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Messerschmitt’s Kabinenroller “Cabin Scooter”

12 March 2021

What do you do when your aircraft design and manufacturing company is on the losing side of a global conflict? Well…you make what you can and what is needed.

Messerschmitt Kabinenroller “Cabin Scooter” in the Hiller Aviation Museum—©2012 Joseph May/Slipstream Photography

Messerschmitt found itself in this challenging position and one thing it did was to make an inexpensive car which was also economical to run. People need to run errands as well as commute to work—but many resources in Germany after World War II were scarce, especially steel and fuel.

One Messerschmitt product was the Kabinenroller—the Cabin Scooter—and this beautiful example, is in the Hiller Aviation Museum. Carrying as many as two adults in tandem (or two small children in the rear seat) it achieved 100 mpg from its 10hp 200cc engine. Handy with a 4-speed transmission with no reverse gear but, interestingly, stopping and restarting the engine in reverse allowed for backing up (though three point turns must have been inconvenient). Three wheels would have also meant handling would be tricky in sharp turns, especially at speed, but the fighter-like canopy does make for a sporty look—and how cool is that?

Messerschmitt Kabinenroller “Cabin Scooter” in the Hiller Aviation Museum—©2012 Joseph May/Slipstream Photography

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 March 2021 05:57

    I remember seeing one of these at an Arkansas State Fair in the 1950s. It was part of a traveling exhibit. I was impressed by the workmanship.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      12 March 2021 12:15

      That’s good to know as a museum display often is restored to better than the original. I’d like to see how it drove and how it sounded—I imagine it was a 2-stroke engine and, if so, likely a bit smoky when running.

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