Fuldamobil S-6

You're a microcar builder.

Well, you're not. But Norbert Stevenson and Carl Schmitt were, and after producing—slowly—their first car, the Fuldamobil "Type N", they started to realize that their first design wasn't perfect.

Sure, it was small and slow—9.5 horsepower will do that—but even so, there were a few other problems. Seemingly built to ape a mobile camping trailer, the Type N was constructed with a heavy tube frame. Then a glider company added the solid wood bodywork. Then they were covered in vinyl. Later versions had an aluminum, not vinyl skin.

They nicknamed it the "Silver Flea."

In the early days of microcars, the solution was simple: design a body with large, simple curves and your supplier (in this case, VDM) would be able to take thin, warm sheets of aluminum and bend them around cast aluminum formers.

The separately-made panels were then welded together and fitted to the tube frame chassis.

With styling designed to hint at a baby Porsche, the Fuldamobil "S" series introduced in 1954 quickly won fans for being stylish, well-built, and finally not so painfully slow. Tucked away in the little slug was a Fichtel & Sachs 1-cyl, 2-stroke engine that belted out 10 horsepower.

Top speed? 80 km/h (50 mph).

A neat detail are the rear wheels—wheels—set so close together that I'm tempted to claim it was a 3-wheeled dually. This was because the 3-wheeled version no longer qualified for certain tax breaks—so the fourth wheel was added for stability.

My favourite part in all of this is that while only 123 of the Fuldamobil S-6 were made, it was built under license all over the world. With differences in appearance, trim, options, and engines, the names are quite fantastic:

  • Alta A200 (Greece)
  • Attica 200 (Greece)
  • Nobel (Chile)
  • Bambi (Argentina)
  • Bambino (Netherlands)
  • Fram King Fulda (Sweden)
  • Hans Vahaar (India)
  • Fuldamobil Sporty (Argentina; and it was a small truck!)

Sorry, but I'm not sure how to end this story on a better note than typing out "Fuldamobil Sporty"…