Biscúter Pegasin

In 1957, I wager that the most iconic American car was the Chevrolet Bel Air, the most iconic French car the Citroën 2CV, the most iconic German car the Volkswagen Beetle, and the most iconic Spanish car the Biscúter.

Bis-coo-what?

Even though I'm so fond of saying, "After the war…" like James May would, I find that it's no longer a useful cultural reference point. What about saying "Before JFK" or "Released the same year as The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Even though the war itself isn't the most useful of reference points, the Biscúter's depressing specs should give you an indication on how Spain fared after the Second World War.

  • 197cc 1-cylinder, two-stroke engine
  • 9 horsepower
  • Crank starter
  • 3-speed manual transmission
  • One-wheel drive (seriously!)
  • Aluminum bodywork
  • Nicknamed "Zapatilla," or "Little Shoe"

Not everyone in Spain had to save three years salary to afford the Biscúter car, which sat like an ingot at the bottom of the price chart. Despite post-war Spain having to grapple with severe economic restrictions, more than 10,000 copies of the Gabriel Voisin-designed runabout were sold.

Biscúter's parent company, Autonacional SA, saw room above the Biscúter, to attract more well-heeled customers in search of a cheap runabout. The minimalist unpainted aluminum panels from the donor car wouldn't be well-received, so the company crafted a plastic body—a convertible with removable hardtop—and christened the car "Pegasin," which was a riff on "Pegaso," Spain's most famous sports car manufacturer. 

Officially called the Biscúter 200-F Pegasin, the plastic bodywork didn't help improve performance: top speed was a measly 75 km/h (46 mph). That said, it was one of the sportier microcars, and is considered by some to be a micro sports car.

Frequently bought as a second car, the few made were quickly discarded as prosperity began to sweep the middle class, with drivers quickly trading up to larger, more sophisticated vehicles—and at this basic, a Citroën 2CV would have seemed like a Bentley.