The world of the William Microcar is a peculiar one… I’ve written about these rare little microcars before, but never come across this variant – ‘The Snuggy’ before. Here, here, here and here. It looks like it takes some inspiration from that 70’s classic The Bond Bug, one of the most iconic little cars ever, and something I’ve also blogged about.
I wouldn’t say the Snuggy is a design classic, but it’s got a certain charm, with a ‘lo-fi’ homemade, bargain parts bucket aesthetic about it. If it’s your cup of darjeeling, check it out on eBay here.
Well, a Lambretta engine anyway. Regular readers might remember the rather odd French, Lambretta powered microcars from Willam… (if you don’t you can catch up here and here). Well, there’s one for sale on eBay. It’s about as back to basics motoring as you can get, although this variant the “Super Comtesse” has four wheels. Cheap as chips (at the moment) and perfect for the Lambretta completist… or someone that wants to travel very slowly and attract a lot of attention to themselves. Check it out on eBay, here.
I’ve written about these little lambretta powered microcars a couple of times before… (here and here if you’re interested). One of my readers, Olivier, has flagged up that there’s one for sale over on this french auction site, sitting at under a thousand Euros at the moment. So if your looking for something a little bit different, with four wheels rather than two, and you fancy a trip to central France, check it out!
Right. I like Lambrettas. I like bubble cars. What could be better than a Lambretta Bubble Car? Well, there was one (or more than one)… or there nearly was one; The Lambretta Mink. Above are pics of a one-off prototype, developed in the 60’s. Details are lost in the murk of history, but we do know it’s powered by a SX200 engine, and is capable of 60mph. The current owner is now looking to sell, so if you’ve got £20k knocking around, contact Ian Frankland (of Taffspeed fame) and he’ll forward you the details (Like those warnings on the +1 channels and iPlayer …if your reading this “in the future” this post was written in January 2014 – don’t pester Mr Frankland).Although a complete ‘one off’ the Mink is not totally alone in the Lambretta microcar stakes. There is the previously featured Lambretta Willam… (above) a boxy little car, but with a certain childlike charm about it… it looks like it was designed by a seven year old, in a good way. There’s even a video if you follow the link.
Also from France, and slightly smoother Lambretta like curves, more along the lines of the Mink is the Avolette. A proper “bubble car” almost of bumper car proportions and appearance. There were several incarnations of this little beauty, with power units from Sachs and Maico. One of the key features of this little gem was the single “cyclops” headlight. The “New Avolette” was a Lambretta engined variant shown at the Cycle-Salon in 1957, but never making it as far as production. The pics come from the Glumso Smart Drivers blog, which has much more info here.
There are of course, the successful Lambro range of commercial vehicles from Lambretta, but these fall into a slightly different category of “micro-commercial” in my book.
A quick bit of “research” has garnered more information on the Lambretta/Willam story. Basically M. Willam was president of Lambretta France, his connections allowing him to create a large microcar empire in France in the next two decades. Willam was basically a marketing label for a variety of foreign-made vehicles to be sold in France. As head of Lambretta S.A.F.D. in Levallois-Peret, M.H. Willam first presented Lambretta-engined prototypes at the Paris Salon in 1966, which were actually manufactured by Scattolini in Italy.In 1967, he formed an alliance with Lawil (which is surely a contraction of Lambretta and Willam) of Italy, which produced a range of microcars sold in France under the names Willam City and Wilam Farmer. It would appear their main selling point was you didn’t need a proper driving licence to drive one… only a Permis A1. If you’re better versed than me in obscure, obsolete French transport regulations, please feel free to put me right.
The “Sulky” which has to be a candidate for the oddest looking, oddest named car ever award, was ‘powered’ by a Casalini moped engine… 50 or (gasp) 60cc of pure power.
Although, in it’s defence… it has got a good turning circle 🙂
Find out more on the excellent Microcar museum website, and on the (also excellent) Cybermotorcycle. Next post will be back to scooters, I promise!
One of the best things about being a Lambrettista is that you are always learning… I’ve never even heard of a “Lambretta Willam Microcar” before, but there’s one for sale on eBay…
Apparently Monseuir Willam was president of Lambretta France in the late 1960’s and he created microcars from 1967-72. Powered by a 125cc Lambretta engine, it’s not going to be beating any Ferrari’s away from the lights, but it’s kinda cute in a “Postman Pat” way. Somebody else has obviously made that link too… check out the (non legal, I’m assuming) numberplate.