There are a few sure-fire ways to produce an interesting car: Employ a genius, throw money and technology at the problem, specialize it for a certain task or market, or make it smaller.
And while the automakers of the world were busy catering to the heart of the automotive market after the Second World War, there was good business to be had if you wanted to sell microcars to Europeans. From Messerschmitt KR200 to Iso Isetta, Vespa 400 to Goggomobil T250, there was staggering variety.
Three or four wheels, simple and clever body, basic steel chassis, and some sort of moped engine gave thousands of drivers their first taste of motoring—especially those who were affected by their country's tax laws and driver's license restrictions.
Today's entry will be a little sparse because there's so much conflicting information on the BMA Amica. I'll admit that I fell in love with its vinyl gulling doors before attempting any meaningful research, thinking that, "there will be some sort of BMA club…somewhere…"
Here's what I've been able to find out: BMA S.p.A. was based in Alfonsine, Italy. The first Amica had an automatic transmission, "shockproof" perimeter rubber moulding, a rear-mounted two-cylinder scooter motor from Piaggio or ILO (in choice of displacements from 50cc to 250cc), and was designed for those who had speed-restricted (moped) licenses. Reverse gear, electric start, and a top speed of more than 70 km/h completed the ABS plastic-covered package.
Even with three wheels and a body that belongs at your local Six Flags bumper car ride, it was better than walking in the rain. And, unlike most small vehicles, was designed to allow for side-by-side seating—perfect for courting your next amica.
But did production start in 1968 or 1971? Was the version with conventional doors an early or late design? If you know any more about the Amica, please share it and I'll update the story accordingly.
After being bought out by Grecav, another Italian microcar manufacturer—think of them as Italy's answer to Ligier—BMA and the Amica faded into obscurity. I kid: they were already obscure.
With a few listed for sale, some fringe collectors seem to know an Amica when they see it, but there's not exactly a huge repository of information on these cars. Ligier, though…
…but that's a story for another day.