Identify this 3-wheeled, single-person, nose-shaped microcar!

Definitely not a “mini” car; this is a one-person micro. I didn’t spot any model tags or logos, so it might be a person’s invention or modified golf cart or something, but the body work production values looked too sharp to be anything but a production vehicle. All the dimensions were micro: it was considerably shorter, narrower, and somewhat lower than most cars – even most mini cars.

The front was the one-wheel side, and tapered to a well-rounded, yet sharp-looking point over that wheel (this would be the bridge of the “nose”). The driver’s cab looked like a glass or plastic bubble, riding relatively high and in the middle/back end of the car, positioned in front of the back wheels. It looked like the cab configuration was such that it was possible that he was sitting with his legs extended in front of him, although he could’ve been sitting on a more conventional car seat. The whole vehicle was very curvy, including the rear body over the two wheels in the back (the “nostrils” end). The car was a bright, almost neon lime green (almost chartreuse). I didn’t see, in my fleeting glimpse of it, any obvious storage capacity, although there might have been room in the back for a couple of bags of groceries… maybe.

Since I saw it going the other way on a 30-mile-per-hour street near Westfield, NJ, I can’t vouch for its ability to handle highway speeds.

I’ve already done some Googling, including sites devoted to three-wheeled vehicles, without spotting it (more evidence that it might’ve been a prototype or an individual’s home project). Any ideas or links would be welcome, though…

Bubble cars?

It isn’t any of those, GorillaMan, although one of the pics in your link is getting kind of warm… the one called “Bubble.jpg,” fourth row down, last pic on the right. Clicking on that pic, the cars on the third and fourth rows down, in the middle…? Those are in the ballpark, although they look like they’re configured to have two wheels up front and a single wheel in the rear, which is the opposite of the car I saw. Also, the car I saw looked brand-new and had an even more radically minimalist design than did those model cars, lacking any design details that would identify it as being made in the 1950’s or '60’s.

Nice try, though. :slight_smile: seems to have one similar to the one’s you’re after on the front page - worth exploring, perhaps

Toyota’s personal mobility vehicle?

Theres others, I just can’t figure out who made them.

Here is another good resource

Definitely not the Toyota concept car.

I went through the first 25 pages of Googled pics from GorillaMan’s first link, and no dice (but lots of interesting pics!). Ditto for the second link. It never would’ve occurred to me to look for it using the keywords “bubble car”.

It looks like it could be a missing prop from Woody Allen’s “Sleeper”… a very minimalist, bubble-top, micro car of the future, and shaped like Our Great Leader’s nose! :smiley:

It’s safe to say there’ll be other sightings, though, if that guy keeps taking it out on the road. There’s simply too many Dopers in central New Jersey for this to remain an unsolved mystery…

Definitely not the Bond bug.

The bubble top of the “nose” car is much, much smaller and contoured around the driver’s head, without any metal supports or bodywork dividing the glass into panes. And all the car’s lines were curvy… not a sharp corner in sight.

Keep 'em coming, though!

The sparrow


I am no petrol head, but you reminded me of a car I saw on Top Gear, and thought it would be a great toy!
Would your car be the Vandenbrink Carver?

groman, who makes that car? I’ve been looking for half an hour for that exact thing.

Nevermind, found it.

Are you sure it’s not a Sparrow? It’s got the two wheels in front, but otherwise seems to fit your description exactly. It even comes in neon green.

Not the Sparrow, although the curvy styling of that car is getting pretty close. I’m sure about the wheel config being different, plus the bubble top of the “nose” car had no metal roof (or side bar bits), so the driver’s head looked very… exposed.

It was a paler, more yellowish green, too.

Close, though.

Front single wheel free wheelers are rare designs. From the site I listed before is this one which fits your discription as best as I can tell and

How about the Messerschmitt KR200? You might recognize it from Terry Gilliams’s Brazil.

Nope. I’ll keep my eyes peeled, of course, and hopefully some other 'Jersey Dopers will read this thread. I’m just curious about what I saw; I certainly don’t want to drive one.

In an ideal world, we would all be driving smaller, lighter vehicles for ordinary trips and errands. For all the appeal of micros and minis, though, I’m afraid of the elevated dangers they pose to their drivers. In any collision between a tiny car and an SUV in particular, the SUV is going to “win,” and the results won’t be pretty. :frowning:

was it modern looking or retro?

I think I know the car you’re talking about,but damned if I can remember the name, and I don’t have time to dig around and find the magazine (assuming I still have it), but if it’s the car I’m thinking of, it’s actually a kit car made by a British company that does Lotus style kit cars as well.

The only other possibility I can think of that hasn’t been mentioned is this, but I doubt that’s it.

You might try digging around on these sites for clues:

The front tip of the car in Tuckerfan’s link is really close – only the car I saw was squatter, not as long from front to back, and I think the front wheel was a lot closer to the tip. The bubble top was also different.

Re. styling, I’d say it was minimalist, simply because it was free of ornamentation, straight angles and lines, and had clean, high-precision look. Whether that look qualifies at futuristic or retro is perhaps a judgment call. Granted, this sort of minimalism flourished during the '60’s-'70’s, so it has a certain retro aspect now. The popularity of the overtly retro PT Cruiser [?] when it was unveiled a few years ago further suggests that ours is a post-modern era of automotive design… In any event, its curvy styling suggests to me that it was probably a production model of some kind. If a hobbyist or inventor made it, he must’ve had access to some sophisticated machine tooling, etc., just to make it look so good and even symmetrical.