Goodwood Revival celebrates “bubble-cars”

Exhibitions 3 Aug 2006
Goodwood Revival celebrates “bubble-cars”

On next September the Goodwood Revival will celebrate the “bubble-cars” phenomenon with a display of 30 cars, often showing unusual solutions like front-hinged doors, tiny engines and tandem seating positions.

From the official Announcement:

About fifty years ago, when the Suez crisis began in late July 1956, leading to drastic fuel shortages and spiralling oil prices, thousands of UK motorists were pulled to buy and drive a variety of clever, quirky and distinctive economical microcars, usually imported from Continental Europe, in the late Fifties.

1956 Bmw Isetta
1956 Bmw Isetta
These austere economy cars typically had just about enough room for two with a roof over their heads, combined with indifferent performance and attention-grabbing handling.

For the first time at the Goodwood Revival, a selection of around 30 of these ‘bubblecars’, as they became affectionately known, will do a few sedate laps of the celebrated time-warp motor racing circuit. 

They will also form a colourful back-drop for a period 1950s fashion parade on the main Goodwood Motor Circuit Startline straight on Sunday 3rd September.

In addition to the familiar Messerschmitt, BMW Isetta and Heinkel Trojan bubblecars, a selection of scarce and often bizarre microcars will grace the hallowed Goodwood tarmac. 

Rare sightings are expected to include minimalist offerings with names as evocative as the vehicles themselves. 

The Heinkel Trojan (source:
Oddballs from Kleinschnittger, Zundapp, and Goggomobil will be displayed along side nostalgic British three-wheelers from Bond, Peel and Scootacar.

A popular micro sports car, the Berkeley B60, built in Biggleswade with a 322cc lightweight engine, was launched at the Goodwood circuit fifty years ago with the help of Stirling Moss. 

It is hoped that Sir Stirling will be reunited with the little Berkeley, and a large period TV camera will be mounted on the car to recreate Moss filming his drive around the West Sussex circuit for Pathé News, just as he did at the 1956 Goodwood launch.

Bmw Isetta Standard and Export
Bmw Isetta Standard and Export
Sir Alec Issigonis, creator of the Mini, along with his then-boss (of BMC Austin Morris) Leonard Lord, loathed these little European bubblecars, and effectively killed them off at a stroke with the introduction of the Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor (later known simply as the Mini) in Autumn 1959. 

Revival visitors can expect to see a number of early Minis on site over the weekend, to contrast against the bubblecars.

About Goodwood Revival

The Goodwood Revival is the only event that places motor racing into a carefully choreographed historical backdrop.

The result is a truly unforgettable experience, and an atmosphere unlike any other sporting event. 

Despite high fuel prices now, just as in 1956, the Revival is still set to attract over 100,000 enthusiastic race goers, mostly dressed in period fashions, over the 1.2.3 September.

For further information visit

(Source: Goodwood)

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