guest post by Violet Blue
Oh, you little cars, how you vex us. Teeny, bite-sized vehicles — cute and efficient, fun to drive, mod-retro-glamorous, and almost as adorable as Hamster on a Piano. We can’t
eat look at just one. Fortunately for us, there’s the Microcar Museum, complete with virtual tour and videos. Every day is a big day for little autos online thanks to The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia, where they house the world’s largest collection of microcars defined as, “late 1940’s- pre-1964 range with Engine sizes of 700cc or less (many are 250cc and 50cc) and 2 doors or less.”
World War II came to an end in 1945 and Europe lay in ruins. A shell-shocked population came out of the bomb shelters and faced an unimaginable scene of devastation and ruin.
As if the seemingly endless task of clearing away the rubble wasn’t enough, there were crippling shortages of food, raw materials, electricity and gas. Value and worth were measured in Chesterfield cigarettes.
The population collectively rolled up its sleeves and went to work. The astonishing rebuilding of an entire continent over a period of ten years was accomplished through a unity of spirit and purpose unimaginable today. Bright, talented engineers, many out of the former aircraft industry, put their minds to the problems of mobilizing the population under adverse conditions. It’s said that the true master reveals himself within limitations and so this focusing of energy and talent resulted in an enormous variety of small vehicles; some successful, others less so – but all of them interesting!
The microcar or “bubble car” came to symbolize this period of renewed energy and pulling together.
The bubble car boom lasted only a decade, but the period left a lasting impression even on those who abandoned their Kabinenroller for a “real” car. The cars continue to be found in barns and collections throughout the world but are particularly meaningful to the Europeans, whose lifestyle was, in part, made possible by these tiny cars.
The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum “hopes to bring this brief, colorful flowering of talent and ingenuity to the attention of a new generation of automobile enthusiasts” And to bring back that totally awesome shade of turquoise. Check the info page for in-person admission ($5!) and visiting hours.
images via Microcar Museum
Thanks for the tip, Don C!