The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

Previous Next

Lot 301

1956 Heinkel Kabine 153

  • ID No. 511928

Sold for $54,050

Rare, fully restored Heinkel with highest spec 204 cc motor.


Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel Fahrzeugbau

Origin: Stuttgart, Germany

Production: 5,537

Motor: Heinkel 1-cyl, 4-stroke

Displacement: 204 cc

Power: 10 hp

Length: 8 ft. 4 in.

Identification No. 511928 (motor)

Accomplished engineer Professor Ernst Heinkel realized his goal of building his own version of the Iso Isetta, equipping it with a smaller engine but nevertheless ensuring that it would be lighter and faster.

Like Willy Messerschmitt, Heinkel was prohibited from building aircraft and was looking for suitable work for his factories. He had shrewdly noted an increasing interest in microcars and looked about for inspiration. Yet, at the 1954 Geneva Salon, the popular Iso Isetta appeared to be, to the trained eye of the experienced aircraft builder, too heavy. Heinkel would opt for a full monocoque shell, resulting in a vehicle a full 100 kilograms lighter. Lacking funds for large presses, Heinkel could approach his customers Vidal & Sohn, makers of the Tempo, which used the Heinkel motor, to form the body shell. The 175-cubic centimeter motor used in the Tourist scooter, already in production, was deemed to be superior to the twin-piston single powering the Iso. The Kabine’s rounded shape, with its Messerschmitt-like tail, would be aerodynamically more efficient.

Heinkel had trodden carefully and had preliminary discussions with Munich, explaining his intended design differences and also declaring his intention not to copy the BMW Isetta’s iconic folding steering column. An agreement satisfactory to both sides was reached.

October 1956 saw the introduction of a new Kabine, the Type 153 (three-wheeler) and the Type 154 (four-wheeler), which featured an enlarged version of the trusty four-stroke motor, itself a rarity amongst the vast majority of smoking two-strokes on the market. The new model also saw the end of the “water-cooled spare wheel” problem, which manifested itself during every rainstorm; the solution to which was a simple drain hole in the wheel storage well. Half of production went to York Nobel in England, where three wheelers had a tax advantage. This success, in turn, inspired faltering BMW to market their own three-wheeler version of the Isetta across the channel, bringing them considerable success. Production of the type continued until the restart of aircraft production and the death of Heinkel in 1958.

The Kabine was produced in three variants. The first, introduced in March 1956, was the 173-cubic centimeter three-wheeler Type 150. The second, offered from October 1956, was the 198-cubic centimeter three-wheeler Type 153, and the third, offered from October 1956, was the 204-cubic centimeter four-wheeler Type 154. This particular example is a superb example of this highest specification Heinkel, and it has been fully restored in black with a matching interior. To the veteran and amateur microcar enthusiast alike, this is a factory correct presentation of a delightful bubble car that was remarkably advanced and well-engineered for its era.

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

+1 864 313 6844
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

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
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

+1 203 912 7168
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

+1 415 302 2247
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

+1 617 513 0388
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

+1 954 566 2209
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

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

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

+1 310 559 4575
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

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

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

+1 805 231 6410
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

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
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

+1 519 352 4575
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

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
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

+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

+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

+1 310 559 4575
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

+31 653 84 19 60
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