3-Wheelers and more……… Continued


With my former article about 3-wheeled vehicles I have obviously made some fellow collectors thinking. This is shown by the reactions that I received.
The "Riding Raincoat", the DAF RR, appears to be driven on the front wheel only, and a 1-wheel driven 3-wheeled vehicle at that time was seen as "motorcycle with sidecar" by the RDW (Dutch organisation for vehicle registration). So.... Unfortunately this cart has not been put on a stamp, but only on a postcard that can be bought together with a sheet of Personalised Stamps and 3 other cards about the DAF-museum.
But all the reactions justify to look further into this theme.

Earlier we had an article about the Bubblecar, in which especially the mini-cars like the Zündapp Janus (Klein aber Mein), the BMW Isetta (in Italy also known as ISO), Peel Trident and the Goggo's were described. In the former article we started with various toys, and travelled along the 3-wheeled Piaggio to arrive at electric motorcycles, but off course there are more of this kind of difficult to nominate items. For instance the Brütsch Mopetta sold by Opel.

Brütsch Mopetta
Brütsch Mopetta

But to start at the beginning: why was there such a boom in small cars, called midget-cars, after the second World War? Off course because there was a shortage in raw materials and people did not have much money to spend. But there were also other reasons.
Just like the Bayrisch BMW, Berlin based Heinkel and the Messerschimitt factories in Augsburg, known for their fighter planes, were not allowed after the war to produce material that can be used for war purposes. Heinkel started to build scooters, from which later their "Kleinwagen roller", the Trojan, evolved. From the Heinkels I only know a red franking stamp with the Trojan.
Messerschimidt started with the production of the Kabinenroller (KR) 175, and later the 200 with its nickname "Die Flotte Flitzer" (the fast flasher).
This model had been developed by engineer Fritz Fend, an ex-Luftwaffe officer. This engineer was already working for Messerschmitt during the war, in the department that was responsible for the fighter planes, and he was one of the people that developed the first real jet engine powered plane, the ME 262. May be this is the origin of the Dutch nickname of the Messerschmitt: the plane without wings.

Messerschmitt: rear wheel driven 2-seater

The german Post earlier issued postal stationary with on it, next to the jet fighter and Mr. Messerschmitt, an image of the KR.

Postal stationary German Post with Messerschmitt

This cart can also be found on a stamp from Spanish Andorra (issued 15-10-2004) in the series "History of the car". The KR1 (175cc) depicted on this stamp is in the Museu Nacional de l'Automobil te Encamp in Andorra.

Stamp Spanish Andorra with Messerschmitt

Off course there are more 3-wheelers that obey the criteria to belong to the vehicle category motorcycles. Like in Italy, where we find the Tempo vehicles, and where Vespa, Piaggio and Lambretta have made a number of different 3–wheelers, from small trucks to personal transporters.

Tempo Hanseat 3-wheeler
Tempo Hanseat 3-wheeler

 Piaggio Ape Cross
Piaggio Ape Cross

Lambretta Helicak 3 frontseater
Lambretta Helicak 3 frontseater

Lambretta still makes vehicles for disabled under the name Nippi in England. A wheelchair can be driven on the backside on the vehicle and off you go.

Lambretta Nippi wheelchair-scooter
Nippi 3-wheeler for wheelchair users

Lambretta, part of Innocenti Lambro, once have founded a subsidiary in India under the name Scooter India Limited (SIL) and you guess, there they make almost all Tuck-Tucks.

Lambro 3-wheeler
Lambro 3-wheeler

Tuck-tuck on stamp
Tuck-tuck on stamp

Also in many other countries 3-wheelers were built. Like in France, where the Avolette was born.

Avolette 3-wheeler
Avolette from France

In Tjecho-Slowakia small cars with a canvas coach-work were built: the Velorex (first called OSKar, with Manet engine). Precisely, the one from the sidecars, and they were equipped with CZ and JAWA engines.

Postal stationary with Velorex
Postal stationary with Velorex and special cancelation stamp

Stamp with Velorex
Postal stamp with Velorex

And also in the Netherlands several of those light vehicles were built, amongst others the Borgman, the Shelterm the Schmidts and the one shown below, the already bigger 3-wheeler: the Hoen.

Hoen 3-wheeler
Hoen 3-wheeler built in the Netherlands

Recently (December 1st 2005) the Dutch traffic law has been updated, but until that date all these vehicles were called scooter / motorcycle with sidecar.
A more extreme discussion can be held about 3-wheelers with electrical driving, and this is a categrory that we will certainly meet more often in the future.
In the 70-ies we already had the Amsterdam "Whitecar", with his name derived from the white bicycle plan. An electrically driven 3-wheeled car, that could be used by anybody. The Amsterdam citizens soon called it in the Jewish way the Witzcar, which it indeed appeared to be after some years.

Whitecar, also called Witzcar
The Whitecar

But also that one does not look so strange anymore, with the rise of the electrically powered vehicles. Many E-3-wheelers will probably follow, and also these we will compare with our criteria for a motorcycle. And who knows what the future will bring???????

Future 3-wheeler?
The future?

Hans de Kloet


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