The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

Previous Next

Lot 245

1961 Messerschmitt KR 200 Cabrio

  • ID No. 74947

Sold for $52,900

The first car in the collection; professionally restored by microcar expert Peter Svilans.


Manufacturer: Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau

Origin: Regensburg, Germany

Production: est. 30,000 (all types)

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

Displacement: 191 cc

Power: 9.5 hp

Length: 9 ft. 25 in.

Identification No. 74947

Towards the latter half of 1958, Fritz Fend and Valentin Knott had had a chance to explore a number of new vehicle projects within their fledgling company. The Kabinenroller was in need of a general overhaul to make it more cost effective and more attractive to a buying public that was enjoying a wider field of potential cars.

The Karo buyer could now choose from a completely new selection of bright, vibrant color schemes. Gone were the fifties two-tones, replaced by single tones in a wide range of colors, including a fashionable range of blue and silver metallic shades that reflected the new, popular interest in aircraft and space. The interior trim received an overdue revision. While previous models were individually painted inside the tub and nose in a color matching the trim, the new cars were now all black inside, regardless of the vinyl color. The complex, difficult-to-machine wooden trim pieces below the canopy were dropped. The fancy “sunburst” side panel was replaced by a plain one with an easier to make straight piping strip. The little-seen, deluxe plaid special trim of the old cars was replaced by the snakeskin-print vinyl left over from the KR 201.

One item that had been under scrutiny from the early days was a removable soft top as a cooler alternative to the Plexiglas bubble. The sleek KR 201 roadster top was a viable solution, but the scissor frame and special windshield were expensive to make, to say nothing of the ineffective, clear, flexible snap-on side curtains. Taking the idea a step further, a cabrio top was designed for the Messerschmitt, the technical term, cabriolet, meaning a soft top with fixed side window frames. The roof fabric snapped onto the window frames, kept tight by short, loose transverse bows, and was attached to a swiveling hoop at the rear. Interchangeable with the bubble, it worked very well, and the entire assembly was offered as a retrofit for earlier cars. The prototype cabrio still had the Augsburg Eagle on the nose, but this was touched out on publicity pictures, as all genuine factory cabrios sported the FMR diamonds.

This particular car has somewhat of a special place in the collection. Mr. Weiner’s original, eclectic car collection had just seen the addition of a strange vehicle called a Messerschmitt, bought sight-unseen out of the Midwest. He asked the owner of the shop looking after his sports cars if there was anyone who knew these cars. The owner replied, “Yes, and he lives just three miles from your factory!”

Noted microcar enthusiast, restorer, and expert Peter Svilans, who exposed Bruce early on to the microcar hobby and subsequently served as the museum’s curator, shared the following story about his experience with the car.

“Bruce, along with his long-time business partner, came by and opened the door to my 100-year old barn to see a shiny red, completely restored Messerschmitt. We met the following day, and while the car was not for sale, an agreement to restore his car was reached amidst a living room floor covered with sales brochures. Typically the visionary, Mr. Weiner was already thinking far ahead, seeing the potential for these many and varied bubble cars in terms of a full-blown museum.

This Canadian-market factory cabrio was pulled out of a farmer’s field. Years of painstaking restoration, including fabrication of the floors and bulkhead by a skilled panelbeater, returned the car to its correct appearance. It features a rare “Tiger” seat and faux-snakeskin accents. Overall, it was in my ownership for some 20 years, including a stint in the Yankee Candle Museum.

A significant car for the museum, it is, in a way, largely responsible in part for its creation.”

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