Nice Microcar: 1958 King Midget Model 3

The King Midget is unusual in more ways than just being a tiny car with a rear engine and no doors. This one is a 1958 King Midget Model 3, the seller has it listed here as a Barn Finds Classified, and they’re asking what seems like a reasonable $5,285. It’s located in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and being street legal, it would be quite a trip to fly in and drive it home, on two-lane back roads, of course.

It seems as if there’s no consensus on the name of the different generations or models even among several different respected auto authorities. Some refer to it as a Type 3, a Type III, or a Model III but my reference book, King Midget: The Story of America’s Smallest Dream Car by author Bob Vahsholtz refers to them as Model 1, Model 2, and Model 3 so that’s what I’ll use here. I trust Hemmings almost as much as any other source on the planet when it comes to car information and they also refer to this car as Model 3.

Whatever anyone calls them, this looks like a really nice example. The King Midget was available after WWII and believe it or not they were sold up until 1970, several months after we flew to the moon and back. That’s a heck of a run for such an unusual vehicle. They were made in Athens, Ohio and we’ve seen a couple of Model 2s, or what I refer to here on Barn Finds in 2016 here as a Series 2. The very rare Model 1 was a single-seater and came originally as a kit car. I don’t remember seeing a mesh panel on the rear of a King Midget before but it seems like a good idea since the engine is back there.

A few of the photos were vertical in format so my apologies for having to make these composite images to fit the format here. This is a really nice-looking example, the interior looks great with unusual but comfortable-looking seats. The seller mentions a “reported top speed of 45 mph” so I’m assuming that they haven’t had this one going that fast because there’s a speedometer in the center of the dash.

The engine is in the rear under the rear cover and it would have originally been a 9.2-horsepower Wisconsin single-cylinder by this point in production. The seller doesn’t give us much information at all about this example except to say that it runs well and has good compression. I’m guessing that no doors are available for this one but it appears that there’s a roof frame so the next owner can make a convertible top for it if they choose to. Are there any fans of these unusual microcars out there? Any current or former owners?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Indiana,Penn.,Jimmy Stewart’s home town.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      That is trivia gold, sir! Thanks for that info, I’m embarrassed to not have known that since he’s one of my favorite actors.

      Like 4
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        It’s also home to The Roadster Factory.
        They sell parts for Triumphs & MGs.

        Like 1
    • Boot

      Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart to be exact. I live a few miles from there. I’ve seen this King Midget for sale for over a year now. Seems to be in good shape, not sure why it won’t sell.

      Like 1
  2. Steveo

    I hope there is a special Circle in Heck for folks that that take vertical photos and video of things that are horizontal.

    Like 4
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha!! I agree but at the risk of being “on my high horse and nitpicking,” I didn’t want to be too hard on the seller.

      Like 7
    • Terrry

      Not on here, but even worse, some bozo who takes the photo 90 degrees off. Like they don’t know how to hold a camera.

      Like 1
  3. James West

    Perfect size for Miguelito Loveless

    Like 8
  4. Ben T. Spanner

    Hand crafted in Athens, Ohio The factory test track was a city street with a steep hill. No danger of a speeding ticket on the asent.

    Like 2
  5. Gerard Frederick

    An american Kleinschnittger!

    Like 2
  6. Terrry

    Does anyone here remember, as a kid, you and your dad building one of these from a kit? They were offered as “assembly required”. I remember one of our neighbors putting one together.

    Like 1
  7. Guggie 13

    My Grandmother had a neighbor who had a King midget , when I was a kid , always wanted one till I rode in one lol . nice one here !

    Like 2
  8. Mike

    1958? Being in traffic with this amongst then current offerings from the big 3 would be like driving around in a beer can. They would probably wonder what that “squeak” was as you went under.

    Like 4
  9. Darrun

    I’ve owned a couple, and actually have one in the garage now, waiting it’s turn.They are a fun car to take to car shows. Kids love them.

    Like 3
  10. Ricardo Ventura

    The Siata Spring 850 was copied from this small car.

  11. Frank of Eden

    Always wanted one. First saw one advertised in the back of Popular Mechanics mag. said to be a kit car. A few years later they were advertising same car (new look) but it was now available assembled. Even later, I looked into being a “dealer” for the co. and was sent their idea of “dealerships”… lots of info on the cars and was told that I would need to buy a car then drive it around and show it off to others. I would receive a commission on any car that was bought because of my efforts. Not exactly what I had in mind. My first time seeing one in person was getting off of I-95 in Richmond VA and coming to the stoplight it pulled up beside me… the driver was about my age. Later saw that same car at Richmond Professional Institute (became Virginia Commonwealth University) and got to speak with the owner, a student there. He said it was the only car he could afford to buy, that it ran and got him back and forth to school but that was about all. Neat little cars.

    Like 3

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