This Can’t Be Happening in a Messerschmitt

Science shows that no person, ever, seated in the back of this microcar has managed to smile.

National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

This is very clearly an illustration. Why? No three people have ever smiled while entombed in the minuscule interior of a 1955 Messerschmitt KR 200. Were someone to place you in a small box with two other humans, would you?

The very company that manufactured the German warplanes that terrorized Europe moved, in 1955, into bubble-car manufacturing. The choice was not the company’s, mind; part of Germany’s treaty concessions meant Messerschmitt was disallowed from manufacturing airplanes for a number of years.

The KR 200 was a cheery box, with 10 horsepower yet a 56 mph top speed. Like a little aircraft, the car had a steering bar, not a wheel. The sequential transmission provided four forward gears and, should excessive butt-first maneuvering become necessary, four reverse.

That’s the ‘Schmitt. Cute. Tiny. Fast, for a wheeled bathtub wearing a cellophane hat. But remember: One passenger’s a joy, two’s a tight fit and three’s a miserable crowd that might wish it hadn’t lived through the war.