The pics you see here are from the streets of Japan. The weird looking âthingâ you see here is the a Messerschmitt KR200 âcabin scooterâ parked somewhere in Tokyo. You can choose to call it whatever you want â trike, bubble car, three-wheeled car or âcabin scooter,â the term used by its manufacturer back in the 1950s.
The Messerschmitt KR200 was designed by an aircraft engineer â Fritz Fend â and around 40,000 units were built between 1955 and 1964, in Germany. With two seats in tandem, the vehicle had motorcycle-like one-behind-the-other seating for two people. The engine was a Fitchel & Sachs, 191cc two-stroke single-cylinder unit, mated to a four-speed manual transmission. With about 10bhp, the KR200 had a top speed of 100km/h and at 30km/l, it was also quite fuel-efficient.
At 229 kilos, the Messerschmitt KR200 was actually lighter than, say, a BMW K1300GT, which weighs 255 kilos. With its removable soft-top and tandem seating for two, the KR200 was as close as anything could get to being a three-wheeled motorcycle, albeit one that was unique in being fully enclosed, with full weather protection for its occupants.
Since it was built in limited numbers and production ended so many decades ago, finding a well-maintained example today is hard to find. If you do find one, however, and if you want to buy it, expect to pay anywhere between US$15,000-25,000 for the privilege of owning one of these beauties!