsepower open car for two passengers also named the "Adult Sport Car". These ASCs were 64 inches (1,600 mm) long, 36 inches (910 mm) wide and 32 inches (810 mm) in height and were powered by an air-cooled rope-started Briggs & Stratton #14 engine (electric starting was optional) that permitted a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h) and a 70 mpg-US (3.4 L/100 km; 84 mpg-imp) fuel consumption rate. Major ASC mechanical differences included 4.50×6 pneumatic tires with four-wheel cable-operated scrub brakes, a foot throttle, and a pedal-operated parking brake. Extra-cost options included a lawn sweeper ($39.95) and a hauling cart ($79.95). The Adult Sport Car was 40inches wide and was equipped with headlamps and taillamps powered by a separate battery that needed occasional charging, as there was no generator.


The following year saw a minor restyling on both models including an opening hood, cut-down sides for easier entry and exit, and fully opened rear wheel wells. A utility version of this car was offered for use on golf courses (and advertised as providing "36 holes per gallon"). Also from 1956 the smaller models were powered by Briggs and Stratton aluminum-block engines; the Model 6B engine of 2.25 horsepower in the standard series and the Model 8B engine of 2.75 horsepower in the deluxe cars.

Text from Wikipedia

What is most fascinating is the names the producers gave these mini and micro cars. This one looks like badly designed pedal car for small children and still it’s called a “Deluxe Adult Sport Car” and I’ve seen grass mowers with more powerful motors – Ted

Read Full Post »


Australia is a land of huge open spaces, and Australians tended to look towards America for their automotive needs. Nevertheless, Lightburn and Co. of Camden near Adelaide , makers of tools, cement mixers, washing machines and fiberglass boats, perceived a need for a minicar.

The rights to the British Anzani– built Astra car were obtained, but a new fiberglass station wagon body designed and built for it. Called the Zeta, the car was a hideous assemblage of jutting, ill-conceived shapes and angles, with tailfins on the roof (see link below). There was no tailgate. The familiar Villiers 324cc twin powered the front wheels. Despite participation in the 1964 Ampol 7000-mile cross-country trial, the car remained a curiosity only.


1958 saw the introduction of the ‘Frisky Sprint’ sports car by Frisky Cars Ltd.
Designed by Gordon Bedson the car was powered by a 3 cylinder 492 cc Excelsior motor that took the prototype to 90 mph. The car made its appearance at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show but never entered production.

Next year at the 1959 Earls Court Show Gordon Bedson met Harold Lightburn, the owner of theLightburn Company and the following spring went over to Australia to work on a new sports car.
Bedson took a chassis and some Frisky Sports with him to Australia along with drawings of theSprint and a supply of fifty motors by Fichtel&Sachs, the 493cc engine from the legendary FMR "Tiger". The Lightburn Zeta Sports although based on and similar in appearance to the Frisky Sprint, is not a Sprint.


The original Frisky Sprint did have doors- shallow bottom-hinged ones, but they were deleted in the interests of strength. The windshield was changed, the tail restyled, and the final drive altered. The car did not meet New South Wales’ lighting regulations, so some were fitted with additional free-standing headlamps on the hood. It seems most Zeta Sports were built in 1961, but the car was not introduced until the summer of 1964 for some reason. While Lightburn had a network of Alfa Romeo dealerships at the ready, they were underwhelmed by orders, and only some 28 were sold.

Text from Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

Read Full Post »

Round the same time as the Mark B was launched, work had begun on what was referred to subsequently as a "streamlined version" of the Minicar. Badged as the ‘ESC’ (England’s Smallest Car), this prototype utilised the main body and rear suspension of the Mark B, but added mock front wings, a passenger side door and a valance beneath its oval-shaped grille.

784_Bond Minicar Mk C_01

By the time of the Earl’s Court Cycle and Motor Cycle Show in November 1951, several pre-production Mark Cs were on show. On these the front wings had become longer and less triangular in profile than the ‘ESC’, the grille was also lower and more rounded and the front valance was now a more defined bumper shape. The new Minicar design was very well received, and was due to go on sale in early 1952. By July however, "owing to supply difficulties" it was still unavailable, and the earliest production cars were not recorded as being built until October 1952. Four of the cars were on display at that year’s show along with a Sharp’s Minivan.

784_Bond Minicar Mk C_03

The change in the body style from the Mark B was both functional and aesthetic. The Mark C utilised the same 180° steering lock and worm and sector steering system that was seen in the prototype Commercial and the front wings allowed for ample clearance at full lock. They also addressed a demand from customers for a "greater smoothness of line", and allowed a more robust location for the mounting of the front lights. Other improvements included rod and cable operated brakes on all three wheels, which "appreciably shortens stopping distances."

784_Bond Minicar Mk C_02

During development, the Mark C had utilised the same sliding pillar suspension on the rear as the Mark B, but by September 1952, this had been changed for Flexitor suspension units produced by George Spencer Moulton & Co. Ltd. The Flexitor units were a type of lever arm shock absorber which used bonded rubber in torsion as the shock absorber. On these units a stub axle is mounted upon a trailing-arm with the pivot point being a steel rod. This rod is bonded inside a rubber tube which runs through and is also bonded to an external steel housing. The housing is bolted to the underside of the car. The units provide about 3 in (76 mm) of vertical movement to each independent rear axle.

The engine mounting was substantially different. Instead of being suspended from an alloy cradle as on the Mark A and B, the engine now sat in a steel cradle bolted to a steeply inclined steel tube that pivoted directly behind the engine through an alloy steering head bracket. This bracket, holding the engine and front wheel unit is bolted to a cast alloy bulkhead which forms a major structural component of the car. The engine mounting was said to have been a regular source of failures on both the Mark A and the Mark B, and this new design was again the work of Granville Bradshaw.

784_Bond Minicar Mk C_05

The single side door, which had been introduced to around 6 1/2 % of Mark B production vehicles after November 1951, became a standard fixture on the Mark C. Because the car’s monocoque construction depended principally upon its skin for rigidity, the size of door was severely limited and to overcome the resulting decrease in structural rigidity, vertical steel strengthening brackets were fitted either side and along the bottom edge of the door aperture.

By January 1953, some cars were being fitted with fibreglass rear wings. Bonnets in fibreglass followed soon after, but these were not used on production vehicles until December 1954. The production cost of the fibreglass parts was about the same as those of aluminium, but the parts were said to be both lighter and stronge.

Text from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »


Built in Manresa, near Barcelona, by Automoviles Utilitarios S. A., the pretty little PTV (named after company owners Perramon, Tacho and Vila) was the second-biggest-selling microcar in Spain, next to Biscuter. While the latter was strictly a primitive, utilitarian device, the PTV was- with its proper doors, 2-tone paint, chrome trim and 12-inch wheels- intended for a more upscale, discerning clientele.

After a lengthy 2-year development period, the prototype appeared in 1956, featuring an in-house 250cc motor with aluminum piston and head, which drove the rear wheels. Independent front suspension, large diameter wheels and snug, enclosed bodywork even allowed discussion of driving comfort- a subject not remotely considered by a Biscuter driver.


The car was improved over the years with the addition of bumpers and other extras. A 350cc motor was planned for later cars but was never actually put into production.

Inevitably, the end came from competition with a "real" car- the Fiat 600, license-built in Spain as the SEAT 600. This mass-produced, not-much-more-expensive car, had four cylinders and four seats, and simply steamrollered over the hand built PTV- a scene repeated all over Europe in the late 1950’s.

AUSA is still with us today, producing utility equipment and forklift trucks.

Text from Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: