Unlike Bristol Aeroplane Company which chose to prepare for and switch from aircraft production to car production after the ’39-’45 war Messerschmitt was temporarily banned from aircraft production after the cessation of hostilities and had little choice but to switch to automobile manufacture in order to survive.
In 1952 Fritz Fend showed Messerschmitt his idea for a three wheeled motor scooter, Kabinenroller, based on the design of an earlier invalid vehicle which found a market among non invalids desperate for cheap transport alike.
The KR175 was produced from 1952 to 1955 when it was substantially redesigned around the original frame.
The new KR200 as seen here at the Bristol Classic Car Show featured cut outs in the wheel wings / fenders.
Note this car was driven to Regensburg in 1999 where the designer Fritz Fend signed the dash.
Other improvements on the KR200 included improved canopy design, larger wheels and suspension improvements attributed to the introduction of hydraulic shock absorbers.
The larger 10 hp 200 cc / 12.2 cui 2 stroke motor gave the KR200 a top speed of 56 mph and because it was a two stroke it could be reversed by pressing a button which reversed the direction in which the motor spun.
To prove the viability of the KR200 a single seat low drag body version was taken to the Hockenheimring in 1955 where it set 22 international class records including an average speed of 64 mph for 24 hours.
The KR200 was a huge success such that when Messerschmitt resumed aircraft manufacturing in 1956 Fend was allowed to purchase the assets needed to carry on with car production and carry on using the Messerschmitt brand name.
In all 40,000 KR200’s were manufactured up until 1964 including a KR201 roadster. A 4 wheel version was also developed along with a variety of 3 wheel utility vehicles.
Fritz Fend is also credited with inventing the alarm system that goes off when one pulls the key out of the ignition of a vehicle after one forgets to turn the light off.
Thanks for joining me on this “Fritz’s Kaninenroller” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Swinger that suffered repeated damage when being parked in the Bay area. Don’t forget to come back now !