Darling Motorcycle Works

1958 Messerschmitt Kabinenroller KR200

If you know the name Messerschmitt, the image that may jump to mind is of a screaming World War II aircraft engaged in a vicious dogfight high over battle-torn Europe. While it is true the German company produced countless numbers of these agile Luftwaffe machines, after the war, it also produced the tiny road-going KR200 Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter) micro car.

The Kabinenroller was designed and developed by Fritz Fend for Messerschmitt AG. Fend had earlier designed and built a series of unpowered and powered invalid carriages, leading up to his Fend Flitzer. Fend noticed that able-bodied people were buying Flitzers for use as personal transport. This led him to believe that a mass-produced two-seat version of the Flitzer would have a ready market. A search for a manufacturer interested in the project led him to Messerschmitt, who had him develop the project for production in their Regensburg factory. Fend's aviation influence on the KR200 can most clearly be seen in its layout and styling. The narrow fuselage cockpit accommodates two passengers, sitting one behind the other. The flying theme carries over to the steering wheel, which has an airplane 'yoke' look and feel to it.

Powering the three-wheeler is a rear-mounted, 191-cubic-centimeter, two-stroke single cylinder engine, which is able to muster a humble 9.2 horsepower. Those petite ponies get put to the pavement via an enclosed chain drive to a single rear wheel. Four forward gears are selected with a manual transmission, although going the other way requires an additional step. There's no reverse gear, so backing up requires the engine to be stopped and restarted in the opposite direction.

In 1955, in order to prove the KR200's durability, Messerschmitt prepared a KR200 to break the 24-hour speed record for three-wheeled vehicles under 250 cc. The record car had a special single-seat low-drag body and a highly modified engine, but the suspension, steering, and braking components were stock. Throttle, brake, and clutch cables were duplicated. The record car was run on 29-30 August 1955 at the Hockenheimring for 24 hours and broke 22 international speed records in its class, including the 24-hour speed record, which it set at 103 km/h.

Production of the KR200 was heavily reduced in 1962 and ceased in 1964 as sales had been dropping for a few years. The demand for basic economical transport in Germany had diminished as the German economy boomed.

R 395 000.00

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