Experience one of the most highly regarded car shows online, while it's still in progress. . . possibly the first time car enthusiasts have had such an opportunity. These photos of the Microcar Class were taken early this morning at the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance in South Carolina. Of the more than 200 cars vehicles carefully staged on the grounds of the Port Royal Golf Club, these nine invited cars — with engines of 1000cc or less — represent some of the finest examples of cars originally marketed as inexpensive modes of transportation.
Microcars, once never considered concours-worthy, are now a full-blown class at events across the country. Not surprisingly, the popularity has resulted in macro sales prices. In February, an auction of cars from the notable Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum resulted in no less than a dozen cars selling for more than $100,000. The majority of cars sold in the $20-50,000 range.
Express your thoughts about this Jalopnik experience, akin to off-track betting. There's no wagering or horses, but there will be a winner. Which car will the judges select as Best in Class?
Descriptions below were taken from signage produced by the Concours organizers in cooperation with car owners.
1) 1950 Crosley CD Wagon
- Featuring period correct accessories: fender skirts, sun visor, radio, heater.
- Base price: $888. Weight: 1,115 lbs. Engine displacement: 44 cubic inches.
2) 1958 Burgfalke FB 250
- Believed to be one of only about 60 produced.
- Engine: Victoria 248cc two-stroke, single cylinder, fan cooled, 14hp
3) 1955 Messerschnitt KR 200 Kabinenroller
- Engine: rear mounted, two-stroke, 191cc, 9.2hp.
- Four-speed transmission, top speed is 55. No reverse gear so driver must stop the engine, then restart it in the opposite direction.
4) 1957 BMW Isetta 300
- Engine: 300cc, 13hp. Patterned after R27 motorcycle engine.
- Top speed is about 55mph, but normal "cursing" speed should be limited to 45mph.
- Car was purchased new in 1957, by the current owner's father and restored in 1980.
5) 1972 Honda Z 600 Coupe
- One of Honda's first models, they were originally sold in motorcycle shops.
- Engine: 600cc air-cooled, two-cylinder motorcycle engine, integral 4-speed transmission.
- Dimensions: 10ft long by 4ft wide, 10" wheels, weighing 1200 lbs.
6) 1959 BMW 600
- The 600 is partially based on the BMW Isetta two-seater, but there are very few interchangeable parts.
- Production was 34,813 from 1957 to 1959, with about 3,500 shipped to the United States.
- BMW first used the semi-trailing arm suspension on this car, a feature that would be used on almost every new model for the next four decades.
7) 1958 Vespa 400
- Made in France. Of 30,000 cars produced between 1957 and 1961, only 1650 were imported into the United States.
- Top speed: 52mph, with 0-40 time of 23 seconds.
- Features suicide doors and fabric sunroof.
8) 1958 Goggomomil T-400
- This model was produced in Bavaria for the US market, featuring a larger 392cc 18.5hp engine. It also boasts a four-speed manual electromagnetic pre-selector transmission, whatever that is.
- Top speed: 53mph. Weight: under 1000 lbs.
- Low mileage car with about 8,000 miles.
9) 1959 BMW Isetta 300
- Rare model, built under license in England.
- Purchased from the Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection in 2013.
- Features include luggage rack, wicker picnic hamper, and fabric sunroof.