Ft. Lauderdale, FL. February 1, 2008 –-“Micro cars” or “city cars” were born out of a need for economical transportation following the harsh years that proceeded the Second World War when shortages of food, electricity, gas and raw materials made regular car ownership a luxury. Filling the postwar demand for more affordable wheels were eager companies such as BMW, which produced the Isetta, affectionately known as “the rolling egg”, and Fiat, which offered the diminutive “Topolino”, which translates into “little mouse”. Several other manufacturers introduced similar versions of efficiency such as the unusual three-wheeled, aluminum-bodied Reliant Regal and the sporty King Midget Roadster, enthusiastically promoted as “The World’s Most Exciting Small Car”.
RM Auctions is pleased to offer several examples of these innovations at their annual “Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale” auction event, to be held February 15 to 17, 2008 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center.
Regarded as Florida’s preeminent collector car event, the three-day sale will roll out a magnificent line-up of desirable classics, fast sports cars and exotic muscle cars. Also set to cross the block are a series of rare and peculiar “microcars”, which despite their smaller stature, are expected to draw major attention.
“Microcars have enjoyed growing interest and appreciation in value over the last few years,” said RM’s Donnie Gould, a 30-year veteran of the classic car industry.
“They are exciting additions to any collection – strong on collector appeal, popular for their compactness and maneuverability in traffic, and high on novelty value – there is a great fun-factor in driving one and you can’t help but smile when you see one on the road,” he added.
One of the most significant of the miniature line-up is a 1967 King Midget Roadster by Midget Motors. From 1946 through until 1970, Midget Motors was the only manufacturer to produce a small car without interruption; their King Midget, an oxymoron in itself, featured graceful continental lines and measured just 9.5 feet in length. The remarkable example on offer at the Florida sale, has accumulated just 10,300 miles from new and features a 12 horsepower Kohler engine.
Also falling into the “micro” category is a lovable 1951 Fiat Topolino Convertible. A predecessor to the famed Fiat 500, the Topolino was one of the smallest cars in the world at the time of its production, capable of reaching a top speed of approximately 53 miles per hour. Launched in 1937, three models were produced up until 1955, all with only minor mechanical and cosmetic changes. The rare and adorable example offered by RM stands just 4.5 feet tall and 10 feet long.
Another small car on offer at Fort Lauderdale with a big history is a unique 1957 Messerschmitt KR201 Roadster, produced by German aircraft company, Messerschmitt. Messerschmitt were responsible for producing some of the German forces’ most fearsome aircraft during World War II.
When faced with United Nations imposed sanctions on building aircraft following the war, they turned their focus to automobile production to keep afloat. Hence came the Messerschmitt car – essentially an airplane cockpit on wheels measuring just 3 feet, 10 inches in height, and 9.5 feet in length.
Fort Lauderdale’s “microcar” line-up is rounded out with a rare and unusual three-wheeled 1954 Reliant Regal, manufactured in Tamworth, England; an iconic, subcompact 1958 Nash Metropolitan convertible, formerly belonging to Florida celebrity, Jimmy Buffet; and a 1958 BMW Isetta, which measures just 7.5 feet in length – a little over 1/3 the size of a 1959 Cadillac Sedan at over 20 feet in length.
Other important consignments set to cross the block include:
* A 1946 Lincoln Continental Indy Pace Car, believed to be the car driven by Henry Ford II to lead the 1946 Indy 500.
* A 1966 Batmobile, a faithful recreation of Bat1 built on a Lincoln chassis.
* A 1969 Dodge “General Lee” Charger RT, the actual car used in the 2005 blockbuster “Dukes of Hazzard” featuring Jessica Simpson and Johnny Knoxville.
* Seven individual Shelby GTs, headlined by an original 1968 Shelby GT350 Convertible, which with just 26,000 miles from new and considered one of the best original Shelby examples in existence.
In addition to the auction, RM’s Fort Lauderdale event will also shine a spotlight on a group of talented, young automotive enthusiasts from Titusville High School, Central Florida. Comprising of 25 automotive students who formed the “Terrier Tech Race Team”, the group will be participating in the North American leg of this year’s 100th anniversary of the Great Race, a timed endurance race for antique cars. This year’s North American leg will kick off on May 30 and stretch 4,500 miles from New York to Vancouver, British Columbia. In preparation for the event, members of the Terrier Tech Race Team have been diligently working to ensure their 1930 Ford Model A Speedster in is pristine mechanical condition – rebuilding the engine, transmission and rear end. As the countdown to this year’s race begins, the students, accompanied by their teacher Mr. Frank Soros, will proudly showcase the car and their project at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center from Friday 15th February – Sunday 17th February. As the project is fully funded by donations, the team will sincerely welcome any contributions at the Fort Lauderdale event.
RM’s /Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event will be held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center at 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 15 to 17, 2008. The event will open with a public preview on Thursday February 14th beginning 9am and continuing through the weekend. The auction begins on Friday February 15th from 3pm until 9pm, Saturday February 16th from 10am until 9pm, and Sunday February 17th from 10am until 6pm. Admission to the sale is $15 for a day pass and $25 for a weekend pass.
The Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event will be closely followed by RM’s annual Automobiles of Amelia Island auction at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Scheduled for March 8, the 2008 event will celebrate RM’s 10th annual sale at Amelia Island – an occasion that will be celebrated by the auction of one of Ford’s most significant motor cars, a rare 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster custom built for Edsel Ford.