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Messerschmitt

The bubble car concept was slow to catch on in Britain. Some German makes were licence-built in Britain, such as Heinkel, Isetta and Fuldamobil, but the popular Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (Cabin-scooter) was not 'built' by a British licensee. The UK concessionaire was Cabin Scooters (Assemblies) Ltd, who assembled the vehicles as part of their importing operation. The story begins with an aeronautical engineer called Fritz Fend who built a single seat invalid car from 1948, called the Flitzer. This was also bought by able-bodied drivers for cheap transport and demand grew for a two seat version, beyond Fend's resources, so he contacted the Messerschmitt aviation firm, who had no work for their Regensburg factory. In 1953 the tandem two seat KR175 Kabinenroller was launched, with an aircraft-type clear plexiglass canopy and a 173cc engine. Two years later the KR200 appeared; almost 12,000 sold in a year. Competition from the other bubble cars from BMW and Heinkel, plus a rebirth of the aircraft industry, led Messerschmitt to sell the factory in 1956 to a new firm set up by Fend. This was FMR, which was allowed to continue to apply the Messerschmitt name to the cars. In 1957 the KR200 soft-top cabriolet came out, followed by the KR201 sport version with no top at all. The final version was the four-wheeler Tg500 Tiger. In all 50,000 Messerschmitts were sold in nine years.
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