Journal: Why Can’t New Microcars Be This Happy?

Why Can’t New Microcars Be This Happy?

By Michael Banovsky
January 27, 2016

After the Second World War, drivers around the world—but mainly in Europe—enjoyed astounding freedom in the type of vehicle they drove.

Yes, you could order yourself a brand-new V12 Ferrari, but only if you were in the means. At the bottom end of the spectrum, you had a huge selection of scooters, scooter-powered microcars, and early mass-produced marvels.

I understand that global safety standards, fuel prices, market preferences, and the 1,000 other reasons why automakers no longer play in the low-low end—say, $5,000–10,000 cars.

For today’s Vintage Friday, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the happy, fun-loving designs of early microcars—and perhaps wish that Smart, Mini, Toyota, Suzuki, and all the others who play in this space could offer something comparable to a modern Messerschmitt…

How much happier would our roads look?

Images via: RM Sotheby’

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Mike Barnett
Mike Barnett
6 years ago

The Elio will bring back the fun that these microcars gave us, but in a modern, safe, front wheel drive package that has the wheelbase of a Honda Accord, Tandem seating, 55 horsepower, and a 1200 LB weight, at a targeted base price of $6800. I somehow suspect though, now that Roush has signed on as senior engineering partner, there will be horsepower upgrades available!

7 years ago

The microlino is the new isetta, and i hope it could be available soon:

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick
7 years ago

My ’09 Toyota Yaris 5-speed hatch may not be a micro car, but is a lot of fun on twisty country roads. Sometimes 400 horsepower isn’t needed to have fun.

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo
7 years ago

Something comparable to a modern Messerschmitt…
that would be something like a Citroen C1, wouldn’t it? Or the Volkswagen Up.
Exciting? No. But in their days cars that we now call micorcars weren’t exciting either. They were functional.
But hey, we all have the right to romantisize 🙂 And mea culpa also. 🙂