With the microcar craze being what it is, any sane person who can’t decide between a scooter and a car (wait, what?) would be at a loss as to what to do. Fortunately, you are sane enough to have found this posting, where we have uncovered for you the affordable microcar. Plexiglass canopy? Motorcycle-derived engine? Three-figure top speed? Designed by pre-war auto industry luminaries? Who needs all that nonsense! With some diligence, you can find something like this King Midget Model III this King Midget Model III, for sale for $1950 in Campbell, CA.
All the style of a Jeep in 2/3 scale, with the tail fins of an Amphicar – what more could you want? While incorrect, those tiny wheels with balloonish tires probably make it more capable on unpaved terrain, perhaps even on the beach. While you wouldn’t expect it, the founders of Midget Motors managed to keep things profitable by carefully matching production to sales, and keeping marketing costs low, until they sold the company in 1966.
The video is quite helpful, although it certainly gives you a clear idea of the sacrifices you’ll be making. Notice how the fence posts and other objects in the lens pass by slowly, and the constant putt-putt of the motor shows you exactly how close it feels to driving a riding mower on the street. Much as with abandoned luxury cars, the car begs the question, who originally purchased these things? Even in the 1950s and 1960s, pulling up next to your average car would have been somewhat intimidating.
Wait, is that the whole interior? Apparently, two people are supposed to fit in here, so it’s lucky the car runs an automatic transmission so you don’t have things like a clutch pedal and shifter getting in the way (and by the way, are the two speeds shown with snail and rabbit icons?). Nonetheless, it looks like it could be fun in the same way a Fiat Jolly would be, best used for the same things you’d do with a scooter – quick runs to shops just beyond walking distance, but not much more. It does show that this simple little car benefited from a monocoque structure.
The engine is a Wisconsin 9hp single, and is said to be running and driving, as you’ll have seen on the video. With the addition of new top fabric and some new tires from the garden supply store, you should have a fun little runabout.