1955 Fuldamobil NFW 200

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:

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