Tiny Project Car: 1959 Messerschmitt KR200

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Following the cessation of hostilities in World War II, the United States found itself in a fairly sound economic position, and the actual physical damage to buildings and infrastructure was extremely light. Continental Europe wasn’t quite so lucky, and for some countries, it would take decades to recover. Many of these countries made concerted attempts to get their population mobile, and while manufacturers like Volkswagen and Citroen were able to pick up the pieces and restart production fairly quickly, companies that specialized in aviation found themselves in a quandary, as they were no longer allowed to practice their core manufacturing business. Messerschmitt was one such company. Faced with no longer being able to build fighter planes, they diversified into vehicle manufacturing, and cars like the KR200 were the result. This little KR200 is going to need some major restoration work, but the Messerschmitt is one of those micro-cars that has developed a real cult following, so the effort could well be worth it. Located in Houston, Texas, you will find the KR200 listed for sale here on eBay.

The KR200 was descended from the original KR175, which was in production from 1953 until 1955. The KR 200 used the same basic frame as its predecessor, but with a more powerful engine, and a restyled body. The KR200 was also incredibly light, tipping the scales at a mere 507lbs. This particular Messerschmitt weighs a lot less than that, as rust has taken a very heavy toll on the vehicle. There is no hiding the fact that it is going to require some pretty major restoration, as the dreaded tin-worm has attacked virtually every part of the vehicle. The floor is definitely going to require replacement, and there are numerous areas on the body that will require repair. On the positive side of the ledger, the frame itself looks to be quite solid. The majority of the exterior trim is present, and most of it looks like it could be restored. Thankfully, a lot of these items are actually still available, as either NOS or reproduction parts. The windshield is present, but the bubble top isn’t, and sourcing a replacement may prove to be problematic. There is a company in the UK that makes and sells reproduction items in perspex, so this may be an alternative to consider.

Motive power for the KR200 is derived from a 191cc Sachs single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine. This sends the drive to the single rear wheel via a 4-speed manual transmission. The engine produces 9.9hp, and thanks to a combination of low vehicle weight and good aerodynamics, it is possible to push a KR200 to a top speed of 65mph. The transmission features no reverse gear, but the engine features an ingenious design which allows it to start and rotate in the reverse direction. This gives you a full set of four reverse gears, and the theoretical ability for a KR200 to travel at the same 65mph in reverse. If you intend to attempt this, I am more than happy to watch…from a very safe distance. It appears that the engine for this KR200 may be locked. Hopefully, it can be made to turn freely again, as if this can be achieved, the actual components to undertake a rebuild are quite readily available. The remainder of the mechanical components are present, including the original 8″ wheels, but these will all need restoration.

The interior of a Messerschmitt is motoring at its most basic. You get a speedometer and a voltmeter. The steering wheel looks more like a yoke, or a set of handle-bars. The gear shift is located by the driver’s right leg and operates the sequential transmission. Seating in the KR200 is strictly for two people, and they sit in tandem, much like on a motorbike. Behind the passenger is a parcel tray, and rather terrifyingly, in the original sales literature for the car, Messerschmitt claimed that this was a suitable place to carry a small baby. It appears that the front seat frame is present with the car, but the rear isn’t. Fabricating a replacement should not be difficult, and as with a number of items on the KR200, it is possible to source a complete upholstery kit for the car.

So, there is no doubt that for such a small car, the restoration on this KR200 appears to be quite a big job. However, it isn’t impossible, and the mechanical refurbishment is really no more complicated than that of a motorcycle. The most difficult part of the restoration is going to be replacing the floor, but I have actually found several companies that manufacture full replacement floors for the vehicle. At the time of writing, bidding has been quite spirited and has pushed the price to $2,247. I guess the big question is whether it is worth the time, effort, and money to restore this KR200. In a single word: Yes. For such a small car, the KR200 commands a surprisingly high price. Due to their cult following, values have been heading ever upwards. The result is that you will be hard-pressed to find a decent KR200 for anything less than $35,000, while an immaculate example can cost $60,000 or more. As I said: This one will need a lot of work, but it really does appear to be worth the time and effort.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Chuckster

    Just the thing for you gold wing guys, turn the body around and drop on your bike.replace the headlights with taillights and you got something

    Like 4
  2. Kenneth Carney

    No, I think an EV would be more practical
    since this poor car is a complete basket
    case to begin with. With EV technology
    vastly improved over the last 10 years,
    an electric conversion would be quite
    feasible. The lithium-ion battery pack
    could ride under the floorboard, and a
    powerful electric motor would ride in
    the rear being driven by way of a chain
    drive. Braking would be achieved by
    an electric system pirated from an RV.
    This would give you re-gen braking to
    keep the battery pack trickle charged
    as you drove it. Range I estimate would
    be between 40 to 60 miles with a top speed of 50-55 MPH. Want proof? Check out the company in Europe that
    is re-issuing these cars as EVs. To me,
    this car is a blank slate full of options.
    Indeed, this project is not for the faint
    of heart but with a spirit of creativity,
    it could be a great little car once more.

    Like 3
  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    As many of you know, I have a real penchant for microcars, but unfortunately, all I see in this Mess-o-*Pschitt is a lot of rusty parts…

    *a brand of beverage in Europe (see photo)

    Like 0
  4. Ike Onick

    Photographed on Omaha Beach?

    Like 1
  5. George

    “Honey, there’s a Messerschmidt in the kitchen. Go clean it up.”
    -Rodney Dangerfield, Easy Money, 1983.

    Like 2
  6. Wrong Way

    I forgot about these probably because they are so rare. Love the thought of doing this micro car, but I am soooooo busy with other projects. I would like to see one that has been restored. Looks like a whole bunch of fun.

    Like 0
  7. tyroljag

    Normally I would have to have it! Cant see any serious rust, fighter plane on wheels, just lacks the power, but hopefully will be properly and original restored!
    But I am in the middle of europe and tied up in to many projects anyway!
    Thomas from Tyrol

    Like 2
  8. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Ended: Feb 04, 2019 , 8:30PM
    Winning bid:US $5,250.00
    [ 60 bids ]

    Like 0

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