The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 625

1955 Kroboth Allwetter-Roller

  • ID No. 5415

Sold for $80,500


A show quality restoration of a Bavarian microcar.



SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau Gustav Kroboth

Origin: Seestall, Bavaria, Germany

Production: 55

Motor: Fichtel & Sachs 1-cyl, 2-stroke

Displacement: 175 cc

Power: 9 hp

Length: 9 ft. 2 in.

Identification No. 5415



Far from being an amateur upstart, Gustav Kroboth had already been a car constructor of note in his native Bohemia in pre-war Czechoslovakia. He had built 150 examples of his BMW Dixi-like “Favorit,” with financial assistance from a thread factory owner, at his plant in Šternberk. In 1945, the Czechs expelled the mostly German-speaking population from the Sudetenland, and Kroboth found himself in neighboring Bavaria. Here, he scrounged parts from abandoned military vehicles and, with an ingrained resourcefulness, built wooden toys, poppy seed grinders, and equipment for the local farmers. The series-production of poppy seed grinders produced enough income to finance his next project. From 1951 to 1955, he produced his iconic bell-nosed scooter, which closely resembled the Ski-Doo snowmobile and was powered by Sachs motors.



The summer of 1953 was a complete washout, with record amounts of rain; thus, resulting in a serious detrimental effect on the German motorcycle industry. Buyers now reconsidered their potential two-wheeler purchases and looked towards the three-wheelers, which offered a modicum of weather protection. Hence the 1953 Messerschmitt slogan: “Go scootering despite the rain.”



Unlike the huge motorcycle firms, which steered like the Titanic, the small two-wheeler firms found it much easier to change direction, and Kroboth had his “Allwetter-Roller” (all-weather scooter) ready sooner than most. He used his pre-war experience with central-tube frames to build his prototype. It used transverse leaf springs up front and longitudinal ones on both sides of the Sachs two-stroke at the rear. Steering gear was brought in from ZF in Friedrichshafen, and the mechanical drum brakes were from ATE. The steel bodywork of the prototype was hammered out by local firms in the rounded idiom of the day. Tilting the bench seat gave access to two storage compartments on either side of the motor. The column-mounted shifter was also high fashion for the times.



The nearby Bavarian mountains provided plenty of winding roads for testing, and the little three-wheeler soon accumulated 20,000 test kilometers. The car was completely dismantled and examined, and design alterations were made. A bank loan provided for the building of a small factory. August 1954 saw the first deliveries to customers. Kroboth insisted that it was not a replacement for a “real” car, but that it was a motorcycle that had ease of maintenance along with car-like comfort. The production model was now fitted with small doors and a windshield courtesy of Volkswagen. Side-screens and a heater could be added for all-weather driving. Either the Sachs 175 motor or the ILO 200 were available, with an optional electric start. The literature touted the real car steering wheel as opposed to the Messerschmitt’s handlebar. “There was hardly a car with as much room,” and it was noted that the Kroboth driver must be content with a 45–50 mph top speed.



Preparations for series production had included a major financial outlay for the purchase of body-stamping tools from Esslingen. The small but steady output of cars afforded him even more bank credit. Kroboth investigated every opportunity for finding a buyer for a production license, or even a sponsor. He spoke to optimistic motorcycle dealers, but the motorcycle companies they were representing were failing as well. Talks with the large Maico firm and a Dutch bicycle firm came to naught. The reality was that the public wanted real cars, not three-wheelers trailing a cloud of two-stroke smoke. The company assembled its last vehicles in the summer of 1955 before the machine tools and property were sold to cover the accumulated debt, and Gustav Kroboth found a new career as a driving instructor. This happy little example has been fully restored and is liveried in red with a tan top and interior. Wonderfully presented, it exhibits marvelous fit and finish throughout and is certainly a show contender.

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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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

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

David Swig

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California, United States

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

Don Rose

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United States

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

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

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

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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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

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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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Ontario, Canada

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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United Kingdom

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

Paul Darvill

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

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

Pete Fisher

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+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

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

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

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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United Kingdom

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