Football, as if often said, is a game of inches.
Parking in the city is a similar game – as well as one of fuel economy.
And that was never truer than in post-war when rationing on fuel and steel made it impractical, as well as nearly impossible in some cases, to own an American car with a gas-guzzling V8.
Therefore, enter the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (KR) 200.
First produced in 1952 in as a stripped-down 175 model, the KR (Cabin Scooter) 200 was unveiled by Messerschmitt – an aircraft builder which was blocked from building airplanes after World War II – in 1955.
Designed by German aircraft engineer Fritz Fend and built at Messerschmitt’s factory, the KR 200 was outfitted with a two-stroke, single-cylinder engine from Fichtel & Sachs capable of hitting up to 50 miles per hour.
In order for the car to have maximum maneuverability as well as fuel-efficiency, its engine-transmission combo allowed the vehicle to reach four speeds in both forward and reverse.
In addition to the improved engine, the three-wheeled KR 200 was also updated with an improved aircraft-style bubble canopy and revised suspension.
Besides the canopy, Fend also outfitted the KR 200 with a number of other aircraft-style features including a control system that relied on a “steering bar” sliding side-to-side on a horizontal axis to turn the car’s wheels.
Being offered by RM Sotheby’s at the 2019 Amelia Island auction on March 8 and 9, this particular ’59 Messerschmitt KR 200 underwent a complete engine and transmission rebuild which was overseen by, as well as used parts from the Messerschmitt Owner’s Club in England.
Once the guts were in good working order, the car underwent a nut-and-bolt restoration in Nova Scotia that took more than 500 hours and left no detail unaccounted for.
Now decked out with an original windshield visor, jack, and luggage rack, chassis No. 72056’s interior was redone by Nick Poll, a Messerschmitt marque specialist with more than two decades of experience.
Finished in high-quality turquoise BASF urethane paint with very few visible signs of wear throughout, this ’59 Messerschmitt KR 200 could fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 based on previous sales.
“Complete with an electronic ignition for added reliability, and driven sparingly since its restoration, this like-new KR 200 will make a delightful addition to any enthusiast’s collection,” according to Sotheby’s.
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