I Am Unequivocally In Love With The FMR Tiger, Help

All images via RM Sotheby’s
All images via RM Sotheby’s

Today is a glorious day because today I learned of the existence of the FMR Tiger, the fastest and coolest car in the Messerschmitt family, and I feel like I am a better human because of it.

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The short version of the story begins after World War II—following the German surrender in 1945—with German airplane manufacturer Messerschmitt, as noted in this excellent blog on Oppo. Messerschmitt was forbidden to build planes immediately after the war, so it teamed up with an aeronautics engineer named Fritz Fend, who was also forbidden to build planes after the war.

Fend saw what a huge toll the war took on Europe. Germany had been bombed to shit and most people could only get around on bicycles or horses. So he began tinkering around, trying to create a cheap car for people to buy and to help them get back on their feet. After creating a profitable single-seater scooter, Fend partnered with Messerschmitt to build the two-seater, three-wheeled Kabinenroller KR175 in 1952.

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Image credit: Favcars.com
Image credit: Favcars.com

In 1954, the updated Kabinenroller—the KR200—was made, with exciting features like reverse.

Between 1956 and 1957, Fend bought the car production line from Messerschmitt and rebadged the cars with “FMR” badges (Fahrzeug und Maschinebau GMBH Regensburg) and subsequently gave himself more freedom to explore a four-wheeled microcar.

Illustration for article titled I Am Unequivocally In Love With The FMR Tiger, Help
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He altered the three-wheeler chassis on the KR200 to include four wheels instead of three, a better front suspension, bigger brakes and a more powerful engine. It was called the Tiger, and it’s absolutely incredible.

You climbed in through the top and it looks like the crumple zone in the front is literally your legs, because the engine is mounted in the back. And because the cars had ties with an airplane company, much of their looks were distinctly plane-ish: a jet-like canopy and tandem seating.

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Illustration for article titled I Am Unequivocally In Love With The FMR Tiger, Help

The Tiger had a 500cc engine that made about 20 Bugatti Veyron-shaming horsepower.

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Sadly, though, it was slightly too expensive for the microcar market and only 320 were sold. Sadder still: by the end of the 1950s, when the Tiger came out, Europe was on the rebound and the need for tiny and cheap microcars diminished. Briefly, they made an appearance here in the U.S., and Elvis himself had a KR200.

Today, Tigers are anything but cheap. (GODDAMMIT.) Prices range from €24,850 (approximately $27,000) to $322,000 at auction. But holy hell are they adorable. Especially in that rosé/light coral color. So retro. So good.

Illustration for article titled I Am Unequivocally In Love With The FMR Tiger, Help
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Illustration for article titled I Am Unequivocally In Love With The FMR Tiger, Help

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

curbwatching
curbwatching

I’m eternally obsessed with the cockpit-style 2 seaters that happen every generation. I wonder if the Messerschmitt was the first to do this?

My favorite of all time has been the Pulse Litestar. They had a factory in my hometown of Carroll, Iowa in the 1980s. Our town was only 9,000 people in the middle of nowhere, and one day an abandoned ladder factory woke up transformed into an assembly line for the car of the future.