There’s a number of microcar collections in the United States, which is surprising if you stop and think that many of the cars you see there were never officially imported into the country. Anytime I’m anywhere close to one I always try to visit. The hosts are invariably fascinating and welcoming. Over the weekend I visited the Midwest MicroCar Museum in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. Mazomanie is about 20 miles northwest of Madison, the state capitol, and about a three hour drive from Chicago.
|The museum opened in August 2015|
The museum is in a former blacksmith shop in the historic center of town. The owners of the collection, Ingrid and Carlo, have built up quite a collection of small cars and motorized bicycles over the years. Their son Sven found the building for sale on Craigslist, and as the say the rest is history.
|The museum is in a historic blacksmith shop|
I wanted to go to the museum because they had a Heinkel 153 in an original dark red color. This car is exactly the same color and model as a Heinkel I am currently restoring. It seems to be a mostly original car and has some special features including amber turn signals mounted below the headlights.
|A Heinkel Kabine 153|
|Heinkel Car Interior|
That’s not the only Heinkel that they have. They also have a Perle, a two stroke moped that is rarely seen in the USA ("rare" is relative; there are only about 25 Kabines in the USA and maybe 5 Perles).
|The Heinkel Perle. Paint is hammered silver color|
The Perle had a number of contemporaries from other German manufacturers such as NSU. They have a few of these as well, which are really quite beautiful.
|Other 1950's German Mopeds|
|Another beautiful moped at the museum|
Most of the cars are accompanied by informative signs that explain the history of the vehicles and provide some historical context.
|Informative signage at the Microcar Musuem|
They have a few American microcars, including a Bantam and a Croseley.
|American Bantam at the museum|
I’m partial to the European cars because they tend to be the most unusual. One of my favorites was the Biscuter from Spain, which is basically a micro version of a woody wagon.
|A Biscuter from France|
|1951 Mochet three wheeler|
What English cars lack in styling they more than make up for in unusual engineering. A case in point is the Bond. This car is front wheel drive, but there’s only one wheel and it is attached the Villers engine which also turns.
|Bond with moving engine|
They have a variety of two wheeled vehicles, only a few of which are currently on display. They have acquired another building nearby in which they will display the two wheeled collection starting later this summer.
There are a number of other cars to see as well. I’ve included some photos below:
|I'm not sure what this is but I like the paint scheme|
|A Vespa 400|
|Velorex- a fabric covered three wheeler from Czechoslovakia|
|Vespa Ape- a 500 cc 3 wheeled industrial vehicle|
|Another vehicle I can't identify!|
|A Reliant Robin|
You should definitely visit if you are any where nearby. They ask for donations, which they give to the town for charitable causes and local events.
Their address is 103 Crescent Street, Mazomanie, WI. You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MidwestMicrocarMuseum/?fref=ts, or thier website at midwestmicrocarmuseum.com, Check with Facebook for open days.