The recent (Inter)National Microcar Rally at Malvern [September 2010] in Worcestershire showed just how much enthusiasm remains for these small cars, which make up in character what they lack in cc’s.
Bubble cars of various types, a possible-record turn-out of Friskys, the absurdly-small single-seater Peel P50, the iconic Fiat 500, the sporty-looking Berkeley and the more recent Bond Bug, were among the many motoring gems on show.
What makes a microcar? The definition is generally agreed to be a car with an engine smaller than 700cc, but there is no hard-and-fast rule – and micro enthusiasts are such a welcoming bunch, nobody minded that a few of the cars at Malvern were slightly larger.
Many microcars date from the 1950s, when fuel was scarce and there was a push to make motoring affordable. As the show (organised by Nick Haddon and Ray Dilks on behalf of the Heinkel Trojan Club) proved, many are lovingly preserved and still used by nostalgic owners.
Are they safe? Well, few would meet modern safety standards, that’s for sure. But they tend to bring out the best in other drivers, many of whom are delighted to see more interesting vehicles on the road. We like to think drivers of “ordinary” cars will usually slow down for a micro and give it plenty of room. Well, anything that can bring some civility to the roads has to be worth preserving.