Adult Pedal Car: 1953 Mochet CM-125Y

1953-mochet-125y

We aren’t sure why, but there is something appealing about vintage microcars. Perhaps it’s the fact that they are quirky or maybe it’s that they are so easy to work on. When we came across this Charles Mochet 125Y, we knew it deserved a closer look. We had only ever heard of Mochet, but never actually seen one. There aren’t many left, especially here in the States. Take a closer look  here on eBay with a BIN of $6,500 or the option to make an offer.

1953-Mochet-CM-125-Grand-Luxe

Since the Bruce Weiner Museum auction, it seems that everyone thinks their little cars are worth big money. The CM-125 Grand Luxe shown above sold for $20k at the aforementioned sale. It was a different model than the one for sale here, but we bet you can see the similarities. The founders of Mochet were very much into minimalism, if you couldn’t tell. Their designs were functional and, dare we say it, sort of handsome.

Mochet-grill

Here is another shot of that mug. Well, maybe it is not as handsome as the Grand Luxe…

Mochet-engine

Power was provided by this tiny one-cylinder two-stroke. All three and a half horsepower was feed through a three-speed chain-drive system. It looks more motorcycle than automobile to us, but we bet it’s fuel efficient and easy to work on.

1953-mochet-125y-interior

As you can see, this one has some rust issues, but given how small it is, it shouldn’t be too difficult to fix. Finding parts for it on the other hand could be a serious challenge. Thankfully, the seller has some spares for it and the engine is claimed to still in place. This is one microcar that deserves being saved. We bet it would draw a lot of attention and would be fun to run errands in, although it would be rather scary to drive something this small in modern traffic. Fears aside, would you consider saving this adult pedal car or should it go back into the barn?

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Comments

  1. Dutch 1960

    Looks like the little car from the “Incredibles” Pixar movie.

  2. Brian

    All the engine parts are available at Auto Zone too, right? I don’t see it in the drop down list of car makes on the website?

  3. junkman Member

    Looks like a craftsman18 hp with a hydrostatic drive would have you scootin around in no time.Cool but ,no thanks

  4. Brian

    Difinately has a bumper car quality to it. Could probably mount a blade under it and use it as a riding mower!

    Like 1
  5. Brian

    I just saw the price! YIKES!!

  6. DON

    save everything.!!!!

  7. Horse Radish

    And I THOUGHT you were KIDDING or being cynical…..
    @6500 and never spend much more on gas, get your own rolling fitness studio.
    PRICELESS !!

    • Brian

      I’ll just put that money towards a Volt…

  8. jim s

    interesting for sure, but the only microcar i know anything about is the king midget. still a great find

  9. jean Lecointe

    Mochet started building what they called “Cyclecar” which was driven by two sets of pedals.
    The frame was built with central heating tubes and the body was plywood. It was not a success, the car, even very small, was too heavy to be driven par pedaling. The next step was to add a small motorcycle engine which was started by the pedals, it did help to climb hills
    It was not successful, at that time, the french wanted a simple and cheap car that would carry four people at a low price. This was the opportunity for used cars sellers and of course for Renault 4CV and Citroen 2CV. Finding a Mochet in the US means that it was carried by his french owner, I think that it would have been very difficult to had it registered in the US.
    It is a funny “car”; Very few remained, even in France, but anyway and anywhere it is just a toy.

    • Brian

      Interesting history lesson Jean, thanks for sharing. If they could have been produced and shipped to the US during WWII, they probably would have sold. Of course that wouldn’t have been possible for many reasons, begining with Nazi occupation, metal shortages, lack of shipping, etc, etc…

      It’s funny how the mini car never really caught on in the US like it did in the rest of the world, its really shocking that the VW Beetle becames so popular in the US, give our preoccupation with horsepower and cheap gas at that time.

  10. jean Lecointe

    Hi Brian,
    Mochet is a post WW2 company, they imagined that a very cheap an engineless microcar could compete with the “tandem” two seater bicycle.
    Mini cars never get through in Europe, several attemps have been made by Isetta, Messerschmit, Vespa, and other confidential manufacturers in France and Germany.
    The only ones which got through were, of course, WV with the Beetle and Fiat with the 500.
    They proposed a four seater car, even if the rear was devoted to children or dwarfs.
    The success of the Citroen 2CV is based on this purpose. The idea displayed on the design definition of the project was “four seats under an umbrella”.
    I would like to know if in the early fifties, any microcar similar to the Mochet have been designed, manufactured and sold in the US.
    If anyone buys the Mochet offered, he can be sure that NO spare part will be available in France but buying a spare car in the same state.
    Every body knows that a spare car is lacking the essential usable parts, otherwise it would’nt be a spare car but a project.
    Hello from France

    • Brian

      A quick glance through the Standard Catalog of American cars does show a few mini or micro mini car being produced in tiny numbers by unheard of companies in the in US in the 1950s, but by the late 1960s and early 1970s, most of the micro minis produced here were attempts at electrics, the most famous being the CitiCar, made in Florida. Probably the most famous mini car of the 1940s and 1950s made in the USA was the Crosley, which I believe finished up in 1950 or 1951

    • jim s

      try searching under ” King Midget “.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Midget

      • rancho bella

        Crofton, built in San Diego

  11. Jim-Bob

    There are some (ignorant) people who say the Sachsenring Trabant 601 was the worst car ever made. For those people I present the Mochet CM-125Y- proof positive that the Trabant is better than something!

    (Not that I have anything against the Trabant… I actually want one.)

  12. jean Lecointe

    Hi Jim-Bob,
    You know, as you are not ignorant, that you can always find something better or worse than anything. Trabant and Mochet can’t be compared. The Trabant was mass produced in a country where there was no alternative. The Mochet is closer to a toy and has been manufactured in very small quantites. And after all if some french people had fun and pleasure with a Mochet wouldn’t it be sufficent…

    • Jim-Bob

      Agreed. I actually find the whole post was microcar phenomenon fascinating. It’s sort of a microcosm of what was happening in nations besides the US and Canada during the period of post WWII reconstruction. It wasn’t only France either, as most countries had some form of small, light transport like this available. Even the more “normal” sized cars were tiny by comparison to the modern world, with vehicles such as the ZAZ 965 (USSR), Mazda Carol, Citroen 2CV and Morris Mini Minor being commonplace. The sad truth of the Mochet is that people didn’t necessarily drive them for fun but rather because they had few other options. They were sort of the Chinese scooters of their time and filled a similar niche to what those scooters fill today. I do agree that they need to be preserved today as a reminder of that time. I unfortunately see little practical use for one today so I missed the reason for having one because I tend to be too centered on the practical.

      Sorry about the previous comment. My attempts at humor sometimes aren’t all that funny and I am usually better off when I stick to the factual. I was reminded of this tonight when I was talking on the phone to a friend and he once again had to tell me he was using sarcasm and I had missed it.

      • Brian

        I would actually prefer to own and use a mini car as a substitute for the golf carts that people use to drive around the neighborhood, assuming I could get parts for it. I wouldn’t mind finding a good Honda AN600 for that purpose.

    • Luke

      jean Lecointe
      Had read your comments on and in defense of the little Mochet in this article and just had to let you know…. I just purchased that exact car from the same seller who listed it in the auction you saw; much better price however.

      • jean Lecointe

        Hi Luke,
        Good luck with your Mochet,
        if you ever want some help from France for documents or parts, don’t hesitate to ask.
        I had a friend who owned a Mochet with but pedals and no engine…
        With two people pedaling side by side, it was nearly impossible to climb any hill. but on the flat, with the wind behind, it was faster than an ordinary bicycle.

        Like 1
    • michaelreynoldso

      Hi Jean
      I own a late CM – 125 Luxe model and could sure use some info I live in California and I have searched auto parts articles and haven’t came up with anything of help I could use a fresh carburetor but I’ve had no luck in six months of looking hoping you can send me in the right direction any help would be appreciated my email is michaelreynoldso@aol.com cell 8052765304 thank you for any help you can give me

  13. Charles

    Neat piece of history.

    My first choice for a seriously cool microcar is the Fiat Jolly. Of course I will have to win the lottery first…

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