I’ll just start by saying that I have virtually no idea what year this car was made between the years 1955-1969. If anyone has more information or can narrow down the year, that would be great. I’m just approximating right now with 1963.
When I first spotted this car on the streets of Paris, I thought the 600 was just like a slightly enlarged 500. In fact, the 600 was released 2 years prior to the introduction of the far more famous 500, so I suppose the Fiat 500 is a shrunken 600.
The Spanish car company SEAT built this car under license for 17 years (1957-1973) as the SEAT 600, which helped provide cheap transportation for poor Spanish families; it is an iconic car in Spain, more so than in Italy, where the Fiat 500 is the iconic one. 2,695,197 Fiat 600s were produced along with 737,319 SEAT 600s.
These turbo wagons are very few and far between. This one looks to be an original California car, as evidenced by its sunburst plate (the rarest modern California plate, even if this one’s a bit dirty). There’s not a whole lot of information to be had about this car (Wikipedia doesn’t even mention it), but it’s certainly a rare beast. The only thing that would make it even more Subaru would be the optional 4WD system that this one doesn’t have.
It’s these types of cars that I find the most interesting. The average person probably wouldn’t stop and look twice at it, but I find it fascinating, much more so than, say, a new Mercedes.
I mean, I must have seen dozens of Mercedes today, but this is the only GL-10 that I recall seeing in a very long while.
The Corvair, of course, was highlighted in Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed, after which sales fell more than half from 220,000 in 1965 to less than 110,000 the next year. Nader’s book crippled the reputation of the Corvair, and sales never recovered.
This is not the most attractive example of a Corvair imaginable–the knockoff wire wheels and the drab color and trim do nothing to help its looks. However, it is a fairly-well preserved example of a none-too-common convertible model, which makes it a worthy picture target.
Made by the company far more famous for producing fighter jets for the German Luftwaffe during World War II, the KR200 “bubble car” was originally conceived as a result of temporary sanctions against aircraft manufacturing in the Messerschmitt factories. When the sanctions were lifted in 1956, the rights to the car were sold to a man named Fritz Fend, who established a company called Fahrzeug-und Maschinenbau GmbH Regensburg (FMR); hence the “FMR” logo on the hood of this microcar.
It produced all of 9.9 horsepower and was shorter than the wheelbase of a new Chevrolet Impala. The last picture shows a stark juxtaposition between the hulking Bronco and the diminutive Messerschmitt–it looks like a diecast model. Definitely a model for those with a secure self-image as their head sticks out a few feet above the top of the car.