Note: This is my Top Gun opening, but Heath Scotchford at thepetrolstop.com did it first, and did it better.
Goose! Maverick! Which other fictional characters did I channel as I drove a Messerschmitt KR200? Well, that's between me and the yoke. With a sequential transmission and buzzing Fichtel & Sachs moped engine, just keeping up with traffic felt like dogfighting MiGs above the Indian ocean.
After the Second World War, nobody would bat an eye at a motorist, hustling the plucky German microcar through the countryside—just being in a car was an achievement.
It takes a lot more car to impress modern drivers, though. So what's this Jetcar 2.5?
First, it's a project from brothers who spent their careers helping to design wind power facilities. I find the Jetcar's profile striking, and very similar to that of a wind turbine blade—if a little squished because of the car's short length.
Second, it was in a music video that boasts the world's craziest-looking man from the near future. By the German pop singer Nena (99 Luftballons) and called, "Ich werde dich lieben," it features a completely strange plot.
A never-aging woman courts with several different men over a period of decades—with the final three men three driving a Mercedes-Benz, DeLorean, and Jetcar, respectively.
(Jetcar Zukunfts, the company name, Google Translates to "Jetcar Future.")
Update April 28, 2014: Reader Patrick wrote to say…
The car is called "Jetcar 2.5" - the "Zukunfts" bit is actually part of the full company name—"Jetcar Zukunftsfahrzeug GmbH"—which translates to Jetcar Car of the Future Ltd.
Third, it's an intriguing take on a modern Messerschmitt Tg500: lightweight chassis (660kg/ 1455 lbs.) and small engine (3-cylinder, 800cc diesel); great on-road performance (160 km/h top speed) and fuel economy (2.5 L/100 km or 94 mpg combined.) Its long customer options list means the vehicles would be largely hand-built.
But get this: all of the mechanicals come from the Smart fortwo! In a traditional sense, it's similar to what Italian tuner firms like Abarth did: take the mechanicals from pedestrian cars and clothe them in stunning bodywork. The 1955 Alpine A106 used mechanicals from the Renault 4CV—and the 1959 Abarth 750 GT Zagato from the Fiat 600.
Obviously, the Jetcar is about efficiency. A performance version, I'd imagine, would be able to top 200 km/h if it used mild upgrades from smart tuning companies. Now that's what I'd call a car of the future.
Sadly, the project seems to have stalled. Some websites talk about a new, all-electric version. There are precious few photos of vehicles. I sent an email to them a few days ago—and have yet to receive a reply.
Thing is, there are other, performance-oriented, tandem-seat cars…based here, in North America.
But that's a story for another day…