Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Fend Flitzer


The Fend Flitzer is a German microcar built just after World War II. After the war, the allies imposed such strict controls on German manufacturing, that ex-Luftwaffe technical officer and aeronautical engineer, Fritz Fend couldn’t practice his trade. This didn’t stop his inventive mind. Fritz developed a vehicle suitable for the thousands of Germans who had lost limbs during the war.
His first vehicle, which he dubbed the “Flitzer” was designed as a mobility aid rather than general transportation. His first working model appeared in September of 1948. It had a tiny 2.5 horsepower two-stroke engine. Later models would be upgraded to 4.5 horsepower. Just over 250 Flitzers were produced and of that, only a handful have survived. Fend’s creation would go on to spawn one of the most popular German microcars of all time, the Messerschmitt (KR175, KR200, KR201 and finally the TG500). But it all started with the small single-seater, three wheel FLITZER.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Micros from Japan


One of the still affordable microcars, the Subaru 360 is the cute little car that almost wasn’t. Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., Subaru’s parent, evolved from the Nakajima Aircraft Company that was dismantled at the end of World War II. While founded in 1953, car building only began in 1958 with the Subaru 360 microcar.
The Subaru 360 was one of the earliest and most successful of the 360cc class of Japanese microcars, in Japan. The 360 used a tiny air-cooled, two cylinder, 356cc, two stoke engine placed transversely in the rear. It produced just 16hp which was increased to a whopping 20hp in 1964. A three-speed transmission was fitted initially, but a four speed became available in 1964. Mechanical brakes were used through the mid-1960’s, then replaced by hydraulic ones, and tires were tiny 4.80x10s. Overall length was 118in with a 70.9in wheelbase. The fully independent suspension system used trailing arms, torsion bars, and coil springs in front and split semi-axles and torsion bars in the rear.
A beautiful car to own and drive, this Subaru micro is a delightful addition to any enthusiast's collection. Also delightful to wear, drink from, or send. All kinds of Subaru 360 apparel, mugs, cards, stickers and much more is now available. If you don’t see something you’d like, just let me know!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

MicroSouth 2006 just 15 days away!


An absolutely fantastic microcar and minicar event is just a couple of weeks away, down in Florida. An bi-annual event, MicroSouth 2006 is a great place to see some rare and delightful cars, show off your own car(s), meet old friends, make new friends and have a great time! And the car events are FREE to attend (no registration fee). This three-day event takes place in/near Maitland , Florida, and consists of car show-and-shines, short and long cruises, and great fun! Check out the Official MicroSouth 2006 website for more information and DON'T MISS IT!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Smallest Street-Legal Car


I thought it was about time I got around to illustrate the smallest microcar. These things make a SMART car look huge!
Peel 3-wheelers were manufactured from 1962 to 1965. The Peel P50, was produced by Peel Engineering Company, manufacturers of fiberglass fairings and boats on the Isle of Man. Peel Engineering was the only car manufacturer based in the Isle of Mann. At only 53 inches (1.34m) long and 39 inches (99cm) wide the Peel P50 is currently the smallest 3-wheeler ever produced. With a top speed of just 38mph and powered by a tiny, 49cc 2-stroke DKW engine it was designed to accommodate one adult only (and maybe a shopping bag).
The Peel 50 had no reverse gear, but at just 132lb (59kg) it was light enough to park manually using the convenient lifting handle provided at the rear of the vehicle. These cars are so rare that they command a high price, if you can even find one, of $15-$30K.



Take a look and see the delightful little P50 as well as its bigger brother, the Peel Trident and have fun shopping.
And, if you can't get enough enjoyment out of some of my Peel P50 gift items and you want the real thing, vist Andy Carter's Microcar Replica site. He reproduces the bodies and running gear so you too can toodle around town in your very own pocket-sized microcar.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

50cc Streamliner Speed Attempt


Here's a friend of mine attempting to break the existing speed record for 50cc motorcycle streamliners at both Bonneville and El Mirage. This year has been the year to work the bugs out. Next year, just wait! Built from scratch and powered by an Aprilia 50cc, normally aspirated motor, the BuddFab Streamliner has reached 95 mph recently at El Mirage.
John Buddenbaum and Eric Noyes are building this 50cc motorcycle streamliner to break the oldest record at Bonneville. 121.7 mph, set in 1956 by NSU with a wankel supercharged 50CC 2 stroke and fuel it made 13 HP. The attempt motor is a 2002 Aprilia RS50. Stock these motors make about 6 HP. Fully modified with Nitrous Oxide it should make around 20 HP.
Check back here and at their site to see how things progress.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

1967 Fiat 850 Spider


So I finally got time to do another illustration. This one is long overdue as I’ve lusted after this car ever since I saw it for the first time in 8th grade (when it came out). Like many automobile related things, 1967 was a GOOD year. A REALLY GOOD year. This was the last year of the covered headlight cars. New safety regulations in the US did away with them in 1968. But the Bertone-designed 1967 Fiat 850 Spider had them, and it was beautiful. I've never owned a Spider but have owned many Fiats. Maybe one day...
Come on by and check out these and many other mini and microcar gifts and merchandise. We even have some motorcycle gear, as well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Featured: JWG Design


John does some truly awesome work. He has a retro style that I really like. In addition to his really cool illustrations, his background includes broadcast, film as well as multimedia. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Messerschmitt KR200 Poster


This is a poster that I fell in love with when I first saw it several years ago. I always wanted to see it in my style of illustration and so I did it. I've also got merchandise with this image on it. Check it out.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Volugrafo Bimbo


It's one of those names that makes you think "how could anyone name a car THAT?" Well, the car was manufactured by Claudio Belmondo in Italy in 1945. He had previously built a lightweight scooter for the army called the Volugrafo. So, when he came out with his little car, his "baby", he called it that, in Italian..."Bimbo".
It was a VERY small microcar, seated two, and was powered on only one of the rear wheels by a 125cc motorcycle engine. Thanks to an aluminum body, it weighed in at just 275lbs!
So this illustration is my tribute to a car hardly anyone has ever heard of, much less seen.
The Volugrafo Bimbo.

Boogerballs Tg500 Messerschmitt microcar


I just finished an illustration of the Messerschmitt microcar flagship model, the Tg500 Tiger. The Tg500 is the four-wheel variant of the Messerschmitt produced by FMR (Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau Regensburg). This is the company that was founded by Fritz Fend after the Messerschmitt company was allowed to manufacture airplanes again after WWII. Fritz had originally designed several cyclecar designs before his first commercial venture, the Fend Flitzer. I hope to do a couple of illustrations of the Flitzer soon.