The top of the vehicle was hinged to allow
access and the passenger seat was directly behind the driver. The
reason for this it was said was to improve the aerodynamics of the
car rather than having the wider twin seats at the front
The two front wheels were controlled by
handlebars and it had a single driven wheel. When Messerschmitt
was asked to summarise his design in one word he replied, "weglassen"
- a paring down of all but the essential parts. This can be seen
in the vehicle with the small engine size that is compensated for
by the body shape which helps minimise aerodynamic drag. At the
time other 3-wheelers were far from aerodynamic. There was a
legend that Messerschmitts were built from modified surplus
cockpits for ME 109's but looking at the appearance this is false.
In 1955 the Messerschmitt KR200 was
introduced. Whilst externally it looked the same it was now
powered by a 191cc Sachs engine that gave the car a top speed of
65 mph and a fuel consumption of 87 mpg. In 1958 the Messerschmitt
TG 500 (The Tiger) was launched. This was a 4-wheeler with a 500cc
engine and a top speed of 89mph.
Large numbers of KR200's were sold worldwide
until production stopped in 1964. It is estimated that about 6,800
were imported into the UK of which about 1000 remain.
The 1962 Messerschmitt KR 200