The Heinkel Kabine, for one... Print
Friday, 05 June 2009 16:17

When I was a kid, living in Denville, NJ, I remember seeing a neighbor across the street driving a 3-wheeled car. It was a rather small red car, but it was the fact that it had only 3 wheels, much like a backwards tricycle (the single wheel was at the back end) that struck me. I've never seen one since, and for a long time have wondered whether it was just a kid's imagination that made me think it had only 3 wheels. Maybe I hadn't gotten a good enough look at it, maybe I had only thought it had 3 wheels and it really had 4.

Then, when I was listening to some old Jean Shepherd broadcasts dating from the early 1960's, I heard him mention something called a Goggomobil (pronounced "go go mobile". I wondered what that car looked like--it was a micro-car of the late 50's, early 60's--and did some looking online. (It's worth taking a look for it--there's a lot of old cars that one never sees at old car shows that are quite interesting in themselves, and this one had some popularity at the time.) In so doing, I came across a number of 3-wheeled cars..... Oh my G*d... I had thought it was all in my imagination! I'm not sure the one I remember is shown in this museum, but then again, I don't remember the car all that well. It was the 3 wheels that got my attention as a kid.The BMW Isetta bubble car may have been what I saw.

Here's a website for a micro-car museum so you can browse through all the different types of  micro-cars that have been built over the years. Many of the companies that built themhave gone out of business, but some (like Honda) are still around. Look for their "Virtual Tour" link to browse through the many different cars in their collection. Perusing the site, anyone who has seen the old Jetson's cartoon can see where the idea came from for the vehicles they used... even if the Jetson's vehicle flew rather than drove along a road.