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The Gstaad Sale / 1957 Heinkel Kabine Chassis no. 303897

LOT 101
1957 Heinkel Kabine
3 juillet 2022, 14 h 00 UTC+2
Gstaad, Palace Hotel

Sold for CHF14,950 inc. premium

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1957 Heinkel Kabine
Chassis no. 303897

• Iconic 1950s micro-car
• Present ownership since 2011
• Offered in very nice condition


In the austere years following the end of WW2, the demand for cheap motorised transport was met in large measure by micro-cars and motor scooters. Petrol was in short supply, and remained rationed in Britain well into the 1950s, which placed a premium on economy, thus making such modest vehicles an even more attractive proposition. One of the first to attract the popular 'bubble car' sobriquet was Iso's Isetta, which was also produced by BMW, under license, from 1955. Before long the BMW Isetta had a home-market rival: the Heinkel Kabinenroller (Cabin Cruiser).

Perhaps the biggest mystery concerning Ernest Heinkel's Kabinenroller is how its creator got away with producing a design outwardly so similar to the Isetta. Launched in 1956, the Heinkel used a 175cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine originally developed for a motor scooter and, while closely resembling the Isetta, was both lighter and roomier, even providing children's seats in the rear. A four-speed gearbox made the Heinkel nippy in traffic, while a simplified design of front-opening door avoided the complication of its rival's jointed steering column. Larger-engined (204cc and 198cc) models were offered later, as well as four-wheeled versions, convertibles and vans. After around 6,000 had been made, production was discontinued in Germany in 1958 but continued in other countries, Ireland included, where approximately 8,000 were built before the rights transferred to Trojan in the UK in 1961.

The current vendor purchased this Heinkel Kabinenroller in 2011 at auction in Switzerland. Finished in coral with red/grey interior, the car is presented in generally very nice condition but will require servicing and re-commissioning following long-term storage (the engine will not start). Offered with Swiss customs form 13.20.

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