Microcars may be the smallest cars on the road, but their Napoleonic complex often leads to great feats of engineering and design. Here are ten tiny cars that you think cram a lot of awesome into a small package.
This is Answers of the Day — a feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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Photo credit: Jiazi
10. Peel P50
Suggested By: Crossdrilled
Why It's Cool: When car people think of microcars, they think of the Isetta, the Messerschmitt, and now thanks to Top Gear, the Peel P50. The P50 is supposedly able to reach speeds up to 38 mph, but that kind of velocity only seems possible downhill, with a tailwind. However it gets to where its going, the P50 is sure to be one of the smallest things there.
Photo credit: Simon & Vicki, flickr
9. Nash Metropolitan
Suggested By: RandomArt
Why It's Cool: With its fared-in wheels and diminutive dimensions, the Metropolitan had a pretty comical appearance. With its gaping front grille and big, round headlights, the car almost looks like a scared mouse, darting between the much larger American land yachts of the time. It was originally motivated by a 73-cubic-inch inline four, though later cars got a displacement bump to 91-cubic-inches.
Photo credit: ChicagoGeek, flickr
8. BMW Isetta
Suggested By: KeyserSoze
Why It's Cool: The other well-known microcar in today's list is the Isetta "bubble car". Originally produced by Italy's Iso, the Isetta was eventually produced all over Europe, most famously by BMW. There, it got a (more) powerful one-cylinder, four-stroke BMW motorcycle engine good for 13 hp. Interestingly, when BMW's engineers got their hands on the Isetta design, they redesigned every part on the car — the two vehicles have no interchangeable parts.
Photo credit: Ian Murchison, flickr
7. Goggomobil Dart
Suggested By: GTBruiser
Why It's Cool: Built on the chassis of the German Goggomobil, the Dart was bodied by a bunch of brilliant Australians who thought a 761-pound, fiberglass-bodied convertible with no doors would be a good idea. The Dart was available with either a 300- or 400-cc two-stroke engine. Just 700 were produced before production stopped in 1961.
Photo credit: Rex Gray, flickr
6. Crosley Super Sport
Suggested By: smackela
Why It's Cool: Uh-oh. Someone put the Sprite in the dryer again...
In all seriousness, the Crosley Super Sport was introduced in 1949, had a 44-cubic-inch engine good for 26.5 hp, and topped out around 77 mph. When the Super Sport was first put on the market in 1949, it was equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, an unusual feature for the time. Unfortunately, those brakes were meant for light aircraft; at the first sign of salt on the roads, the discs froze up completely. Drums were fitted soon after. The model went out of production in 1952.
Photo credit: aldenjewell, flickr
5. Morgan F-4
Suggested By: thedudeabides
Why It's Cool: The F-4 first appeared in 1933 with three wheels as a way to get low cost, spirited motoring to the British public while still avoiding the English car tax by posing as a motorcycle. It featured a two-plus-two body — presumably so the kids could come along — and a Ford engine good for 36 hp.
Photo credit: alvial111, flickr
4. Messerschmitt KR175
Suggested By: Jackie
Why It's Cool: The KR in KR175 stands for Kabinenroller, which in German means "scooter with cabin," which is about as literal a description of the tiny Messerschmitt as you'll find. The car was powered by a 173-cc one-cylinder two-stroke paired to a four-speed gearbox, as well as the driver's feet, which protruded, Flintstone-style, from the bottom of the car.
Photo credit: One More Thing
3. Lightburn Zeta Sports
Suggested By: Alfisted
Why It's Cool: From the folks who brought you your Lightburn washing machine, we're proud to announce the all-new Lightburn Zeta Sports roadster for 1964! In the early 1960s, Lightburn decided to begin making model cars in addition to household appliances. In 1964, the company launched the Zeta Sports model, which looked like a bug and was powered by a feisty 494-cc two-stroke good for 20 hp. Only 28 were produced and sold, and only six remain today.
Photo credit: Ferenghi
2. Tango EV
Suggested By: Pessimippopotamus
Why It's Cool: The Tango might be the ugliest, most awkward-looking electric microcar on the planet. That being said, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds and tops out at a claimed 135 mph with a full charge. If you don't care about looking like a fool while you smoke Teslas at the drag strip, this may be the electric microcar for you.
Photo credit: Youtube
1. Honda S600
Suggested By: Matt White
Why It's Cool: Looking like a shrunken MGB (especially in coupe form), the S600 was available in both convertible and coupe flavors. It was powered by a modest 492-cc, 57-hp four, one that could hustle the small sports car all the way to 90 mph. The S600 featured independent rear suspension, and power was sent to each wheel via independent chain drive.
Photo credit: Early Datsun