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Enthusiast Essentials: have a good read of the history of microcars

4 November, 2015

Microcars at Large by Adam Quellin, examines a period in motoring history following World War II when raw materials were in short supply and many simply couldn’t afford a full-sized car. With war-ravaged economies suffering, automakers turned their hand to building basic transportation.  The result was a series of what are now known as microcars or, in some instances, ‘bubblecars’. Even manufacturers such as BMW cashed in on the trend, Messerschmitt got in on the act, and British firms such as Reliant and Bond came up with their own quirky designs.

This lavishly illustrated guide covers the weird and wonderful world of microcars, from the basic bubblecars of the ’50s to the sophisticated modern models.

Microcars at Large is available now as a full-colour eBook, as well as a black-and-white e-ink version. For more information, visit

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.