Most car enthusiasts associate the microcar phenomenon—tiny, barely practical automobiles powered by small motorcycle or scooter engines—with postwar Europe. After much of the industrial capacity of continental Europe and the UK was bombed into rubble, materials for manufacturing civilian goods were in short supply. People were willing to drive just about anything that propelled them faster than their own two feet, no matter how diminutive the vehicle. Surprisingly, one of the most successful microcars was an all-American product: the King Midget.
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My great uncle had a King Midget II in the 1970s and early 1980s. If my memory serves me right, his had a wood body on it. Knowing my Uncle, I believe he must have taken the plans for the metal body and simply recreated it in wood. Because of thatt, I thought that wood bodies on these cars were typical. In the late 1980s, when I was older and realized what he had, I wanted to buy it. He had already sold it by then. He told me he sold it to some collector in Ohio. Another tough break for me. (My grandfather had a 1968 Buick Skylark that I wanted, but again I moved to slow and he sold it in the early 1980s.)
While I always enjoy articles on out-of-the-ordinary cars, and the K-M is certainly that, your 2nd paragraph had at least two errors that nearly stopped my reading. First, the utilitarian Crosley model is the "Farm-O-Road." The more damaging item is the egregious statement "unlike just about every microcar made, the Crosleys were fully-engineered motor vehicles." Almost ALL the microcars made were fully-engineered cars, designed from the outset to be inexpensive to buy and run on the roads of Europe (mostly). For example, the Goggomobil sedan, coupe and truck models sold more than a quarter-million units in 14 years, and that was only one of dozens of makes. Most of them were family cars that were driven everywhere - there are YouTube videos of '50s home movies showing tiny 250cc cars pulling camping trailers in the Alps! So please don't denigrate a whole class of car, of which the King Midget is a worthy American member.
I've wanted one of these since I first heard about them as a teenager, almost 15 years after production ended. Although I've owned a number of cool collector cars since then, I still want a King Midget. I would consider building one using the plans in Make Driving Fun Again, but I'm not sure if I have the fabrication/machining skills necessary to complete the job. Has anyone out there built a replica using these plans? If so, what words of encouragement or discouragement do you have to offer?
Yes, I own a '63 King Midget. I remember a man while growing up had Crosley's, King Midget's etc. Most live a hard life. It took me almost 50 years the find the right one. Mine is restored, red with a black top and yes it really gets noticed. The only negative I don't have a means to trailer the car to car shows so its limited only in my city.
I've been fascinated by these little cars since I was shown one stored in my best friend's grandma's garage (we were like 12) and later got to drive it around their rural property. Having just sold some major assets and despite being 71 I am now finally "in the market" for one. Maybe I could use it as a spare in the trunk of my 2 1/2 ton Continental Mark IV and V's!! 😉