As I was zipping over to Fry's yesterday to pick up a little something for my latest project, I spotted a couple on the highway proudly driving a Smart Fortwo, a somewhat defiant choice of automobile in a state obsessed with transparently large and underutilized pickup trucks. The practical little transport was especially conspicuous here in north Dallas where the soccer queens reign from the seats of their Excursions and H3's.
For me, it was a refreshing sight and something I'd love to see more of. I couldn't help but shout "Good for you!" vainly through my windshield and across two lanes of traffic.
Microcars are not only the ideal transport for the intra-city drives and lone commutes that make up most people's wheel time, but, as I suddenly realized in that moment, they're absolutely perfect for the interstate road trips loved by faithful guests of the Roadside Resort, when all a person needs is a motor, a CD player and a space for their overnight bag. And just imagine how easy all those U-turns would be, looking for the right back road that leads to the world's largest whatever.
What with regular unleaded at $3.50 a gallon, I can't help but imagine — delusionally, I'm sure — an impending explosion of subcompacts and microcars the likes of which sprang up around Europe following World War II, when resources were hard to come by. Sleek little F.G.L. roadsters, bubble-shaped Chanteclers and wonderfully comical Rolleras dart to and fro, doing exactly what a car was meant to do: get someone where he's going. And they'd do it in fabulously offbeat, and resurgently Googie-esque, style.
Until this afternoon, when I discovered the existence of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia, I had no idea just what a variety of microcars existed. Some of the clever features, like the pop-top of this 1960 Messerschmitt KR-200 or the front door of this 1961 Isetta 300, are truly inspiring. And who would not love to be seen zipping around behind the wheel of this Logan's Run-style 1972 Bond Bug? The possibilities for revival models seem endless.
You know, this inspires me to design my own little microcar and take a trip out to Madison to share in the history of scaled-down automania. I'll just have to be sure and incorporate a roomy bubble trunk for my camera equipment.