Mystery Moped: 1985 Cursor Microcar

1985 Cursor Microcar

The world of microcars is far larger than their diminutive size suggests. It doesn’t seem to follow any particular rationale or timing as to why and when these vehicles-in-miniature are produced, and some truly fly beneath the radar. This 1985 Cursor Microcar listed here on Florida’s craigslist for $4,500 is a micro-mystery layered in major intrigue considering just over 100 were built and intended solely for use by 16-year-olds in the UK to get some time behind the wheel before graduating to a full-sized vehicle. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Robert R for spotting this rarity and sending it along!

1985 Cursor Microcar interior

It’s hard to imagine how the dreamers behind the Cursor expected it to become a profitable venture. The idea was an admirable one – get young drivers used to the dynamics of an enclosed space with a steering wheel and put them on the roads in a vehicle that maxed out at 26 m.p.h. But like any high schooler, their ambitions immediately turned to a real car capable of real speed and carting around several of their pals as soon as they were able, rendering the Cursor a very expensive set of training wheels. The Cursor cost £2,200 when a conventional moped cost £1,000, and production was short-lived. While most were single-seaters, a two-seater was produced in limited quantities.

1985 Cursor Microcar Rear End

What really causes me to scratch my head is figuring out how this Cursor ended up in Arcadia, Florida. It’s the type of vehicle you’d associate with Hollywood as a used-up movie prop from an Austin Powers movie. Instead, it’s sitting on a trailer in a rural area known as Arcadia (which is pretty far removed from Tampa Bay, in my opinion) after being extracted from a barn in Alabama. If this car could talk, it would have some stories to tell! While the missing back window is likely going to cause any serious collector to seek the help of a custom fabricator, the rest of the vehicle is pretty straight-forward, with power sourced from a 49cc Suzuki CS50 motor.

Cursor Microcar

Today, we throw money at expensive toys like the Morgan 3-Wheeler and the Can-Am series of motorcycles. Now, those creations are capable of real speed and are definitely not intended for novice drivers – but it shows you the idea of a vehicle with two wheels up front and one out back wasn’t so crazy after all. But building one devoted exclusively to young drivers looking to get a feel for the open road might not have been the best way to bring small-scale motoring to the masses. The seller here is looking for $4,500 or will consider trades for a 4-wheeler – perhaps he realized the Cursor isn’t the perfect hunting vehicle, despite its enclosed driving position. Would you consider this oddball for your collection? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. John b

    As the BMW Isetta three wheeled version pretty much stayed in the UK because it could be titled as a motorcycle….I imagine the same goes for this little runner.

  2. rusty

    Jeff said ” While the missing back window is likely going to cause any serious collector to seek the help of a custom fabricator”

    Why???? As the seller said its plexiglas..doesnt look from photos it has room for a fibreglass frame …so cut it to shape drill some holes for the hinges and a hole for what was probably a simple handle / lock and away you go. Make sure its thick plexiglass so it has less chance of bending warping in the window apperture.

    • Dorean Martin

      I used to own one of these and the back window was plexi glass with rounded off corners and a lock there was no handle it could be lifted up by holding the key sticking out of the lock.I had it for 9 years and went to work in it everyday.It was fun to drive the only down side was it had no reverse so had to be pushed backwards.

  3. JS

    Stating “This is the HOLLY GRAIL for micro car or mini car collectors”.. is like suggesting that a mint 1985 Fiero 4 cyl automatic is highly coveted by serious classic Ferrari collectors.

    Low power (small displacement or electric) Sans Permis cars are available in France for 14 year olds. However the very small fully equipped full power San Permis cars appeal to a number of individuals in crowded city conditions. Parents are known to purchase them for older offspring so there is no mom-taxi needed in outlying locations. The 18 mars (March) entry for the Generation Sans Permis magazine shows a cover devoted to “driving at 14”.

    https://fr-fr.facebook.com/GenerationSansPermis

  4. Mark E

    The most amazing thing about it is that it’s a microcar that the Weiner museum did not have and so has not sold for 6 digits… -_-;

  5. Alan (Michigan)

    Way too underpowered, even for city driving in most urban environments. Not nearly as maneuverable, and too big a footprint when compared to a scooter, and then there is the additional weight.
    We have a 50cc scooter, an ’87 Honda Elite. Fun campus transportation for a college kid. Park anywhere, sips fuel, no need for speed.
    But this thing… I see so few real advantages beyond rain use, and it fails most other metrics.

    Put a 650 Burgman power unit in, upgrade the brakes, and it becomes a commuter. Short of that, What is the point?

  6. St.Ramone de V8

    Rare does not mean valuable. We have heard that many times, and it’s true. Is there a market for this “Holy Grail”? We’ll see.

  7. Barry

    I have one of these cars – Replicar Cursor. My one is number 0064
    The original designer and builder is still alive and well here in England. Alan Hatswell.
    The photo is of Alan with my car.
    They were classified as mopeds under UK law. In 1985 / 86 a 16 year old could drive one.

    By the way, the back window is a very simple plexiglass panel.

  8. Richard Lewis

    This is a great find and actually looks pretty good as far as restoration potential. This is not the holy grail because Isettas and Messerschmitts along with a few other rare cars have that honor. This will probably end up in some Microcar collector’s barn. I can guess several people who might want it but they will be looking to pay 1/2 this price.

  9. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Thanks for the clarifications on the rear window, fellas – good to know it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker!

    • Barry

      These are great little cars and the 50cc engine (Various mopeds used during production – mainly Suzuki) can be upgraded to 80cc easily depending on the original engine. My one is a Suzuki CP50 which is higher power than earlier cars as it is a two seater. In England it is definitely not regarded as a very desirable microcar. £2000 GBP would buy you a very very good car. This one in Florida is not a very good car by any stretch of the imagination. But, it is already in the USA. Photo is to show back screen simply resting on top of a rubber seal.
      Read more at http://barnfinds.com/mystery-moped-1985-cursor-microcar/#vLedbDOSzwAQh8HW.99

  10. David Qukslvr

    Looks just like this car. The one pictured has the hatch glass intact. The video for this Cursor will be posted on youtube soon. Please look for it under “Small Wonders micro/Mini Car Museum”

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