The Rolux VB60 or Baby was a French micro car manufactured by the Rolux company between 1945 and 1952. It was powered by a 100cc two stroke air cooled engine mounted behind the driver with a chain drive to the rear axle. However it did have 4 forward gears – but no reverse.

 It weighed only 145kg and the 4.5hp engine could push it along at a maximum 50 km/hr, At only 1.1 metres wide it would have been quite cosy for the two occupants on the single bench seat.

And small enough to take for a coffee!

More interesting facts from the 1935 Automobile Association Guide and Handbook

Although the open road speed limit in 1935 was 40 miles per hour ( 64 km/h), and town speed limit was 25 mph (40 km/h), local authorities were able to set their own limits and traffic regulations

The Auckland City speed limit was the same as that set nationally, 25 mph, however drivers were also required to observe a speed limit of 10 mph through intersections, and walking pace around all corners! If you happened to stray across into Glen Eden borough there was a speed limit of 15 mph in the main shopping street.

Wellington City also had a speed limit of 25 mph, with a limit of 20 mph through tunnels, and 15 mph past schools and hospitals, and intersections without unobstructed views of the traffic on other streets entering that intersection

Confused? Then how about this unusual Wellington parking regulation: no parking was allowed on any street, private street or public place for longer than 30 minutes between the hours of 3am and 6 am. The only exception was for medical practitioners attending a patient

Negotiating Auckland corners at walking pace – the car that is..

Micro cars were not confined to Europe in the 1950’s. Even in the USA, home of the land barge, there were US made micro cars One such was the King Midget, made by Midget Motors of Athens Ohio, between 1946 and 1970.

The original King Midget was a single seater kit set, designed to accommodate any single cylinder motor. However within a couple of years, Midget Motors were producing fully assembled cars.

In 1951 the Model 2 was introduced, a two seater convertible with 7.5 horsepower 400cc motor, and a top speed of about 45 mph (72 kph) It had a two speed automatic transmission, with reverse, that had been developed in-house by Midget Motors.

The Model 3 followed in 1957, with a 9.2 hp motor, and 4 wheel  hydraulic brakes.

In total  almost 5000 King Midgets were made

From a 1930 Chevrolet brochure showing the car on Oriental Parade, Wellington.

 

Looking through a 1935 Automobile Association Guide and Handbook provides some interesting details:

The main road north out of Wellington followed around the Paremata Inlet and over the Paekakariki hill road. There was a tearoom at the summit with access to an Emergency Telephone.

The road was probably gravel, in fact in 1935, less than 1% of roads were sealed, and that included urban streets.

In 1935 there were 50,000 miles of road in New Zealand – in 2015 there were 58,000 miles (94,000 km), which doesn’t seem a huge increase in 80 years. However in 2015 64% of roads were sealed.

By contrast, there were 128,000 cars in 1935 (1 car for every 9 people), compared to 3.9 million in 2015 (1 car for every 1.2 people!)

A car journey out of town back then probably would encounter few other vehicles, a good thing considering it was mostly on dusty gravel roads.

The open road speed limit in 1935 was 40 miles per hour ( 64 km/h) which was probably more than adequate given the state of roads. The town speed limit was 25 mph (40 km/h).

 

 

The 40 mph speed limit did not stop Chevrolet promoting their 80hp / 80 mph car. This ad was in the 1935 AA Handbook and Guide.

What were “knee action wheels” ?

A form of independent suspension used by General Motors at the time.

The Mochet K Type was one of the earliest post war micro cars, built in France from 1947 to 1949. The Mochet company began making childrens pedal cars and progressed to lightweight pedal powered cycle cars in the 1920s and 30s. A motor was available on some, but the pedal function was retained.

The K Type was the first Mochet vehicle without pedals. It was powered by a 100cc two stroke engine delivering 3.5 hp with top speed around 40k/h.

A brand new Mochet K Type cost 108,000 Francs (£100) or about $8,000 today. For the luxury of weather protection, a hood would cost an extra 6,000 francs (£5) – not sure if that included the fine wooden door seen in this picture,

Here’s a video of one of the few remaining K Types in action

Classic Cars & Beautiful Wairarapa Wedding

Last weekend Classic Rides provided classic transport for a beautiful Wairarapa wedding on a glorious summer afternoon. The wedding cars looked splendid driving down country roads to deliver the bridal party to the stunning rural location.

Our thanks to Nat and Matt for inviting us to contribute to their special day.

Want to drive an interesting classic car? Don’t have a day to spare?

 Classic Rides cars are also available on an hourly basis – a fun thing to do anytime, perhaps on a long summer evening after work, or during a holiday break or weekend. We can provide printed short itineraries to guide you on the country roads in the area, with information on some of the points of interest along the way.

The hourly rate is only $50 for any car, and includes fuel. We can also arrange comparative drives if you want to try two or more cars (if available) over the hire period.

NB: Short hires are subject to car availability and Terms & Conditions are the same as for longer hire periods