Micro Car Survivor: 1960 Messerschmitt KR200

Car’s that develop a cult following don’t necessarily have to feature huge horsepower or unparalleled levels of luxury. The Messerschmitt KR200 is a perfect example. With less than 10hp at its disposal and pretty rudimentary passenger accommodation, it would seem to be a car destined to fade into the dim, dark pages of history. In fact, the opposite is true, with nice examples capable of fetching some pretty incredible prices. This 1960 model has a fair way to go before it could be considered to be a nice one, but the potential would seem to be there. It is located in Davenport, Iowa, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $15,099, but the reserve hasn’t been met. There is also a BIN option available, and this has been set at $17,500.

Before we consider the rest of the body, we need to look at the “popped bubble” aspect of this little KR200. The owner states that he believes that the top has been damaged and repaired at some point, and that is pretty obvious when you look at this photo. It appears that the front half has been cracked or broken, so it has been pieced back together and has then been painted in a bid to match the color of the paint on the remainder of the vehicle. It looks pretty awful, and a replacement top will need to be sourced. This is definitely possible, although the next owner will probably have to compromise by purchasing a reproduction perspex dome. Original domes do appear on the market from time-to-time, but the prices of these are enough to make your eyes water. Reproduction domes can be found for around the $1,600 mark, although if the next owner wants to add a bit of comfort, tinted domes can be found for around $1,750. Beyond that issue, the rest of the Messerschmitt looks to be pretty solid. There is some surface corrosion on the underside of the floor, but this should be easy to address. Many of the external fittings and trim pieces have been removed, but the photos tend to indicate that the majority of these are still present and in need of restoration. Given the sorts of prices that the KR200 can achieve, I really believe that a full nut-and-bolt restoration could be the best approach. That will maximize the chances of this little classic presenting in a pristine state once the work has been completed.

Horsepower isn’t high on the agenda with a KR200, because what we find is a rear-mounted 191cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine, built by Fichtel & Sachs. This little marvel produces 9.9hp, which finds its way to the single rear wheel via a chain drive from a 4-speed manual transmission with no reverse gear. The lack of reverse is not a real issue, because the engine was built with two sets of ignition points. By moving the ignition key to an alternate position the engine could be fired-up to run in the opposite direction. This effectively gave the KR200 access to four reverse gears, and the theoretical ability to travel at the same speed backward as forwards! Even with such limited power available, the KR200 was no slug, with a top speed of 65mph. However, for longevity, the vehicle was definitely at its best and most comfortable when bowling along at around 40mph. The news here would seem to be fairly good because the engine was treated to a rebuild back in 1991, and the car was then only driven around 6 to 8 times before it went into storage. The owner doesn’t indicate whether the engine turns freely, but if it does, then getting it running again might not be a major undertaking. The fuel tank has been removed to repair a leak at some point, although this was never completed. The new owner might choose to do this, although it is possible to find replacement tanks in stainless steel for under $400.

The interior of the Messerschmitt is definitely showing the ravages of time and will require restoration. This really was motoring at its most basic, with the car’s two occupants seated in tandem. Looking around, it is pretty obvious that a new carpet set will be required. These are surprisingly easy to find and can be purchased for around $245. Trim kits can be a bit more of a battle, and there is a real possibility that the next owner might have to source one from an overseas supplier. There are a number of companies in the UK and France that produce high-quality products in the correct color and material, and all of them seem willing to ship their kits overseas. Contacting any of these organizations should result in a fairly positive result on this front. Otherwise, the rest of the interior work is going to involve some cleaning and scrubbing, along with treating some of the painted surfaces to a respray.

If considered on a dollars-per-pound basis, the Messerschmitt KR200 can be a very expensive car once restored. They tip the scales at a mere 507lbs, but it is difficult to find a nice example today for under $40,000. Prices can then become quite stratospheric, with $80,000 a real possibility for a very early example in pristine condition. This one does not meet either of those criteria, but there is no doubt that it could be restored to a very high standard, which has the potential to push its ultimate value towards that $40,000 mark. There have been 12 people who have seen the potential here, and whilst the KR200 opened at $5,000, it has quickly pushed on to $15,099. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of those people hits the BIN button pretty soon given the bidding activity. That is unless you beat them to it.

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Comments

  1. Francisco

    You could buy a nice Piper J-3 for $30,000. Identical cockpit but much faster.

    9
  2. ken tilly UK

    I have one of these little cars in much better condition than this one in South Africa for which I paid US$8865 . I am just waiting for the virus story to quieten down so that I can have it shipped here to UK in order to complete the restoration. I can’t wait.

    9
  3. Poppapork

    Im one of the few people that believes that the Democratic Germany made better cars than Western Germany in the 50ties and 60ties (they just kept making the silly things till 91!). This messerschmitt reminds me of a moped based vehicle sold to handicap wheelchair people from Czechoslovakia (google velorex). Ill take an early trabant shooting brake over this messerschmitt or an issetta. Plus i would just love to run a two stroke car thru I90 in chciago with the clouds of smelly smoke behind it! (Trabant had the same DKW engine as SAAB 92/3/4 sonnet)

    5
  4. don

    Its just my opinion, and I know its a rare, old and sort of a car , but I just don’t get these things – they are extremely small , unattractive , under powered, uncomfortable and definitely unsafe so why is the price at $15,000 ? These things make the early VW Beetles look like Caddys and would look more at home on a kiddie ride at a carnival than on any highway. $15K can still buy a lot of car ; I sure wouldn’t waste it on one of these !

    12
    • nmexmatt

      one of these sold for $345,000 at a micro car auction a few years ago. You don’t buy this as a daily driver. Highway? It won’t even do 50mph…you drive these in parades if at all!

  5. Arby

    If I buy this, can I drive it home cross country?

    • ken tilly UK

      Sure you can, as long as you have a lot of vacation time stored up.

      3
    • Paolo

      Sure you can, as long as it’s a small country. How about Luxembourg?

      5
  6. Moparman Member

    The mere thought of venturing out among the lifted to the sky “Bro-Dozer’s and gargantuan “Canyonero’s” found on today’s roads in this small, insectoid vehicle is intimidating to say the least, LOL!! :-)

    7
  7. Tempo Matador Ray

    Once again Adam👍. The evolution of the automobile came in many forms and fashion. This is just one example of an idea that made it to production. As silly as some folks think this is, it represents ingenuity and resourcefulness during a time in our history. Part of the satisfaction for myself when taking on certain select projects is the preservation aspect. To have it operating and fully functional as it was designed for…Continue to innovate not Duplicate.

    7
  8. moosie moosie Member

    Seller is Rob Wolfe, I bet he is the brother of Mike Wolfe from American Pickers, those guys seem to find all the weird stuff and manage to come out ahead on most of the “finds”. This me$$o$hit would be good for parades, or in a gated community to pick up the mail etc. But $17K seems rather ambitious for J.Q. Public to spend for it. PEACE.

    4
  9. Richard

    I have one. Completely impractical and unsafe should you have an emergency. I would never take it on a freeway, strictly for those quick trips around town.

    On the other hand, I’ve had mine 15 years and not a lick of mechanical trouble. Not bad for 62 years old. And guaranteed you can’t beat the smiles per mile. I parked next to a Lamborghini one day, a very rare sight in my little town, and the crowd around the Lambo quickly migrated to the Messerschmitt. It is stunning to see in person, so little and quirky. There’s a really committed community of small car people out there and Messerschmitt is one of the icons of the class along with the Isetta. Terrible, cheap little cars by today’s standards, they help bring a shattered German economy back after WW II.

    6
  10. dogwater

    The seats look comfortable……………….

    2
  11. TimM

    Very little amount of a car for the money required!! I would like to drive one of these one day but I think the novelty would wear off quick!! The concept is cool but like someone else said it would be a little scary driving this capsule of a car on the interstate with the tractor trailers and lifted trucks!!

    1
    • nmexmatt

      this is absolutely not a car to drive on the freeway! They were built as a city car. There was a craze for these in the 50’s, they were never meant to drive on open highway. You would NEVER want to drive one on a daily basis. For one they are worth way too much anymore and you’d broil to death with the clear plastic bubble. This one has been painted. I’d be surprised if this car had more than about 10hp. I used to own an Isetta. I would have never taken that one on the freeway and only drove it once on city streets other than in parades. It was a riot and I have no doubt I made at least a dozen people’s facebook pages that day.

      1
      • chrlsful

        “…never daily…”
        In the 60’s in Boston we’d C 1 Messersm. and several Isetta 3000 on the daily. The Mesersm. hada driver who wuz a bit crazy as he would go in the non-lanes, weave (& may B up on sidewalks as we hit dwn twn. I think I remember a push cart in shambles). It can B done and wuz. Not me ot the?
        How many made Oz Adam?

  12. Paolo

    This can’t be any scarier than driving a Bond Bug or Robin Reliant.

    1
  13. Johnny

    For the price. I,ll pass and buy a more roomie ,comfortable vehicle and donate the rest the St.Jude Children,s Hospital,Smile Train,Operation Smile,St Labre Indian School or other organization and really see a appreciative smile and feel better about myself inside. Putting my money to better use.

    1
  14. John

    We have a pristine KR200 in “Turkisgrun” It always turns heads and wins prizes

  15. robbert

    This was a very clever design that suited a particular market when petrol and owning a car in Europe was expensive. To apply retro comments is pointless. There may be a time in the future when humble needs again need to addressed without the swelled egos of today.

    • Johnny

      Swelled egos alot of people have now days. They go in debt for a $30,000 vehicles to keep up with the jones. They can,nt get a old vehicle and fix it up. Alot of them are also too lazy and afraid to get their hands dirty. Theirs quite a few old cars that will get over 25 mpg .That beat these new old and the exhaust gas sure smella alot better then the stinkin egg smell these new one put out,but one think about these new car exhaste smell. If you have a passenger with you following a new one and you fart.You can blame it on the new car exhaust and get buy.

  16. Johnny

    I wonder if a person done some changeing on this little car and put a bigger motor in it. More padding in the seats and a few extra changes. I,m sure other would drive it then. One thing for sure. It would keep you dry . I see this as a motor cycle body on it. I like it,but couldn,t see paying that kind of money for it. I just might take my Honda Rebel. Add dual wheels on the back and make a body for it. I wonder if I could sale it for $50,000 for it.? hahahaha

    • ken tilly UK

      Hi Johnny. I have a Messerschmidt coming over from South Africa when the virus story finally ends, and am really looking forward to driving it around the narrow little roads where I live in UK. Should be a hoot. In the meantime I will stick to my Honda Rebel as well. Do you have the 250cc or 450cc like mine, which was imported from USA?

      • Johnny

        Ken mine is the 250 and gets about 90 mpg. I bought a gear to put in it. That is suppose to increase the gas mileage. I was telling my cousin about it and I told him what I got per gallon. He asked me how much did I expect to get ? I told him I would like to get 100 mpg . He laughed. I was thinking about saling it,but I think I,ll get a side car and use it to get grocerys .

  17. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Jun 04, 2020 , 3:00PM
    Winning bid:US $16,000.00
    [ 23 bids ]

  18. ken tilly UK

    @Johnny. I had the same over revving problem with mine, so I had a rear sprocket made with 32 teeth instead of 36, and now I can cruise at 65 mph without worrying that the pistons might come up and take some nuts off, mine!

    • Johnny

      Would you believe I have had my gear about about 14 years and never took it out of the package.hahaha Mine is a 2006. I had it up top 85 mph on the interstae trying to catch up with some friends. Won,t do that again. I didn,t have a windshield on it and I didn,t know if I was gonna get blown off the bike or it was gonna go airborne, I weigh about 185. As long as I kept it around 45-50 it was ok,but about that and it would tear my back up. Been thinking about getting a side car for it. To haul grocerys in and cut down on the gas. I get the regular gas–not ethanol and paid about $2.35 a gallon I had trouble getting it to run after storeage awhile back.Seafom didn,t faze it. I put some Marvel Mystery oil in the gas tank and that stratightend it up real quick.

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