The world fell in love with automobiles since the launch of its very first model. Since then, cars have continuously evolved from steam to electrically powered. The history of cars is long and filled with memorable vehicles that are either still being used or appreciatively collected today. One type of cars in the vast history of automobiles that are also collectibles, but not vastly known are microcars.
1. The Mini Automobile
Microcars are also known as cyclecars or bubble cars because of their small, rounded shape. They are mini cars that are smaller than Volkswagen beetles. There is no clear definition because different countries have different licensing and tax classifications for the vehicles – which causes multiple restrictions on aspects like engine size.
Typically, microcars are vehicles with either three or four wheels. Some microcars have evolved to become battery electric cars.
2. History of Microcars
Microcars became popular in the 1940’s. They were known as cyclecars before the first world war. Originally produced in 1910, they were built on motorcycles and were inexpensive. Cyclecars were popular for motor racing in the 1920’s. At the end of the second world war, they became known as microcars and were designed to be affordable and get people around quickly. The rounded physical feature in 1960 resulted in the coined term “bubble car”. It was very popular in Europe and mainly manufactured in Germany. Reliant, a UK manufacturer, was the last major manufacturer of microcars and had ceased production in 1998.
3. Microcar Features
Most microcars come with standard features:
- Only seats 2 people
- No reverse gear
- 1 wheel drive
- Lifting bodywork instead of doors
- 6”-8” road wheels
- Cable operated brakes
Some modern models do permit all gears to be operable in forward and reverse gear.
4. Performance and Perks
Being small has a lot of perks. First, parking is easy. Microcars can be parked perpendicular in parallel spots and even lifted by hand for convenient maneuvering. Some places allow them to be parked in motorcycle spots as well. Some models due exceptionally well on icy roads and taking little space on the road means easily avoiding obstacles. Although they can’t speed race down the highway, mileage is extremely efficient. Overall, it is a nifty car to get you around.
Due to size, countries such as France and Austria classify microcars as motorcycles for tax and insurance purposes. This allows drivers in these countries to drive a microcar without having a driving license. Motorcyclists automatically get granted a subcategory license for microcars upon passing their motorcycle test in the UK.
6. Are Microcars Legal in Singapore?
Yes & No.
To our knowledge, microcars are not allowed to be driven on public roads in Singapore. For instance, in 2014, The Land Transport Authority (LTA), concluded that the electric microcar – Renault Twizy would not be allowed on public roads.
There was a debate on whether Twizy should be classified as a motorcycle or a car, but LTA eventually concluded that it did not sit nicely in either category. While the 2 seater, 4 wheeled microcar is not suitable for public roads, it is possible to purchase it for use on private property in Singapore.
Although not the flashiest or meanest cars around, microcars have certainly earned a place in automobile history. They had their own unique revolution during the world wars and were arguably the most affordable and efficient cars to be used by the public when compared to their era’s requirements. Although microcars are now stored in barns or showcased for adoration, they could serve as a much more affordable form of private transport compared to owning a car. We certainly hope they will return to the roads one day, do you?
In the meantime, since getting a private car in Singapore is so pricey, it would be smart to consider getting an affordable used car from Singapore’s largest trusted car marketplace. Alternatively, you could even sell your car by listing it here for FREE here.