In 2002 I traveled to the tiny hamlet of Störy, Germany for what turned out to be the last great European microcar gathering. The Automuseum Störy was the first, and greatest, car museum dedicated to microcars. Throughout the 80's and 90's, it hosted a bi-annual meet that attracted cars and enthusiasts from all over the world. At that time, microcars hadn't yet entered mainstream car collecting and Störy was the only place all the weirdos who love these things could get together and celebrate cars that had always been ignored and ridiculed.
I've been enamored with microcars ever since I saw my first Mini on trip to England as a teenager. In America, we love our cars big, and I had no idea they could be so small. When I returned home, I found myself a Subaru 360 and have never looked back. When I heard about a museum just for microcars, I knew heaven was real and existed in a quaint town in the German countryside.
The meet itself was literally the time of my life. Everyone camped out in a field with their car, so each of the 4 days, I awoke with a grin at the sight of it.
Unfortunately, by the 21st century, collectors were beginning to notice microcars and the meet was starting to become a market with rich buyers looking for rare finds. So, Otto Künnecke, the man who ran the museum and the meet, decided this was going to be last one. It had always been meant for little car lovers, not dealers and buyers. It was sad, but at least the event remained pure and I'll never forget my 4 days in microcar paradise.
Here's a bunch of pictures staring with the type of dude you'd expect to see at one of these things:
That's a Goggo scooter made by the same company that produced these:
That's a Zundapp Janus with a non-micro Ford Taunus in the background.
A lovely pair of Bond Bugs:
At one time, it was not all that unusual to see a guy repairing his Kleinschnittger on the side of the road. The 125cc motor is pretty simple, so I'm sure he was on his way quickly after using a gum wrapper, or something, to repair the carburetor.
My favorite car there, a Fuldamobil S-7. I own one of these that's a long time restoration project. One day it'll look this good.
Some pictures of the museum itself. This is an ultra rare Brütsch Mopetta with a not creepy at all mannequin.
And a Fend Flitzer, the proto-Messerschmitt. These were designed for injured WWII veterans and later revised into the 'Schmitt Kabinroller we all know and love.
Here is a Messerschmitt Tiger, the last and coolest iteration of this car. They wanted to build a conventional car, but didn't have the cash, so they just added a 4th wheel and put in a 500cc engine. They're actually a little screamer since they don't weigh anything.
For more photos, visit my Flickr page.
Sadly, the Automuseum Störy no longer exists. Otto, the owner, had trouble with the local zoning board and couldn't afford to keep the place open. So, like the Microcar Museum in Georgia, it's contents were sold. Some cars went to another museum in Germany and there's rumors that other parts of the collection are coming to Las Vegas of all places. Sin City is as far away from Störy, Germany as possible and it's nice, I guess, that these tiny cars have finally garnered the respect they deserve, (they did help keep Europe going after the war), but I miss when it was just us weirdos.