Bubble Cars in France

There was a bubble car rally in the village and I took a few snaps of the assembled small vehicles. The rally was held at a location by a river nearby, with a couple of drives in the Pyrenees and a visit to our village part of the schedule.

1) Gathering in the Village

On the last day of the rally they had a gathering in our village. The three-wheelers in the foreground are a Messerschmitt and two Heinkels, but I don’t recognize the four-wheeler. Both Messerschmitt and Heinkel made planes for the Germans in World War II and switched to bubble cars after the German reconstruction. Forgiving lot, these Europeans. But hey, I guess Americans drive Mitsubishis so my thinking is valueless.

2) Pembleton Chuck Magnet

This is a kit car based on a Citroen 2CV chassis, but the most interesting part of this car was the response it generated. It was a chuck magnet (i.e. it attracted blokes). The best comment I heard was how even and beautiful the riveting was.

3) Vespa push start

I originally thought this was a Goggomobil, one of those cars that Australians recognize from the old Yellow Pages TV ad “Not the Dart”. But I have since been corrected and this is a Vespa, the same folk that make the little scooters. This one refused to start from its battery and required help. When I look at this photo I can’t help but think these are some big folk to be driving such small cars.

4) BMW Isetta

The BMW Isetta is the classic bubble car. You get in by opening the front panel; you can see the door hinges on the side. It was originally built with four wheels but the English versions had three to get around licensing laws.

5) Messerschmitt

I like these cars a lot. They are sporty and handle like a go-kart. The engines on these cars are tiny, but with their low weight and low slung bodies they are a lot of fun to drive. You can fit a driver in the front and an adult or two small kids in the back. Nick, one of the rally organizers, is standing by the car. It had broken down only a couple of days before but Nick is a genius with Messerschmitts.

6) Pembleton in Green

Another kit car Pembleton; you can see the 2CV engine as well as the 2CV chassis. Parts are cheap and easy to find. Start with an old Citroen, add a bunch of panels and a lot of labor and you get something much more interesting.

7) Headgear

It gets cold driving these cars in the Pyrenees. Often they have no roof, so ear-warming headgear is useful despite its appearance.

These folk get together at rallies all around Europe. Straight after this one they all drove off into Spain for another rally. And they’ll be back next year, too.


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