Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | October 19, 2019
The Flipper was built by SEAB (Societe d’Exploitation et d’Application des Brevet) between 1978 and 1984. The company gained exposure to building plastic-bodied cars by doing just that for the Citroen Mehari. Also, gotta love any company whose official name includes the word “exploitation.”
The Flipper was built as two different models (a third never entered production), all of which were “sans permis” – meaning they could be driven without a license. That is, they are small enough not to qualify as cars in France. Power is from a 47cc Sachs single-cylinder engine. Despite its looks, it is not amphibious.
And it was only available in beige or brown. The coolest part about it is that it doesn’t have a reverse gear. Instead, it has a front axle that pivots all the way around. So to go backward, just keep turning the steering wheel until you start going backward. The Flipper II went about things more traditionally. It’s kind of weird. Kind of French. Kind of cool. This “survivor-level” car should bring between $880-$1,700. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Alcacer do Sal, Portugal | September 20-21, 2019
This is the first car we’ve ever featured that was built by a Portuguese company. Specifically, the Sado 550 was built by Entreposto Comercial SA, a company that specialized in trailers and campers.
Only about 500 were built between 1982 and 1984. They are powered by a 527cc two-cylinder engine from Daihatsu that makes 28 horsepower. The engine is mounted up front and appears to drive the rear wheels through a four-speed transmission.
Not many of these remain, although they can still occasionally be spotted in Portugal. This one is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM’s sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Ft. Lauderdale, Florida | March 29-30, 2019
1965 Goggomobil TS300 Cabriolet
The Goggomobil was built by Hans Glas GmbH between 1955 and 1969. There were a number of different models offered, with the TS coupe model available in TS250 or TS300 form.
They are powered by a 15 horsepower, 293cc 2-stroke twin. The cabriolet is very rare, with only seven examples produced. This former museum car carries a pre-sale estimate of $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $20,350.
1958 Biscuter 200-1 Furgoneta
The Biscuter was a microcar built by Autonacional of Spain. It is a descendant of Gabriel Voisin‘s post-war Biscooter French microcar. Different models were available, including the Pegasin sports car and this Furgoneta commercial van.
Power here is from a 197cc 2-stroke single-cylinder making a whopping nine horsepower. It’s wearing a wrap, which is an interesting thing to do to a classic car. Not many examples remain, and this one sports some pretty awesome wood work. It should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019
The Smith Flyer went on sale in 1916, and it was a two-seat buckboard driven by a fifth wheel located out back. Briggs & Stratton bought the design in 1919, and it was sold as the Briggs & Stratton flyer thereafter. In 1924, they sold the rights to the Automotive Electric Service Corporation, who began to market the cars as the Red Bug (and sometimes the Auto Red Bug).
Between 1924 and 1928, two versions were offered: a gas-powered single-cylinder car and an electric one. They were more or less identical in looks and both cost $150. This 12-volt electric-powered version has only four wheels and was restored by its current owner.
Yes, these are real cars that you should be able to register for the road. The Indian motorcycle company allegedly bought the design in 1930, but no one really seems to know what happened, and they disappeared from the automotive landscape (though I couldn’t imagine driving one in the 1930s with a huge Duesenberg bearing down on you, much less an SUV today). This one should sell for between $11,000-$17,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019
Well, with some confidence I can truly say I never thought I’d type out the words “Dick Tricycle.” But alas, here we are. Dick was a French coachbuilder… and I can find no other information about them.
But apparently in 1952 they bodied this diminutive three-wheeler. Power is from a horizontal Ducati 175cc single-cylinder engine. The rear wheel is the driven wheel, and interior seating is a one-by-one arrangement with the passenger behind the driver.
This unique one-off was restored long ago and can now be yours for between $11,000-$17,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Los Angles, California | December 8, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Georges Mochet built microcars in Puteaux between 1946 and 1958. Prior to that he built pedal-powered cars under the Velocar name. But when he started powering them (even in desperate, post-war Europe, people weren’t necessarily thrilled with having to pedal), sales took off.
Early cars were kind of bizarre, but the company hit their stride once the Mochet Type K gave way to the CM-125. Power in this little runabout is from a 125cc single-cylinder engine that made five horsepower. That may sound sad, but in France at the time that meant you didn’t even need a driver’s license to operate one (and they are street legal). It would even evolve a commercial variant.
This example was part of the Bruce Weiner collection, where it was restored. It is now offered with an estimate of $35,000-$45,000. Find out more here and see the rest of the RM Sotheby’s Petersen lineup here.
Offered by Mecum | Chicago, Illinois | October 25-27, 2018
Photo – Mecum
The Sebring-Vanguard CitiCar was an electric microcar built between 1974 and 1977. This tiny wedged-shaped, bug-eyed thing was available in some very 1970s colors. About 2,300 were built. Hilariously, the company billed themselves as America’s sixth-largest automobile manufacturer, which was technically true.
The design was purchased by Commuter Vehicles Inc. in 1979. This new company built pretty much the same car, but badged as the Comuta-Car, with a Comuta-Van variant available as well (but mostly for the Postal Service). Production lasted through 1982 and some kits may have been sold after that. By then, 2,144 Comuta-Cars had been built.
This example is fitted with a 12 horsepower electric motor that runs on four batteries. It has a terrifying 50-mph speedometer and a plastic body. It will sell at no reserve, so go get it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 26, 2018
Photo – Brightwells
The Zaporizhia Automobile Plant in Ukraine has been producing cars under the ZAZ brand since 1960. They’ve also built cars from other manufacturers for local sale and built some heavy trucks and buses as well.
Zaporozhets were a series of microcars produced between 1960 and 1994, with the ZAZ-965 built in two series between 1960 and 1969. This car is listed in the catalog as a 1969 965. But the 1969 model was actually the ZAZ-965A. It’s powered by a rear-mounted 887cc V-4 capable of 27 horsepower.
When production ended in 1969, 322,116 examples of all types had been built. This car was imported to the U.K. from Lithuania and is all-original. You can read more here.
Update: Sold $475.
1987 SMZ S-3d
Photo – Brightwells
The SMZ was a microcar built in Russia and between 1970 and 1997 they built a car called the S-3d – this. Based on the ZAZ 695, it features a 346cc single-cylinder engine from an earlier model. Designed as a car for invalids, this car was technically classified as a motorcycle in Russia.
They built 223,051 of these – quite a lot – but they still aren’t that common. This original example was imported into the U.K. from Lithuania in 2016 and will sell at no reserve. Click here for more from Brightwells.
Update: Sold $719.
Photo – Brightwells
Here’s another Lithuanian import into the U.K. from the same collection. It’s another Zaporozhets, but slightly larger than the ZAZ-965. The “second generation” of these cars were introduced in 1966 as the ZAZ-966. It would evolve into the ZAZ-968 in 1971 and this model would last through 1980, while the later 968M would last through 1994.
Power here is from a 1.2-liter V4 capable of 30 horsepower. The 968A was actually built between 1973 and 1980 and had some safety improvements, like a plastic dashboard instead of a metal one designed for maximum carnage. This one is also no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 11, 2018
Photo – Brightwells
ACOMA sarl of Angers, France, existed between 1975 and 1984. They were one of the pioneering French microcar manufacturers and were the largest such manufacturer in France at the end of the 1970s. This, the Mini-Comtesse, was their first model.
The tiny body is made of fiberglass. It features gullwing doors, so you can impress your supercar-driving neighbors. The engine is a 49cc single-cylinder and the single-seat interior is sparse at best. This is technically a five-wheeled vehicle – there is single front wheel (that is the driven wheel) and two wheels out back. There are also two tiny wheels outboard of the driven wheel to prevent Mr. Bean-style Reliant Robin tipovers.
ACOMA produced later models which all seem to be derivative takes on this car. For instance, the later Super Comtesse is a traditional four-wheeler that looks like a construction barrel had a love child with a cartoon pig. Interesting stuff. If you like microcars, this is an interesting one. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Offered by Historics at Brooklands | November 25, 2017
Photo – Historics at Brookands
Guy Ligier was a racing driver who got his start in the 1950s after his career as a rugby player ended. From the driver’s seat, Ligier transitioned to Formula One team owner. His Equipe Ligier team made over 300 starts between 1976 and 1996 (it became Prost Grand Prix for 1997). They managed to win a few races in the 70s and 80s.
So I’m sure you’re thinking “This little box on wheels does not look like something that a proper F1 manufacturer should be making.” But Ligier was all over the board. They built mid-engined sports cars and in 1980 they introduced this, the two-seater JS4. It’s powered by a rear-mounted three horsepower 50cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Built between 1980 and 1983, the company moved nearly 7,000 of them in 1980 alone.
Equipe Ligier used one as a pit vehicle at F1 races (that car still exists and is currently located at one of America’s greatest car museums in Nashville). Ligier actually still builds and sells microcars… so I guess it turns out this is exactly what kind of road car an F1 team should be making. Who knew? This one is selling at no reserve. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.