CHASSIS NO: 70016
• Fascinating and funky postwar German microcar
• Nice overall presentation and condition
• Equipped with dual mirrors, radio, rear luggage rack
191 cc Fichtel and Sachs air-cooled two-stroke, single-cylinder engine, 9.5 HP, four-speed manual gearbox, shock-absorber suspension, rear-wheel drive with swing axle, drum brakes; wheelbase: 80”
With German aircraft manufacture restricted following WW II, Messerschmitt AG turned to alternative engineering projects to remain in business, including small, economical vehicles to return the country to mobility. Aircraft engineer Fritz Fend had already designed the “Flitzer,” a three-wheeled cyclecar intended for Germany’s amputees, which he developed by summer 1952 into the Fend FK-150 Kabinenroller (cabin scooter) prototype. Given Fend’s aeronautical experience, it featured a slender two-seat cabin layout and clear aircraft-style “bubble” roof. Entry was made over the cut-away left side of the vehicle, with the canopy roof tilted away to the right. Steering was via motorcycle-like handlebars with twist-grip throttle control.
Testing by Fend included a gruelling but successful run up the High Alpine Road on the Grossglockner, Austria’s tallest mountain. Messerschmitt assigned 12 members of his technical department to undertake further refinements and design tooling. By 1953, a larger-displacement 173-cc engine brought a name change to ‘KR175’. KR175 production commenced in February 1953 at Hall Three of Messerschmitt’s Regensburg works and external suppliers provided most components. Sachs supplied engines and at first, several firms supplied the tilting aircraft canopy-style roof domes. Presswerk Bellino in Göppingen near Stuttgart produced supplied most of the body stampings. Fabrication of the flat side panels of the KR175 and paintwork were performed in-house.
Development was swift and relentless, with some 70 improvements made over 1953 alone. By the time that serial number 3500 was built in 1954, the rear cover was deepened, the drive-chain enclosed, mechanical reverse was added, as was full-width rear seating. A convertible variant, two-tone paint, a heater, and interior-trim panels were added. The KR175 was succeeded by the KR200 in 1955 and Messerschmitt prepared one to challenge the 24-hour speed record for three-wheeled vehicles under 250 cc at the Hockenheimring, where it broke 22 international speed records in its class, including the 24-hour speed record at 64 mph.
Finished in red paintwork over black upholstery, this delightful 1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller is a nicely presented and preserved example of these iconic postwar German microcars. In addition to dual mirrors and wire-spoke bright hubcaps, it is equipped with a windshield wiper, an ammeter and speedometer, as well as a rare period style dash-mounted pushbutton radio. Guaranteed to draw admirers wherever it goes, this 1956 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabinenroller marks a great find.