Messerschmitt - Kabinenroller
After World War II, the company was not allowed to produce aircraft so the company came up with the three wheeled motorcycle/bubble car or Kabinenroller (cabinscooter) KR175 / KR200. According to an urban legend, it was made with old aeroplane parts. This is not true but as it was designed by an aircraft engineer, Fritz Fend, it is probably no coincidence it looks somewhat like an aeroplane.


The cars were actually made by Fend's own company in the Messerschmitt works at Regensburg and Willy Messerschmitt had very little to do with the vehicles other than ruling that they carried his name. Fend's aircraft influence certainly showed itself in his desire to achieve a light yet stiff frame with low wind resistance from the tandem seating with aerodynamic steel body. This resulted in a surprisingly high performance from 175 and later 200cc single cylinder two-stroke engines. Some would say that his ultimate achievement with the Kabinenroller was the four-wheeled TG500 or 'Tiger' with a twin cylinder 490cc engine capable of higher speeds and sports car handling. However, there is little doubt that the best developed and most successful was the three-wheeled KR200. Production of the KR200 ceased in 1964.

Messerschmitt -click for a larger picture
Messerschmitt  1960
Messerschmitt Kabinenroller KR-200
click here to go to Classic Depot
Number of persons:2 Luggage: 1 small Minimum driver age:25 Gearbox:manual
The rear-mounted engine of the 3-wheeler was a 191 cc Sachs single-cylinder twostroke, air cooled. A novel feature was the Siba Dynastart having both forward and reverse contact-breakers giving the car four forward and four reverse gears via the enclosed oilbath secondary chain. With handlebar-steering the control in a fast reverse gear, say at about 35 mph, was quite manageable.


The general handling was good but the brakes were a weak point; a non-factory conversion to front 8-inch hydraulic brakes was marketted in Britain. For use on the UK roads the side-hinged Perspex canopy still lifted & tilted to the right. The rear seat was actually a small bench-type able to hold an adult and a child. Not many were sold in Britain due to the high price. Less known is the fact that the Messerschmitt factory also produced prefabricated houses, which were designed as "self-building-kits" mainly based on an alloy frame work.


A well known appearance of this car is in Terry Gilliam's Brazil, to great effect, Cousin Itt drives a white one in The Addams Family, and a red KR200 was owned by the singer Elvis Presley.  


Source: Wikipedia.
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