Although the company was best known for their World War II fighter planes, Messerschmitt produced a car for nearly 10 years in the 1950s and 1960s. They called the design a “Kabinenroller” which basically translates to Cabin Scooter. The car had been designed and prototyped by a man named Fritz Fend, who in 1953 contracted with Messerschmitt to mass-produce the car. By the time the model was imported to the United States, it was 1955. U.S. distribution was given over to the Frank Sennes Motor Corporation of Glendale, California. Most Messerschmitt were sold in California. Fend’s design survived mostly unchanged in the KR200, except the 175 cc two-stroke engine had been enlarged to 191 cc. The U.S. production car had the ability to move in reverse, which the German domestic version had lacked.
The KR200 has three wheels, two in front and one in the rear. Steering is via the front wheels while the rear mounted engine drives the rear wheel with its 10 hp. The transmission is a 4-speed sequential motorcycle unit that requires the driver to step up through the gears, and then down again to stop. The throttle is a handgrip on the handlebars, again similar to a motorcycle. Brakes on the KR200 are entirely mechanical drums on all three wheels. According to the manufacturer, the Messerschmitt KR200 could reach speeds of 65 mph, and fuel economy estimates ranged from 60-100 mpg. In 1955, the KR200 set several world records for low-displacement cars, including a 24-hour average speed record (64 mph) among several others. Most of these cars were sold in Germany, but enough remain in the United States that they are often seen at concours events and other car shows that feature European models. They are often seen in museum and private collections as well.
This charming 1956 Messerschmitts is a restored vehicle, coming to us from a local collector, and presents in excellent-driver condition, finished in a lovely red over a red interior.
Driving this micro vehicle is pure joy, the two-cylinder, single carburetor, 10HP engine is eager for its size and revs freely. The sale includes a custom-made trailer and the original hardtop with glasses that need restoration.
The sale of this car represents a rare opportunity to acquire a Messerschmitts featuring a highly desirable specification. Contact Alex Ruozzi (610 398 9700) for more information on this special machine.