Red Bug Electric

1924 Red Bug Electric Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 7, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

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.

Update: Sold $4,958.

1952 Dick Tricycle

1952 Dick Tricycle

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 8, 2019

Photo – Artcurial

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.

Update: Sold $12,171.

Mochet CM-125

1954 Mochet CM-125 Luxe

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.

Update: Sold $25,200.

Comuta-Car

1979 Comuta-Car

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.

Soviet Microcars

Three Soviet Microcars

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 26, 2018


1969 ZAZ-965A

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.


1967 ZAZ-968A

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.

Update: Sold $719.

Mini-Comtesse

1974 ACOMA Mini-Comtesse

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.

Update: Sold $1,089.

Ligier JS4

1980 Ligier JS4

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.

Update: Sold $2,987.

Lambretta Mink

1968 Lambretta Mink Prototype

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 8, 2017

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Primarily known for their scooters, Lambretta was a brand name owned by Innocenti. They operated out of Milan between 1947 (the height of scooter-mania in Italy) and 1972 (when both brands were sold to British Leyland – a death sentence).

Lambretta did try their hand at vehicles other than scooters, but their products apparently never progressed beyond three wheels. There were commercial vehicles, and this prototype microcar. This car was not built by the Lambretta factory but was constructed by the UK Lambretta importer. Production never began and this was the only example made.

Top speed of this Lambretta scooter-powered (200cc, single-cylinder) microcar is 30 mph. It’s a one-off, 4,000-mile car and it should bring between $11,500-$16,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $15,866.

Three Italian Microcars

1975 Casalini Sulky

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 8, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Casalini bills itself as the oldest microcar company in the world. Not the first, the oldest. They sold their first microcar in 1969 and are still selling tiny vehicles in Europe today. They built this thing – with slight modifications over time – from 1971 through 2000.

Let’s talk about that name, “Sulky.” It seems like it would only by driven by depressed divorcees and people who just failed out of graduate school. Just imagine passing a parade of these things on the highway, all of the drivers sobbing and listening to Adele (okay, so a sulky is technically a type of one-seat horse-drawn carriage).

This car is powered by a 50cc single-cylinder (later cars had 60cc singles then 250cc twins) situated above the rear wheels (which are driven). While the outside of this car looks a little rough, the photos of the engine compartment make it seem very clean, so it might actually be a runner. It will sell at no reserve and you can see more photos here.

Update: Sold $1,701.


1960 Lambretta Li 175

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 8, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Innocenti’s fame stems mostly from their line of Lambretta scooters that sold like crazy in Italy after WWII. They built a lot of cars too, but the Lambretta name is more well known than Innocenti’s. The first three-wheelers were badged as Lambrettas but later trucklets (there were vans too) were called the Innocenti Lambro.

This pickup model has a 175cc single-cylinder engine making 7 horsepower. This vehicle is listed in the auction catalog as a “circa 1960 Innocenti Lambro”, which, when coupled with the engine size, raises some questions. If it’s truly an Innocenti Lambro, it would be a Lambro 175 model, which was built from 1963 through 1965. There were also Lambretta-badged pickups with a 175cc engine built from 1959 through 1963. The real giveaway is the badging on it which clearly makes it a Lambretta Li 175, likely a Series 2 model at that. Top speed is 38 mph in case you’re hellbent on setting land speed records.

These aren’t seen too often today (especially outside of Italy) and this one, which is kind of rough, should sell for between $1,875-$2,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,403.


1962 Moto Guzzi Ercole

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 8, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

This is (at least) the third commercial vehicle produced by a motorcycle manufacturer that we’ve featured. In the vein of the famous Vespa Ape and Lambretti Lambro, the Moto Guzzi Ercole is a scooter-based pickup truck (though this one seems larger). The Ercole was first introduced in 1946 by Moto Guzzi, Europe’s oldest continuously operating motorcycle manufacturer.

The Ercole would be made through 1980 and this one is powered by a hefty 500cc single-cylinder engine. This three-wheeler is really just a motorcycle up front (the inside of the “passenger compartment” is literally just a motorcycle) with a steel cage wrapped around it. The rear pickup bed is a dumper, which is nice. It will sell at no reserve. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,403.

Lambretta Li 175

1960 Lambretta Li 175

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 8, 2017

Photo – Brightwells

Innocenti’s fame stems mostly from their line of Lambretta scooters that sold like crazy in Italy after WWII. They built a lot of cars too, but the Lambretta name is more well known than Innocenti’s. The first three-wheelers were badged as Lambrettas but later trucklets (there were vans too) were called the Innocenti Lambro.

This pickup model has a 175cc single-cylinder engine making 7 horsepower. This vehicle is listed in the auction catalog as a “circa 1960 Innocenti Lambro”, which, when coupled with the engine size, raises some questions. If it’s truly an Innocenti Lambro, it would be a Lambro 175 model, which was built from 1963 through 1965. There were also Lambretta-badged pickups with a 175cc engine built from 1959 through 1963. The real giveaway is the badging on it which clearly makes it a Lambretta Li 175, likely a Series 2 model at that. Top speed is 38 mph in case you’re hellbent on setting land speed records.

These aren’t seen too often today (especially outside of Italy) and this one, which is kind of rough, should sell for between $1,875-$2,500. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $3,403.