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Bubble Cars

In 1958, Messerschmitt launched their TG500 – a four-wheeler where the driver sat alone in the front, with one or two passengers behind.

The car returned 52 mpg and was incredibly stable. The TG500 retailed for £654, including tax).

Meanwhile, the familiar Italian made Iso Isetta came in several models, from a 300cc built in Brighton (£350, pictured at left) to a four-seat 600cc made in Germany (£676).

The car was soon made under licence in Germany, France, Brazil and Britain. The British-built cars were assembled under licence from BMW and fitted with their engines.

Arriving in 1957, sales of the Isetta were initially hampered in Britain by licensing laws, which taxed it as a conventional car, having four wheels.

This difficulty was overcome in 1959, with a three-wheeled version.


A Dutch debutante also emerged in 1958 – the Daf – which offered gearing of near-continuous variability.

The Heinkel Kabine, three-wheeled, microcar designed by Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was also released in 1958.