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The weird and wonderful world of the microcar

Autocar Logo By Autocar of Autocar | Slide 1 of 38: Everyone wanted mobility but many couldn’t afford a ‘proper’ car, while used cars were in short supply. The answer was a glut of tiny vehicles, usually powered by two-cylinder engines and clothed in glassfibre – the new wonder material of the age. Glassfibre made small-scale production viable, although some microcars featured steel bodyshells.Throughout the fifties many of these companies flourished, but when the Mini appeared in 1959 it killed off many microcar makers at a stroke, although some continued into the 1960s. Some microcars were ingenious while many were shockingly bad – we’ll leave you to work out which is which over the next 36 slides.

In the 1950s a huge industry sprang up across Europe, building microcars.

Everyone wanted mobility but many couldn’t afford a ‘proper’ car, while used cars were in short supply. The answer was a glut of tiny vehicles, usually powered by two-cylinder engines and clothed in glass fibre – the new wonder material of the age. Glass-fibre made small-scale production viable, although some microcars featured steel bodyshells.

Throughout the fifties many of these companies flourished, but when the Mini appeared in 1959 it killed off many microcar makers at a stroke, although some continued into the 1960s. Some microcars were ingenious while many were shockingly bad – we’ll leave you to work out which is which over the next 36 slides.

© BMW

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