From the sky to the road

In 1953 a collaboration with the engineer Fritz Fend gave rise to the production of a small three-wheeled car called the Kabinroller.

Willy Messerschmitt started his activities in the technical office of Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG, out of which grew Messerschmitt AG at the end of the 1930s, production activity always being linked to the military and aeronautics.

After the Second World War, however, in 1948 the company was not allowed to produce aircraft any more due to their supply of so many planes to the Luftwaffe, some of them amongst the most refined and deadly aircraft of the time.

This ban meant that the Bamberg-based company concentrated on a fallback, starting production of sewing machines and irons.

In 1953 a collaboration with the engineer Fritz Fend gave rise to the production of a small three-wheeled car called the Kabinroller (motorized scooter), a name that, although abbreviated, remained present in the final name of the car, the KR175. The little car had lines resembling a plane and even the tandem arrangement of the two seats was clearly aeronautics-inspired. Its production began in 1953 and ended in 1955, when the KR200 appeared. It only survived until 1956, when the ban on producing aircraft was lifted and Messerschmitt resumed making them.

The fate of the small car was not yet sealed, however, as the KR200 re-entered production, also joined by the KR201 convertible version.

The creator of the original car, Fritz Fend with the help of Willy Messerschmitt, founded FMR (Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau Regensburg), which continued to use the Messerschmitt brand name and from 1957 to 1961 produced the TG500 model, developed on the KR175 platform, still maintaining the aircraft-style lines but, unlike the original, it had four wheels. Only about 320 examples of the TG500 model were produced.

The adventure of the little Messerschmitt came to its final end in 1964.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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