The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 562

1954 Mi-Val Tipo MO Mivalino

  • ID No. 30231

Sold for $83,375

An extraordinary, original, and 300-kilometer Italian-licensed Messerschmitt acquired from its original owners.


Manufacturer: Metalmeccanica Italiana Valtrompio s.p.a.

Origin: Brescia, Italy

Production: est. 100

Motor: Motocarrozzetta 2-stroke

Displacement: 171.7 cc

Power: 9 hp

Length: 9 ft. 3 in.

Identification No. 30321

In November 1953, Metalmeccanica Italiana Valtrompio s.p.a., of Brescia, Italy, maker of Mi-Val motorcycles, took a license to produce the Messerschmitt KR 175. The company had begun as a manufacturer of machine tools, but technical director and engineer Ettore Minganti entered into partnership with gunsmith Pier Giuseppe Beretta, Giuseppe Benelli, and William Castelbarco Albani. The partners provided funding and technical support to create a new factory intended to produce cheap transportation, which was greatly in demand in post-war Italy.

In 1950, they embarked on the production of lightweight motorcycles. The first model, the 125T, was a near copy of the DKW 125. Taking the name Mi-Val, an acronym of the company title, the firm applied the marque to their products. Soon, they were among the most popular in Italy during the 1950s. Inexpensive but robust, they also began offering more upscale features in search of wider markets. Four-stroke models were also introduced in displacements of 125, 175, and 200 cubic centimeters, but these did not achieve the great popularity of the 125T. The company built its own engines, some featuring twin overhead cams. Others were supplied to Norman Cycles, of Britain, for the Nippy III moped.

Components for the Messerschmitt variant were imported from Germany, but Mi-Val used their own 171.7-cubic centimeter Motocarrozzetta two-stroke engine and production began towards the end of 1954. Christened “Mivalino,” the vehicle enjoyed a certain vogue. One was used as the personal transporter for Sam Lowry, played by Jonathan Pryce in the 1985 Terry Gilliam cult film Brazil. Rigged to look like it was powered by a small jet engine, the car was destroyed in a spectacular fire. Another Mivalino film cameo came in the 1991 Anjelica Huston movie The Addams Family, where it was driven by Cousin Itt. Production, however, was fairly short-lived, ending in 1955 or ’56, and it is believed that no more than 100 were built.

This Mivalino came from the family owning the oldest Ford dealership in Rome, which was also a Mi-Val dealer. As the original owners, they drove it barely 300 kilometers, which is the mileage it shows today. The archetypal “bubbletop” three-wheeler, it is in exceptional, original condition. Clearly undisturbed, it has a few blemishes on the brightwork, the marks of age. The light green paint, however, is in very good condition and holds an excellent shine. The drivetrain is clean, but it shows considerable patina, as does the interior, whose rubber floor mat has a few stains but no tears. Remarkably, the bubble canopy has endured no discoloration, scratches, or fractures.

All Mi-Val badging is intact, as are all instruments and even the handlebar grips. The original spare tire is housed in the tail. A most remarkable example of a very rare conveyance, this exceptional Mivalino is without peer in the entire realm of microcars. This example came into the ownership of the museum after an astonishing inquiry was made asking if the museum would be interested in acquiring the car, which had never been sold by the dealer’s family and never been titled! The tremendous documentation includes copies of some of the original promotional literature, the original certificate of origin from Metalmeccanica Italiana Valtrompio s.p.a., and other Italian language documents that typically do not remain with cars of any stature.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more