It’s always fun to take a look at something different – and bubble cars certainly are different. I’ve previously looked at several different German variants, including one that looked quite similar to today’s Heinkel – the Trojan 200:
1963 Trojan 200
The similar looks were for good reason; the Trojan was a licensed copy of today’s car, the original Kabine. There were three Kabine variants made; the Type 153 with a 174cc four-stroke air-cooled single, and two versions of the Type 200, which had a 204cc motor in ’56 and a 198cc motor from ’57-’58. This is the latter of that group, and while it’s perhaps not the most exciting, or fastest, or most practical, or prettiest, or even…well, really it’s not a car, it’s still cool to see:
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I’ve previously talked about the chaos in post-War Germany, and the many attempts to ‘right the ship’ with efficient, economical, and affordable microcars, some of which were also imported to other countries. The car that springs to mind when you say this is, of course, the Isetta though ironically it was the one on the list that didn’t originate in Germany. There was also several DKWs, NSUs, and the Fuldamobil:
1955 Fuldamobil NFW 200
Airplane manufacturers got in on the action, too, with Messerschmitt trying their hand at automobiles:
1963 Messerschmitt KR201 Roadster
Trojan, though, doesn’t sound very German, does it? Well, that’s because it’s not. But like the Isetta, this was a car that was actually produced under license in another country – England in this case. The base car here is actually a Heinkel Kabine that was lightly revised after its initial production run in the late 1950s.
You can say that all examples of a model are the same regardless of color, and I will respect that as you opinion. But let’s be honest, they’re not. Pull up to a stop light in a black M3 and sure, some will take notice. Pull up to a light in a Phoenix Yellow Metallic example, and – love it or hate it – you’ll get attention. Which brings us to today’s car…one of the ultra-rare 850CSis originally imported to the United States.
Though they’re all the same specification, of the 225 imported here, one is a bit special. That’s because it was ordered through BMW’s Individual program in Daytona Violet over Lotus White and Daytona Violet leather. I think I’m in love!
So the E30 M3 is probably out of your league, and clean examples of the E46 generation are getting more expensive by the day. The solution is still the E36. The Internet will make arguments all day long about how this car isn’t as special as the ones that came before and after, but the reality is that it’s still a M3. And you could make a compelling argument that it did (and still does) a better job of bringing sports car performance to a practical package that’s affordable to almost everyone. The S52 3.2 liter inline-6 doesn’t sound as great on paper as the race-derived S14, but it had two more peak horsepower than that strung out four. More telling was torque; 236 lb.ft at 3,800 rpms versus the Sport Evolution’s 177 lb.ft at 4,700 rpms. Yes, it was heavier; the curb weight of the M3 Sedan you see here was about 3,200 lbs. But the additional power made up for it, and the results should be no surprise. 0-60 was dealt with over 1/2 a second quicker than the Sport, a gap that was maintained right through the quarter mile.
And practicality? It’s no contest, really. Not only is the E36 safer, but the E36 added 4-doors to the recipe. Not to mention the costs to keep one running – check out the price of a S14 rebuild today, for example. Owning a legend often doesn’t come cheap, and in this case you the current bid on this 48,000 mile 1998 M3 is cheaper than what a proper rebuild of the race motor will cost you.
Then there’s the driving experience. Downgraded ///motor be damned, these cars are absolutely stellar to drive. I’ve driven each of the first three generations of M3 on track in anger, and the second doesn’t give up much to the bookends. It’s not as toss-able as the original nor as powerful as the third, but overall it’s right there. The steering is near telepathic, the shifting precise, the power band broad. It’s a deceptively good car and deserves far better than the treatment it’s currently getting, which is to mostly be ignored in the marketplace:
And now for something completely different.
Postwar Germany was a veritable wasteland thanks to the National Socialist’s ambition and policies – not to mention non-stop bombing of any industrial (and some non-industrial) areas for several years. So while the German unconditional surrender in early May, 1945 did not hold the same punitive conditions that the Versailles Treaty had, nevertheless Germany would take quite a while to rebound economically. As a result, it was German microcars which first established themselves as the go-to for consumers. And, the Germans were quite good at building many varied designs; you’ll of course be familiar with the BMW Isetta, but I have also looked at the Messerschmitt KRs, DKWs and NSUs. But today’s car was one even I had never heard of. And it was the first.
The Fuldamobil derived its name from the German town where it was conceived – Fulda – smack dab in the middle of Germany. In the late 1940s, a duo of newspaper employees got funding from a Bosch distributor in Fulda, and the early 1950s series production of the Type N began. Reportedly 380 were completed before 1955, by which time it had already been redesigned into the more rounded Type S that you see on these pages. The Type S that emerged was designed with rounded panels to allow subcontractors to produce them more quickly, and the entire design was then licensed to several producers. Series 1, like you see here, was built by the Nordwestdeutscher Fahrzeugbau in Wilhelmshaven. These cars carried the ILO Motorenwerke 197cc single cylinder motor and a claimed 673 were made:
Post World War II, the German manufacturing sector and economy attempted to pick itself up – but it was a pretty rocky road. Still, as early as 1950 Western powers were pronouncing the ‘Wirtschaftswunder‘ in the Western side of Germany – a phoenix-like rebirth of the economy overseen by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Despite this, it would be decades until this wealth and prosperity really filtered down to the average worker. As a result most drivers in Germany were relegated to very small and efficient cars, with the Volkswagen Beetle being the most successful. But it was far from alone.
I’ve previously looked at some other alternative air-cooled designs from Germany; both the NSU Prinz and BMW 700 challenged the Beetle’s hegemony in the marketplace while offering more style:
1963 BMW 700 Coupe
Feature Listing: 1965 NSU Spider
However, while sporty-looking economy-based cars began to emerge from major manufacturers, microcars were still reasonably popular in the early 1960s though choices were dying out. The Isetta continued to be produced until 1962 and was quite popular. But one other World War II-era name also strangely entered the marketplace – from the makers of some of the most famed fighter planes in history came a single cylinder, two-stroke wingless “car” – the Messerschmitt KR175, 200 and 201 Roadster:
In January of this year we tried on a new theme for GCFSB. Our goal was to update the look of the site while improving usability on desktop and mobile devices. That effort wasn’t entirely successful and in less than a year we’ve decided to go back to a more traditional blog layout. Fans of the pre-2017 theme will likely feel right at home with intro summaries and links directly to auctions listings available right from the home page.
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The end of Summer has many traditions; the days wane as children head back to school. Temperatures fall as families head towards apple orchards and plan for haunted hay rides. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. But there’s one tradition I’ve particularly enjoyed for the last few years; the live stream from West Sussex, England of the Goodwood Revival.
For me, a lover of vintage cars and especially vintage race cars, it’s a special treat. Both of the events put on by Lord March are impressive in their own right, and if you want to see a little bit of everything the season opener Festival of Speed is probably the venue you should consider. But if you want to see cars and motorcycles from periods you weren’t even alive for race flat-out, the Revival is the one to tune in to. Heavily modified Jaguars, Ferraris, Aston-Martins, and just about everything in between head to the track as combinations of professional and amateur drivers (at least, those with quite deep pockets) take their prized possessions to the limit and sometimes beyond. You might be lucky enough once in your life to witness an original GT40 in person; head to the Revival, and you’ll run across a dozen or so of the model, many of which are driven nearly as quickly as they were originally. This is coupled with period livery and dress on one of the fastest circuits in England, filmed with some of the best cameras out there. The result, as a car lover, is one of the most evocative spectacles conceivable.
Each time I witness a Goodwood event, my love of these race-prepared vintage cars is re-inspired. And though this particular BMW 2002 is just a few years too new to be eligible for competition at the Goodwood circuit, it caught my attention because of the claimed IMSA link. This chassis, while not an original BMW factory racer, was originally constructed and raced in the IMSA RS series in the early 1970s, making it the perfect candidate for vintage racing today:
As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve made some changes at GCFSB! Most noticeably is a new theme for the site, which has a much more contemporary and visually engaging homepage. It also scales well for different screen sizes, such as tablet viewing. What hasn’t changed is the same great enthusiast writing in each selection made by our talented crew – you guys rock!
We have also elevated our Featured Listings in the layout. This serves to highlight cars for sale by those who are supporting the site with a paid post. For 2017, we offer Feature Listings for $59 per 3 months. We only select very good to excellent examples for this service, and they are often being sold by our most faithful readers. Thank you very much for supporting the site! Do you have a special car that would benefit from getting an enthusiast write up, posted in front of our annual 500k viewers, 25k+ Facebook fans, and over 1,000 savvy email subscribers? Shoot us an email to see if your car qualifies: email@example.com
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