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Posts Tagged ‘Microcars’

a12056_Standard Superior_01

History

In the first half of 1932, Wilhelm Gutbrod, the President of the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, came into contact with German engineer Josef Ganz. Ganz had been working on a small car design since the early 1920s and had so far built two prototypes, one for Ardie in 1930 and one for Adler in 1931, called the Maikäfer (May Beetle). After a demonstration with the Maikäfer by Ganz, Gutbrod was most interested to build a small car according to this design. The Standard Fahrzeugfabrik then purchased a license from Ganz to develop and build a small car according to his design. The prototype of this new model, which was to be called Standard Superior, was finished in 1932. It featured a tubular chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear.

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Models

The first production model of the Standard Superior was introduced at the IAMA (Internationale Automobil- und Motorradausstellung) in Berlin in February 1933. It had a transverse 396cc, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine mounted in front of the rear axle. Because of some criticism to the body design, not in the least by Josef Ganz in Motor-Kritik, it was followed in April 1933 by a slightly altered model.

In November 1933 the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik introduced yet another new and improved model for 1934, which was slightly longer with one additional window on each side and had a small seat for children or as luggage space in the back. This car was advertised as the German "Volkswagen" (a term that means, literally, "people’s car" in German.

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The Volkswagen Beetle connection

With the Ardie-Ganz, Adler Maikäfer and Standard Superior cars, as well as his progressive writings and promotion of the concept of a Volkswagen (people’s car) in Motor-Kritik magazine since the 1920s, Josef Ganz is claimed by some to have had input into the Volkswagen Beetle. These cars had some of features of the later Volkswagen Beetle, such as the tubular chassis, rear-mounted engine and independent wheel suspension with swing axles. While the Volkswagen Beetle was produced in its millions after World War Two, the name of Josef Ganz was largely forgotten. In 2004, Dutch journalist Paul Schilperoord started researching the life and work of Josef Ganz, and in 2011 he published The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz: The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler’s Volkswagen.

Text from Wikipedia

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In August 1959, Mr C. J. Wright a Wolverhampton business man with garage and haulage interests, bought the stock, jigs, tools, fixtures and fittings, along with the rights to manufacture and the trade name of Frisky from the Official Receiver. He formed a new company Frisky Cars (1959) Ltd. and he and E F Wright became directors. A Mr G A Stuart was made general Manager. The 753_frisky_02company announced that they hoped to restart production in September at Fallings Park with a target of 30 three-wheeled cars a week, also that a deluxe version would follow and that it was hoped the Friskysprint would be built later. Also announced was the intention to build a new production plant on a 30-acre (120,000 m2) site in Penkridge but this never happened.

In September 1959 a new version of the Family Three was announced. The Frisky Family Three Mk2, dropped the MacPherson strut front suspension of the original car replacing it with the Dubonnet system used on the Friskysport. The chassis was lengthened to allow the engine to be moved back out of the cabin and it was now offered with the choice of either a 250 cc (15 cu in) or 328 cc (20.0 cu in) Excelsior Talisman twin engines giving the advantage of an Albion gearbox with a true reverse gear. Twin front seats replaced the original bench seats and production commenced in early 1960.

753_frisky_04In October 1960, a new model, The Frisky Prince was shown at the Earls Court Motor Show. This was basically a re-bodied Family Three with front hung doors. Around the same time, a deal was done with a company called Middlesbrough Motorcraft and kits to build your own Frisky became available from them. Anthony Brindle, who had become joint managing director of Frisky Cars took part in a publicity run attempting to visit five European capitals, Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Amsterdam and London not spending more than £5 on fuel.

A four-wheel version of the Prince was announced for 1961 but never reached production.

Text from Wikipedia

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In 1945, Hermann Holbein, a former development engineer for BMW, recovered his beloved BMW 327 sports car from the haystack where it had been interned and reluctantly gave it up to an American GI in trade for an Opel-Blitz army truck. He made a lucrative business out of picking up scrap metal and transporting various materials into a devastated country bent on cleaning up. He picked up a scrap BMW 328, rebuilt it, and Holbein made a name for himself as a successful racing driver for the next three years.

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Racing did not pay the bills, however, and he resolved to fill the post-war need for a small car, which he would design and sell the production rights to. A chance meeting with an old acquaintance, engineer Albert Maier of the gear-making firm ZF, brought together their individual interest in building a small car. In fact, Maier had already built a very basic open roadster with the backing of the ZF Company. In January 1949, Holbein came to a licensing agreement with ZF to build the car, raising the money by selling his three racing cars and two trucks. It would be called the Champion, with a nod to Holbein’s racing successes.

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Holbein and Maier saw the need for the development of the little car and worked out the design for a custom transaxle driving the rear wheels and incorporating inboard brakes. Meanwhile, the prototype used an Irus lawnmower gearbox. The new, stylish, aluminum body was found to be too expensive to make, so Holbein modeled a simpler body in clay, and his racing mechanic built it using a bent flat sheet and motorcycle fenders. Aluminum discs hid the tall wire wheels’ humble motorcycle origins. There was a single “Cyclops” headlight, and the 198-cubic centimeter Triumph motor, along with its cylindrical fuel tank, sat nakedly out in the open on the tail. It was called Champion CH-1, and it made its debut at the Reutlingen show in April 1949. Orders flooded in, but the vehicle was not yet ready.

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Development continued, and companies that could supply parts had to be found. The Hörz Company in Ulm made large clocks for clock towers, and they agreed to make the transaxles. The new ZF transaxle was incorporated into the two upgraded CH-2 prototypes, along with a new Triumph 248-cubic centimeter motor used as a stationary engine in farm applications, which was now under a louvered cover. Bosch in Stuttgart supplied the generators, Continental in Hannover supplied the tires, Schleicher in Munich supplied the hubs, and Hella in Lippstadt supplied the lamps. Former aircraft builder Böbel had a press, and they agreed to do the body shells.

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Production of the CH-2 got underway, and the press was enthusiastic about the new, small roadster. The first cars made it clear that the transaxle was not up to the job. The Hörz people refused responsibility, but ZF stepped in to help. In addition, teething problems with breaking in the front and rear suspension elements caused Holbein to take the drastic action of recalling all cars sold to date and refurbishing and upgrading the chassis to the latest specifications. The public’s faith in the new car was not shaken.

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The CH-2 became the CH-250 in March 1950, with a new twin-piston motor, a split windshield, bumpers, and smaller wheels. This model would lead to the charming Champion 400 coupe and eventually to the Maico 500 sedan. Perhaps two of these CH-2 cars exist worldwide. The bare metal bodywork of this exceptionally rare car was completely remade by a master metalworker, and it was restored by the museum’s in-house staff; it runs and drives just as well as it looks.

Text and images from RMauctions

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751_microcar

Micro car made in Argentina under the protective ‘Second Five Years Plan’ carried out during the second term of Juan Domingo Peron.

It was a small affordable car for two adults and two children. Low in maintenance costs and fuel consumption. About 200 cars were made.

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These cars were shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1959 and this brochure may have come from that show. Built in France by Vantung Ngo’s Union Industrielle. The red car was built after the auto show. There was some interest as a result of this showing, but financing for production was not secured, so the planned 5000 cars a year never got past one.

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Text and images found on one of hugo90’s albums on Flickr

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Only a single Tri-Car Surburbanette was built and shown at the Universal Travel & Auto Sports Show at Madison Square Garden, New York City, held February 20-27, 1955. There were discussions of two others: one with a transparent panel above the seating area and a second with a removable fabric. The car had a rear 30 hp engine and drove around 17 km per liter of gasoline. The top speed was said to be 110 kmh. The car was built by Tri Car Corp. of Wheatland, Pennsylvania. This company also tried to market the three-wheelers Trivan, Bassons Stationette and the Roustabout Jeep.

Image and text found on mrscharroo’s Flickr account

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Originally called Bianchi and founded in 1899, the company made vehicles for 56 years – big cars, tanks (during the war) and, from 1939, trucks with Mercedes engines. Bianchi was based in Milan. In January 1955 it merged with Pirelli and Fiat to become Autobianchi SpA and produce Fiat 500-based small cars. The attractively-styled Bianchina Transformabile made its debut in September 1957 in Milan.

In 1958 it was given a stronger engine and became available as a saloon, coupe, convertible and estate. In the same year Bianchi sold its shares to its partners, Fiat and Pirelli. In 1960 just over 30,000 of these little Italian cars were built.

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In the same year, Autobianchi introduced at the Geneva Salon, the prettiest model of this series, the Bianchina Special Convertible, a little luxury car, with lots of chrome trim and attractive interior fittings. The indicators were fitted separately below the headlights (not on the bumper guards). The radiator changed and two sweeping ornamental moldings decorated both sides. The cooling slots on the side behind the doors and the chrome borders below the body edge were eliminated. The windscreen was more angular.

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The convertible continued to be manufactured until 1970 while the saloon and estate were manufactured until 1969. Today the name lives on in the Lancia Y 10, a name that has dominated Autobianchi since 1975. The Y10 is one of the most elegant -though not cheapest- series of small cars.

The Autobianchi Special Cabriolet has the Fiat 500 Sport motor and is rarer and, perhaps, even more attractive than the coupe.

Text and images from “The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

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