I’m a bit confused by this. I know about the Kleinschnittger, one of the smallest of the many microcars built in Germany in the 1950s. But it’s the “Heil” part I’m a bit flummoxed about. Seems to me that doing what she’s doing and using the word “Heil” is what we’d call not PC. In fact, in post-war Germany (and still today), Nazi salutes in written form, vocally, and even straight-extending the right arm as a saluting gesture (with or without the phrase), are illegal.
But then this is clearly not a German publication. Who did publish CARS in the 1950s? It seems a bit insensitive, even if it was intended for American consumption. From the license plate, it was shot in Germany, I assume.
OK, I’m not trying to get all up in arms about this, but I do find it rather curious. As was the effort to sell this bumper car to Americans. Seriously?
No, the 5.4 hp 125 cc two-stroke single could not cause the “Capsule car to buzz along at 55mph”. More like 43 mph, on a billiard-table flat road and in the doldrums. But lifting up the car while the wife changes the rear wheel is a nice expression of manliness.
Oh wait! She gets to lift it up too! If it weighs 300 lbs, she’s doing pretty well. Those German women are Amazons!
There’s no mention of the Kleinschnittger in my Standard catalog of Imported cars, so I suspect it didn’t go over too well. Maybe they should have used “Hi Kleinschnittger” instead.
It’s pretty obvious that the “Heil” may well have been some daft editor of the magazine that wrote this up, thinking it was cute. The girl in the car clearly isn’t really quite giving the Nazi salute; she’s just giving a friendly…heil.
Hey, I’m good with a tiny for car the ten minute commute I have today. No need for an expensive and elaborate car for a short commute.
However I refuse to share the road with the typical American vehicle, American distracted drivers, and so forth if I’m driving something that tiny.
Interesting city channel talking about tiny cars and safe infrastructure for them and bicycles:
There isn’t the political will in the USA to make useful changes like this. I can hear the screaming from a certain political demographic in my imagination already.
First generation Kei car?
That’s another article entitled “Banzai Subaru 360!”
When I was a student, I was assigned to be a Fuehrer for any university students from an English speaking country. It is just a word in German, but triggering to some non-Germans who didn’t hear it as “leader”, but only associated the word with Hitler. I got used to it – it was part of my title on campus.
There were many normal words that trigger speakers in other languages due to their definitions in their native languages. My own name translates into a slimy sea creature, so I have a German name. More than once I’ve been told by non-Germans that a language I learned to love was nasty sounding and ugly. That’s insulting. It stinks to watch ignorant people butcher the German language and then laugh about it.
What I see here in this blurb is ignorance. It is an American publication written by an American, so the assumption was only Americans would read it. So it was simply humorous or catchy to associate German with the word, “Heil!” or “Jawohl!” Good lord, just fifty years ago we watched Hogan’s Heroes and laughed at Schultz and Klink speak like the Katzenjammer Kids at a beer garden and “I see noth-eenk” was a cultural catch phrase.
The car didn’t look serious, so the presentation was mocking. The ignorant word choices were meant to be softly comical. I don’t read it as intentionally insulting. There are many times when culture and humor just don’t translate as humor. It is hard to be funny in another language without alcohol.
I thought of Hogan’s Hero’s immediately. This was an attempt to be funny in that era. We used to have thicker skin and a better sense of humor IMO. Watch some old Don Rickles routines on Johnny Carson, he was an equal opportunity offender. We as a society have been conditioned to be offended. It’s all divide and conquer 24/7 now
I think you’ve got it right, VanillaMan. Plus, the from the vantage point of 70 years on, context changes as well.
I think the writer felt snarky, saw her uplifted wave in the ad photo, and ran with it.
Then too, language and and culture in translation can be slippery things.
Nothing sucks like Electrolux.
I have a large color poster showing a Victorian lady in an upscale home, using a vacuum cleaner on her rugs. The banner below has the words:
YOU KNOW IF IT’S LUCAS . . . IT SUCKS!
I remind myself that the German-speaking countries have been prodigiously active culturally, economically and politically. The pipe organ was brought to a high level of development in Germany, and we organists still play Bach, Buxtehude and a host of other German composers’ works. We have Germany to thank for the logic of complex musical forms. The German language has clearly inspired any number of composers of operas and songs, and that language is more related to English than many are willing to admit.
I understand only a tiny amount of German, but I’m named after my great-grandfather, who came as a boy to the U.S. from Bavaria in 1849. My dad, who was born in 1911, said that he himself was German-English bilingual until he was about 4 or so, and that his grandfather always preferred to speak German.
Reading another site this morning, the commentariat was noticing how humor evolves over time, and what was broadly considered funny in one era is often either not funny or simply not understandable in a later time.
I think this–might–fall into that category, and, even in context–might–have been a mostly unsuccessful attempt at humor, even in the day, or perhaps in questionable taste, even at the time. I also take it that as long as there was some sort of comedic and faintly humiliating dimension to it, Nazi references were not considered completely in poor taste or unacceptable to bring up back then. Look at “Monty Python” and “Fawlty Towers”. The actor Werner Klemperer, who played Col. Klink in “Hogan’s Heroes”, directed that he would only accept the role if Klink and the Nazis could be made fun of and mocked in every scene.
Whatever you do, don’t mention the war! Right!
A German guy I knew when I was in college loved Hogan’s Heroes, and claimed that it was quite popular back home.
The engine was in the front, but still the pick-up picture is suspicious. Her hands would be pulling maybe 100 pounds. Can’t do that with fingertips, even if you’re fairly strong; and she’s clearly not a muscle-bound athlete.
This is just bizarre. I don’t know where to begin.
I do like me a strong woman though!
The PopMech article is equally dated with its German-isms but seems to be more credible: 40 mph vs 55, and no mention of “individual suspension”, which I’m sure was not a term even then. And the endless alliteration of the CARS text should have been caught by a good editor. Probably a reason CARS disappeared, unlike PM, Road & Track, SCI (later Car and Driver) etc.
The grill looks like the inspiration for the 2007-2012 Dodge Nitro.
I don’t even see the salute – I see a woman raising her hand up to wave. I see a funny little car and enjoy microcar stories from the era… well, heck, I enjoy any stories on CC. ‘Tis a shame to even mention it.
die Kleinen und die Bösen.
In Brazil there is an Audi dealership named Audi Nazih, although it’s a Brazilian surname with Lebanese roots the whole sentence is kinda weird.
They sell soup too?
No Audi for you!
Yeah, the whole thing is written like comedy so the writer(s) must have thought that funny.
It does all come off as a bad joke, including the car. I think this was the first and last time the young lady sat in the Kleinschnittger. Perhaps she’s waving to a taxi:
“Drive me off this photo shoot!”
Well I know a collector who really owns a Kleinschnittger. It may look cute and it may feel like go-cart driving … but that’s all!
Having a closer look you come to the conclusion that all what’s missing are the grass cutting blades, and ready is the garden tractor! Indeed all the details of the car are rough-and-ready. The car was no success.
Maybe Guten Tag would have been better if it had been used. Pardon my spelling.
It’s humor. No one could possibly take the Kleinschnittger seriously. It reminds me of the little cars from the long ago Disneyland Autopia.
The “Heil” is just the editor/writer’s effort at laying it on thick. How can any sane person think that easily fitting under a large truck is a positive feature. The Kleinschnittger deserves to be treated with disdain if it were aspiring to be a real car.
Kleinschnittger….sounds like the name given to a small German cookie.
Would you like a snickerdoodle or kleinschnittger with your tea ?
The Heil part is bad enough, but try to say the Kleinschnittger bit first time with a straight face….