The first Messerschmitt 'car', then, was the KR175, christened Kabinenroller, meaning 'scooter with a cabin'. This was then developed into the KR200, which arrived in 1955.
The 385lb three-wheeler, which looked suspiciously akin to a fighter aircraft's canopy, was powered by a 191cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke Fichtel & Sachs motor, giving a maximum of 10bhp at 5250rpm. This sent drive to the rear wheel through a four-speed sequential manual gearbox. The car was steered by a rotating bar control that required small, two-dimensional inputs.
On 11 January 1957, Autocar clambered into the KR200 for a test drive.
"The KR200 falls in its own class between two-wheeled scooters and miniature four-wheelers," we began. "If you have a motorcycle driving licence, you may not use it in reverse; if, on the other hand, you normally drive a car, then you may use all gears in reverse as well as forward.
"We are licensed to drive four-wheeled vehicles and the observations which follow are from the viewpoint of a motorist who is using this enclosed three-wheeler as an extra petrol-saving runabout for himself and members of the family.
"The KR200 has two and a half seats; the driver has a central one to himself and at the back there is a bench which will hold a small wife and child, or a larger wife and a shopping basket. Behind again there is a shelf for small parcels and the like. On a shopping excursion, more parcels can be placed about the floor of both cockpits without getting in the way.
"With the transparent (perspex) enclosure hinged over to starboard, it is easy enough to step into the centre of the floor and sit down. The front seat raises some six inches up and back to facilitate the lowering of one's person onto it. The 'lid' closes quite easily and latches down firmly, but it is rather heavy to lift when one wants to get out again.
"As for starting, one simply turns the petrol to main; pulls out the choke, if cold; turns the ignition key to switch on, and a little further to engage the electric dynamo-starter. Catch the engine on the accelerator pedal and let the choke slide in almost at once, or over-richness may stall it again.