Posts Tagged ‘Roadster’

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One of the smallest convertible cars ever produced is the 1957 Messerschmitt KR 201 Roadster. Built by the aircraft manufacturer of the same name, in the frugal era of post-war Europe, this little gem, which boasts 87 mpg, in its heyday broke all speed records of its class in every trial.

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Unlike most Messerschmitts that came before it, this KR 201 Roadster shed its plexiglass cockpit bubble for something a bit sportier– a convertible top. It and the other Roadster-class details made a car so cartoonish in nature appear surprisingly elegant. The polished chrome, the candy red paint and the snakeskin interior make this little leopard a luxurious ride.

The KR 201 version of the popular KR 200 class is possibly the most rare Messerschmitt bubble car one could find. This model has been faithfully restored to an outstanding level of quality, poised to fetch between $60,000 and $70,000 at auction this weekend. It may be one of the tiniest convertible cars ever produced, but it’ll be one of the big stories at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Auction.

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The Type 57

Built between 1934 and 1939, the Type 57 was Bugatti’s swan song. It was developed by Jean Bugatti, and it simplified the Miller DOHC drive train that had been appropriated for the Types 50, 51 and 55, substituting a chain of gears at the rear of the engine to drive the camshafts.

The car would, generally speaking, be bought in two series with four variations: T57, T57C (with compressor), T57S (short, low-slung chassis) and T57SC (same thing with blower). There were four “standard” body styles available for each chassis, in theory at least. They were Galibier (four-door sedan), Ventoux (two-door, four-seat coupe), Stelvio (two-door, four-seat cabriolet), Atalante (two-door, two-seat coupe) and Aravis (two-door, two-seat cabriolet).

This, however, does not account for the various special T57s, including the numerous coachbuilders across Europe who created one-offs. It also does not account for the Grand Raid roadster, which was essentially a prototype that preceded the famous 57S.

The offering of such a car is not only incredibly rare but tremendously important. In fact, this car is documented in Bugatti 57 Sport by Pierre-Yves Laugier and in the book The Bugatti Type 57S by Bernhard Simon & Julius Kruta. Both of these rare books will walk an interested party through the development of the Type 57, particularly the prototype examples.