Illustration for article titled All Hail The Frankenschmitt!

It's one thing to customize your mass-produced ride for which there are thousands of parts available. It's quite another to breathe life into someone else's insanity, like mating two rare post-war German microcars. Here's the story of the Frankenschmitt.

The Dr. Frankenstein in this instance is one Dan Gibson of Texas, who bought the car off eBay over a year ago when it was a rusting hulk of a failed project. The original idea: Take a three-wheel 1956 Messerschmitt KR200 and convert it to front-wheel-drive. The donor heart for the original mad scientist? Why a 1960 DKW 3=6 of course, the Auto Union's answer to the VW Beetle, powered by a two-stroke, three-cylinder engine.

Over the past year, Gibson has slowly chipped away at every hurdle that kept the Frankenschmitt off the road, from rust all over the body that's been stretched four feet for its new engine, to a lack of easy parts for his Germanic creation. At one point, frustrated by clutch demons, Gibson gave up and put Frankenschmitt up for sale on Craigslist, but then changed his mind.


By October, the zombie was roaring through the suburbs, a tiny car carrying an impressive amount of hard work. It also fits right in with the rest of his garage, which includes a well-restored Autocar. You can walk through the progress at Gibson's page here.

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