Spanish Studebaker: 1950 Rapida Microcar

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It seems that many tinkerers after the war had their minds set on building their own car. This 1950 Rapida, is likely Spanish designed and built, as it was discovered in Spain. The soccer player hood ornament is a good give away as well as the name Rapida which translates to the English meaning of “fast.” Also this little micro car borrows a little American styling, showing some similarity to the famous Studebaker Champion. This Interesting microcar has a Buy-it-now price of $2,500. Find it here on eBay out of Homestead, Florida.

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The more you look at this little Rapida, the more intricate details you see. First of all the Body is Aluminum. There are also multiple aluminum accents on this car. Down either side of the lower body there is an aluminum Eel with a Sapphire colored jeweled eye. There are also aluminum details over top of the doors leading into the rear fenders that resembled the Japanese “rising sun” flag. Also there are enameled emblems on this car, which further shows the level of detail and quality in this car. Also take note that the bumpers fit nicely, and that all of the body seams and joints are tight and even. The bonnet looks to have had a rough time at some point as it doesn’t fit quite as well as the rest of the body panels. The front fender openings are a bit odd, but the proportions seem right for the 1950’s styling of this car. We would love to have more information on this one. The level of detail is much too high and expensive to have been a one off unit manufactured by someone in their back yard. It is likely to be a one off prototype, or perhaps a low production kit that could be purchased utilizing off the shelf motorcycle parts. The engine appears to be a single cylinder 2 stroke Sachs engine.

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Very cool and unique for sure, we think this car would be worth the $2,500 asking price just to play around with it and to make it drivable again. It is difficult to tell if this Rapida is complete or not, but it appears to be. We think this would be a great Shriners parade car, or it would be neat to take this to a Studebaker based car show, and park it with the Studebaker Champions.  Also we think this car would find an excellent home at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. What are your thoughts on this interesting micro car? What do you think of the intricate aluminum details and the aluminum body work? Would you pick up this little 1950 Rapida? What do you think should happen with this cool microcar?

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Comments

  1. Seth J

    Me gustaría tener un coche.

  2. Fred W.

    “The level of detail is too high for someone to have manufactured this in their back yard…”

    ???

    Is it just me, or does this look like a cobbled together piece of backyard “art”?

    • Puhnto

      It’s not just you!
      To me it looks like a home made peddle car.

      • brakeservo

        And to me it looks like a home made pedal car!

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Fred, looks like something Barney Rubble would make in his garage. I think the steering wheel takes the cake. Not sure I’d want to be sitting over the chain, and if you showed up with this at the Lane, they’d boot you out the door. I had to chuckle, someone gave you a “thumbs down”, like they actually like this abomination of a car. You and I are in the same gear, pal.

  3. JCW Jr.

    would love to see this in person and really look it over. A very interesting car.

  4. Ikey Heyman

    It looks a bit like an amusement park bumper car.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Ikey, The Amusement Park of Horrors, maybe.

  5. Jon

    ugly…LOL

  6. packrat

    Two things: The internet has taught forum mods that making an innocuously worded comment that is easily open to debate is likely to spur discussion, which spurs increased traffic– I assume the comment was tongue-in-cheek.

    If the statement about this being professionally built was indeed made in earnest rather than amiably disingenuous, Brian is possibly of the generaton that has no perspective on what talented amateurs could be seen creating on a regular basis. They young people have never seen the multitude of unique wheeled creations featured in the DIY magazines of the early twentieth century, which showcased in their letters section as well as in numerous articles what ambitious tinkerer craftsmen could do to stimulate their mind after a long days work, in an era of no internet, no 200 chcannels of cable tv, no ubiquitous soccer leagues and martial arts classes for all of the grade schoolers in the house. Thumbing through stacks of old Popular Mechanics/Modern Mechanix/Popular Science magazines–OLD, I mean from the twenties through the earliy ‘fifties— one could see and read of creations made in America’s heartland (and further away), far far away from the manufacturing centers of the country. I suspect that most of the time, these photos are all that is left of the long-ago masterpiece of some lone visionary–or brothers, or friends of the summer-usually not in a clean, bright, well-equipped garage, instead laboring inside the dusty galaxy of a warm hay barn surrounded with a rippling sea of wheat fields–or on a muddy Kentucky hill, in an icy cold lean-to in winter: a jumble of Model T parts from several different years are in the corner of the stall opposite a set of worn-out blacksmithing tools mainly kept on hand to shoe the family mule. Under the gnarled hands of the eldest son of the family, these scavenged bits are taking a form that Henry Senior never approved of. Mean surroundings often belie the heights of the individual imagination, and well crafted, intelligently designed vehicles spring from the hand that guides the plow.

    We’ve all seen the professional speculations about the relative value of the next found crusty one-off motor trike as a *whole*, covered in fifty years of grime, dead spiders and dirt dauber’s nests, versus the value of the pre-world-war one motorcycle engine in it if sold separately. Deliberation ensues as to whether or not the hacked up bits and oddments cobbled around it have any intrinsic value. Many years behind that debated hulk there are sepia images of unrecorded history–perhaps a couple of guys staying out too late on a school night, talking. This is their last year of school, this long ago year, and they are sharing a nickel Coke, talking about girls, what the president said on the radio about all that is happening in Europe, whether they will go into the Service…
    Then one of them starts talking again about that idea he’s had for awhile, that he just can’t shake. He’s been doing some sketches during English class, and today old Mrs. Bradbury caught him at it and gave him thunder. Anyway, do you think I could find parts for…

    The talk goes on, on the stoop of the local general store after dark, watching the moths circle the glowing globes on the gas pumps. Soon after, they start on it, out behind his house. Like all of us, these two are subject to the tyranny of school and chores, which require their due segments of their brief span of time on this earth, the tolls most all of us pay at that age before we succumb to deeper time drains. They don’t get finished until after winter hits that year, and they’ve put together that car that concerns his mother, and reminds the local garage man of the British three wheeler he saw in a magazine once. It was built around that old motorcycle engine he bought so cheap, and he realized why, when he had to spend a full week repeatedly taking it apart, finally understanding how it worked, and getting it to where it could idle again–and what a feeling that was! And now, months later, here it is here up on wheels again: The motor popping like a string of Chinese firecrackers on July 4th, the jingling of the chain, the adrenaline rush with the (admittedly modest) acceleration, the grins and the breath pluming in the frosty air as they essay their first skidding hoon across the frozen pond, one wearing bicycle dust goggles and his leather football helmet from last year. Later, after they fix the clutch problem again, the squeals and giggles of the girls that consent to a ride in “that dangermobile”, memories which lasted their lifetimes. Storing it in the shed, getting it going again the next year, the wonderful stink of the fresh gas mixing with old oil and leather in the halls of memory.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi packrat, SHEESH, quite a profound statement for 3:30 in the morning,( 4:30 my time) but I agree. We shouldn’t pick on this too much, as many of our modern transportation devices started out with crude inventions like this.( even the author claims it was a prototype) This represented a lot of work for someone, and at one time, it must have worked. I absolutely guarantee, you’d have a crowd around you wherever you went. Love the hood ornament.

    • Jon

      Very nicely written….

  7. Paul

    Two things I can come up with, sell it to the Lane Museum and let them restore it and show it, or, ship it back to Spain. Just saying, ya know…

  8. whippeteer

    Previously in Portugal for $2300. Now in FL according to the ad. Previous seller was in KS. From a post on an earlier ad “Based on the ebay ad this guy purchased the car from a month ago, it’s a 50cc gas and pedal car with an aluminum body.” The current seller had it listed on eBay in May where it did not sell for $1500. http://www.ebay.com/itm/121995785951?rmvSB=true

  9. Bill McCoskey

    I would call this a backyard “assembled” car, I.E. — assembled using whatever was lying around! I’ve seen those side grills in Europe, on old heating grates. The steering seems to be a rack & pinion system, from a water sluice gate from a farmer’s field, only turned horizontal instead of up & down rack travel.

    After WW2 there was a huge surplus of aluminum, both sheet & castings, due to the huge amount of war surplus. So it made sense to use cheap alloy metals for all types of backyard creations.

    If the vehicle came over from Portugal, I’m guessing that since it’s not a running/driving piece, it had to be crated or shipped in a shipping container, likely costing somewhere around $1,500 to get it landed at a Florida port! Shoulda left it in Portugal!

  10. Bill McCoskey

    The hood & lightning Rapido emblems may be related to the NATO & Portuguese Rapid response military teams. [Per an automotive gear head friend in Spain.

  11. Joe Muzy

    How can anyone compare this lawn ornament with a Studebaker?

  12. St. Ramone de V8

    Hayabusa transplant?

  13. John H

    “… veritably unique, museum quality automobile …”

    Uh, yeah. Wow hardly begins to describe this car. Definitely some interesting things about it, but then you reach the shot of the steering setup. I’ve seen pedal cars with more thought put into the steering.

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