The Sky's the limit with this Messerschmitt Microcar

This rare Messerschmitt KR 200 Roadster is one of the last of its kind built. The company behind it once made fighter planes during World War Two

Great Britain is well known for producing some famed three-wheeled cars such as the Morgan 3-Wheeler and Reliant Robin, but post World War Two Germany’s Messerschmitt company also turned from fighter planes to three-wheeled cars. This 1964 Messerschmitt KR 200 Roadster heading to RM Sotheby’s Petersen Automotive Museum auction is a rare example of the marques microcar creations.

More three-wheel curiosities

Germany was suffering financially after the war with money and resources scarce. Cheap transportation was needed and so the microcar concept, something seen across Europe, was adopted by Willy Messerschmitt and his company for the KR 200. 

This little city car captured the imagination of its buyers with its cartoonish features. First appearing in 1955, it was an instant hit with over 12,000 built in the first year of production. It was powered by a tiny 191cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine that might not have been very powerful — less than 10hp — but it was efficient.

To boost publicity and prove the reliability of the little car, Messerschmitt entered a KR 200 into a record attempt where it drove around the famous Hockenheimring track for 24 hours. It actually managed to break 22 international record for its class at the time and averaged a top speed of 64mph over the 24 hour period.

There were three variants of the KR 200; a plexiglass bubble coupe, a convertible, and this rare Roadster. Designed as a limited-run model this example, complete with faux-snakeskin trim and distinctive canopy door, didn’t prove popular when new. However, today this microcar is extremely collectable.

This very KR 200 (80287) was actually the second-to-last ever made making it even more significant than its already rare siblings. It is said to be highly original and the benefactor of a complete restoration that included an upgrade to KR201 specification. Well-known Messerschmitt fan Dr. Hans Dopjans once owned this very car with his details displayed on the car’s paperwork.

If you’re looking for something quirky and collectable, this three-wheeled throwback might be for you.

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