The microcar boom arrived after World War II, and gave us hundreds of beautiful little motors. These tiny cars provided the ultimate in personal transportation — but they also have oodles of personality. Check out the most adorable microcars of the 20th century.
Davis D-2 Divan, a two-door, three-wheeler sedan with a 47 hp four-cylinder engine. (it was later changed to a 63 hp four) 13 of them were built in 1948.
Champion CH-2, one of the two surviving examples of the 11 produced models in the Hermann Holbein Fahrzeugbau in Ulm, Germany, 1949
The CH-2 was designed by Hermann Holbein, a former development engineer of BMW before WWII and an Albert Maier, an engineer of the gear-maker ZF Company in 1949.
A Rolux Baby, one of the 400 built by Societé Rolux in Clermont-Ferrand, France between 1949 and 1954.
An early cycle-car style vehicle of Reyonnah, a French automotive company produced 16 microcars between 1951 and 1954. The company was founded by Robert Hannoyer.
It could tuck its wheels underneath for storage.
Biscúter, one of the most popular cars in Spain during the 1950s. It was designed by Gabriel Voisin.
The name Biscúter (Biscooter) implied that it was about the size of two scooters. Several different bodystyles were produced.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
Allard Clipper, an English 3-wheeler with a 347 cc engine, produced by Sydney Allard's Allard Motor Company, 1952
Only 2 are known to survive of the twenty produced cars.
This 9ft 3 in long car with it s 175cc, 9hp engine is a perfect late-first-generation example of its kind.
Velorex 16/175 and 16/350, two-seat cars designed for the disabled, produced from the early 1950s to 1971.
These cars were built on a frame of welded steel tubing, covered with vinyl and artificial leather.
The 7 ft 9 in (236 cm) long IHLE Shottenring, built by Frank and Thomas Ihle in Bruchsal, Germany, 1954
The car has a 247cc, 7.5 hp British Villiers MK IX engine from a BSA motorcycle produced in the late 1920s.
The Alba Regia (left), designed by József Horváth and the Balaton (right), by József Zappel, Székesfehérvár, Hungary, 1955
More information on Jalopnik:
Both cars had aluminum bodies, airplane tail wheels, and 250-cc Pannonia motorbike engines. Géza Bengyel, who worked as a consultant there, was previously employed in the Csepel motorbike factory, where he had designed a unique sheet-framed bike with a torsion suspension. This layout was transferred to the Alba Regia. On the other hand, the Balaton's suspension arms were held by rubber tags. The doors of the two-plus-two Regia opened conventionally. The roof of the Balaton could be pushed backwards with a handle to get access to the cabin, just like in an airplane.
The engines were put in the rears of the cars. The idea of the gearbox was taken from the Isetta, the reverse gear from the Messerschmitt. For this, they added another flywheel to the engine. When the driver wanted to reverse, he stopped the engine, pushed a button, and the engine started turning backwards.
The car had a 8.5 hp air-cooled Briggs & Stratton engine, a single-speed belt drive and a centrifugal clutch.
The 10 ft 2 in (3.1 m) Fuldamobil S-6, built by Elektromaschinenbau Fulda GmbH in Fulda, Germany, 1956
A Biscuter 200-F Pegasin, designed by Gabriel Voisin, had a 197cc, 9 hp Hispano-Villiers engine, produced in 1957
Zündapp Janus, a fascinating microcar which had doors in the front and rear, too. It made by Zündapp in Germany between June 1957 and 1958.
6,902 were made. The Janus had a mid-mounted 245cc (10 hp) engine that enabled a top speed of 50 mph (80 kmh).
Brütsch Mopetta, a fiberglass-bodied and egg-shaped car with an average fuel consumption of 92 mpg, produced by Egon Brütsch
14 were built between 1956 and 1958.
6,301 were built of this four-seater with a 2-stroke, 452 cc, 18 hp engine.
Frisky Family Three, a 9.5 hp, 197cc English microcar designed by Giovanni Michelotti from Vignale, manufactured by Frisky Cars Ltd., Wolverhampton, England, 1959
Goggomobil Dart, a roadster produced by the Buckel Motors Pty Ltd. in Sydney, Australia between 1959 and 1961.
It was based on the German Goggomobil, but the Australians designed a fiberglass sports car body without doors and gave it a 300 cc or a 400 cc engine. Around 700 were sold.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
A teardrop-like car designed by Paul Vallée, the founder of the legendary Écurie France racing team. About 200 of these streamlined miniature cars were produced with 125 and 175 cc engines.
Fesztivál (means Festival), a one-off microcar, powered by a 300cc BMW Isetta engine and gullwing doors. It was designed by Kálmán Szabadi in 1960.
Glass-reinforced plastic was not available, so Szabadi, together with his technical guru Dezső Olly, came up with a novel idea: a resin made out of pig's blood, chicken feathers and nitro shellac! It had quite a smell, but it worked.
This 295 cc, 13 hp SUV could carry up to 165 pounds, (75 kg) so it may be the only Isetta suitable for a day trip.
Peel P-50, a three-wheeled microcar, measures just 54 inches by 41 inches (137 cm by 104.1 cm) and weighed 130 lb (59 kg), manufactured between 1962 and 1965 by Peel Engineering Co., Peel, Isle of Man.
The Smallest Car Production Ever Built has a 49cc engine and uses only a gallon (3.78 l) of fuel on a 100-mile (160.9 km) trip.
The last six examples built in 1966 had a 98cc engine and an automatic belt transmission.
Bonus: Mitsuoka Bubu 501, also known as the Honda Zoe, the Ultimate Car To Run Away From Angry Roller-Skating Ninjas
The photos are from RM Auctions, except when noted otherwise.