1959 Messerschmitt KR 200 Sport
Sold For $92,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
The rarest of all Messerschmitts; the only genuine factory “Sport” model known to exist.
Manufacturer: Fahrzeug und Maschinenbau Regensburg
Origin: Regensburg, Germany
Motor: Fichtel & Sachs 1-cyl, 2-stroke
Displacement: 191 cc
Power: 9.5 hp
Length: 9 ft. 25 in.
Identification No. 76,103
Fritz Fend was very much aware of the difficulties and shortages that plagued post-war Germany while he was building low-cost vehicles for the disadvantaged. Once the production Kabinenroller was underway, there was always a readiness to accommodate the less well-off Messerschmitt customer. From the beginning, there was always a bare bones, stripped-down version available in the range.
While the KR 175 was built specifically as a bare “scooter with a roof,” lacking interior panels, the KR 200 became rather more luxurious. But still, the KR 200 was available in a Standard version without interior panels, a heater, hubcaps, a clock, and it was in a single color only. The stripped-down version’s name was changed to Sport a year later, subtly implying a deliberate purchase choice by a sporty, hardier driver, rather than a choice made out of financial necessity.
The sporting wind-in-the-face driver was catered to by the roadster body style first introduced on the brief run of the special model KR 201, but it was available on request as a regular body style until the end of production.
By 1959, it was clear that the writing was on the wall for the microcar, and Fritz Fend decided to once again offer an economical, stripped-down version of his somewhat pricey Kabinenroller under the name of the by now discontinued economy model, the Sport. In the factory newsletter, Ka-Ro Extrapost, the list of available models included the roadster until the summer of 1959. In the fall issue, the roadster was replaced by the new Sport. It made its debut at the IAA exhibition in 1959.
Taking as its inspiration the already-existing racing Tiger R-AX 350 so famously deployed by Fritz Fend, the windshield, top frame, top, and hinged lifting door were eliminated. Entry was now “over the side,” and the fixed side panels were lowered by four inches to facilitate this. A small Plexiglas windscreen and tonneau cover provided token weather protection, mostly when parked. A tonneau bar was used to hold the cover open for just the driver. Interior trim panels looked standard, but they were unique to the car, with slight alterations to suit the new body. The car was equipped from new with the very rare, factory, extra-low Tiger seat without the usual parallelogram lifting arms, giving an ultra-sporting driving position. It was called the “special seat for tall drivers.”
Once again, in consideration of the impecunious customer, the Messerschmitt could be purchased and outfitted in a modular style as money became available. One could buy the basic car without a lifting section. The next customer could then purchase and fit the cheap, fixed Sport conversion. One could later add an interior panel set and then move up to a proper lifting section with bubble top or cabrio roof. All were interchangeable.
This very special car is the rarest of all Messerschmitts. It is the only genuine example of a factory Sport model known to exist. Finished in green, white, and yellow paintwork, it led a well-known life in England as 837 CLJ. It was one of perhaps just three that went to England, and if any were sold in their home country, the experts are not aware of them.
The car had been exceptionally well cared-for by its previous owner, with special attention to rust prevention, as there was no rust in evidence at all. Even the mirrors, when dismantled, had a tiny dab of grease on each pivot ball. It was restored to its original all-white color scheme. The Sport was sold at Christie’s in 1997 and was subsequently re-acquired for the present collection.
It is widely regarded as one of the most significant microcars ever built, and its availability here represents an outstanding opportunity to own one of the definitive and most outstanding examples of the marque.