Automotive History Capsule: 1952-1954 Libelle (“Dragonfly”) – The Only Car Ever Built In Innsbruck

Libelle openimage via microcars.ch

In an e-mail exchange with my older sister this morning about microcars we used to see in Innsbruck back in the 50s, she brought up the Libelle. Yes; the Libelle! Long dormant memories of the odd little dragonfly-shaped microcar suddenly popped back to the surface again. I remember seeing one regularly that was often parked near the marketplace by the Inn. And when I Googled it, I was quite surprised to learn that the Libelle was built in Innsbruck. And that out of some 50 that were ever built, only one still survives. This subject may be a bit obscure to many of you, but I need to pay a bit of homage to Innsbruck’s only hometown car, even if it is a bit modest.

Libelle rimage via microcar.org

The Libelle (Dragonfly, in German) comes by its name quite honestly, what with its long tail, bulging head and green color. The tail hides its Austrian 199cc Rotax two-stroke air-cooled single cylinder engine that made 8.5 hp, and drove the single rear wheel through a four speed transmission.

Libelle ffqimage via microcar.org

Thos one, the only Libelle left, has made appearances at some microcar shows in Austria and Switzerland, but I rather suspect it wasn’t driven to them.  Here’s an article (in German) about one of those meets, with pictures of other micro-cars of the times.

My sister reminded me that whenever we saw a microcar, we used the expression goggoisebelle, an amalgamation of the Goggomobile, Isetta, and Isabelle. We’ve covered the Goggo here, so now we just need to do the Isetta, to make the microcar triumvirate complete.

 

Hat tip to sister Ruth!