The British called this “The Rolls Royce of Scooters,” but it seems to me that “The Mercedes of Scooters” seems more apt, especially since Cohort Hannes captured it in front of a very lovely Pagoda SL. A dealer in Massachusetts even advertised the Heinkel as “The Cadillac of Scooters,” its accolades reflecting its high-quality construction, durable four-stroke engine (when two-strokes were the norm), and lofty price tag. And the name “Tourist” was not over-reaching either; back in the fifties, Germans with more Wunderlust than D-Marks were driving them south for vacations in Italy, Spain, and such (but with their wives, not the family dog).
Heinkel Flugzeugwerke was of course banned from building aircraft after the end of WWII, so it turned its engineers to more earth-bound vehicles: bicycles, mopeds, scooters and the Heinkel bubble car. All of them were built to much higher standards than average, which also affected their price and sales.
The Tourist was capable of touring, with a top speed of 60-70 mph, although presumably not with the side car. Except for the very first batch, Tourists had a 174cc ohv single cylinder engine, with some 9.5 hp. Getting over the steep Alpine passes back then took patience.
But that paid off, as this happy couple in Spain demonstrated with their Maico sidecar rig. Now that’s the way to really see the countryside, puttering along with the balmy ocean breeze in one’s hair.
And here’s a couple of German women touring on their scooter. Who needs men, anyway? Or maybe they lost them in the war. Nothing can stop the German Wanderlust, except maybe a war. Which meant it was very pent up by the early fifties.
These two aren’t likely to head south, but at least they’re out enjoying the ride on their Heinkel.
If that first photograph of a Heinkel, a very tiny sidecar, and its passenger does not bring a smile to someone’s face, that person has something very wrong with them!
I have to wonder how common an accessory the dog-sized sidecar was. Somewhere out there is a Kali sidecar enthusiast who knows the answer.
That’s the regular-person sized side-car. It’s a scooter, not a BMW 🙂 Check out the couple in Spain in the scooter; the sidecar is similarly small. Just big enough to slide the legs into. And folks were generally slim back then.
I thought that the dog’s sidecar looked smaller than the one used by the couple in Spain, but you are right, the one in Spain just has some sort of windshield/tonneau cover that makes it taller. The dog’s sidecar would make an excellent one-man bobsled!
The Heinkel bubble car in the second photo looks quite similar to an Isetta, although I think that the Isetta used the BMW boxer twin engine, which would have given it a substantial engine displacement advantage. A BMW Isetta vs. Heinkel vs. Messerschmitt comparison test would be a fun one; I wonder whether anyone has ever done one?
The BMW Isetta used a one-cylinder engine, a variation of their single cylinder motorcycle engine, with fan cooling. The earliest version (up to 1956) had 250 cc and 12 hp, and a top speed of 53 mph. The later ones had 300cc and 13 hp; top speed stayed the same, but it got to that speed faster.
The Heinkel Kabine used the same engine as the Tourist scooter; initially the 174cc (9.2 hp), and later ones 200cc and about 10 hp. The given top speed for it was 54/56 mph, but probably the Isetta had a better chance of actually attaining it than the Kabine.
The Messerschmitt first had a 175 cc (10 hp) and also listed as 56 mph top speed. The later KR200 supposedly would hit 65mph.
So they all had very similar power levels, but the substantially smaller aerodynamic frontal aspect of the Messerschmitt undoubtedly allowed it to go faster than the two “eggs”. Just like in an airplane.
Single cylinder air cooled bubble cars by former makers of the mainstays of the Luftwaffe … I never knew that the category had so many members!
As a fan of old-fashioned air-cooled motorcycles, I would love to see a comparison of these three bubble cars, plus the BMW 700 and a prewar Morgan three wheeler.
The whole motivation for the Mini was the head (name forgotten while writing) of BMC’s strong dislike for bubble cars. He insisted that Issigonis had to come up with a real car if BMC was to get into the market.
Love eeet !
On closer examination, I also have to ask where and when the color photos were taken. With a Heinkel scooter, a Pagoda SL, a late 60s/early 70s Corvette, and a Porsche 911 Turbo all on the same street, on a cobblestone street in front of an old cathedral, something interesting was happening.
I took these in 2012 in Regensburg, Germany, during the annual classic car rallye. Here are some more photos from that day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robotriot/sets/72157630713441064/ I’ve got a couple more I need to upload, but I didn’t have as much time that day as I wished I had. The snapshots of the Heinkel were taken when I was on my way home again.
New information for me. Very interesting scooter. I love the color on that thing – how very late 40s-early 50s.
Great picture and a sweet set of wheels! The bullet-shaped sidecar is excellent, especially with a pooch in it. I actually never knew Heinkel made scooters, I only knew (vaguely) of their bubble car and the airplanes… although looking at these pictures, I think I may have actually seen one or two of them on the street. Manhattan is full of scooters and mopeds, but when it comes to the older ones, if it isn’t some type of Vespa/Piaggio, Lambretta or Puch, I don’t really know what it is. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled now.
The Maico is even cooler looking, that’s really wild!!
Until I read the article, I thought Electrolux made sidecars. 😉
Used to ride 750s. Think this might be more my speed now.
That is a very cool scooter-and-sidecar setup! Since no one else mentioned it, the dog appears to be a Viszla, a European hunting dog. My Uncle Don had them for years; really nice dogs!