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1956 Heinkel Kabine

Aircraft designer Ernst Heinkel saw the Iso Isetta, and decided that he could do one better, using aircraft principles and making it lighter yet faster with a smaller engine. He did just that with the Kabine 150, the quintessential "bubble car" with its large window area and longer, sleeker lines, that were a cross between Isetta and Messerschmitt.

In October 1956, he introduced the Kabine 153 (three-wheeler) and 154 (four wheeler) with the trusty four-stroke motor enlarged to 203cc. From March 1957 this was reduced to 198cc for insurance reasons.

A license to build the Heinkel was also sold to Argentina, where some 2000 examples were sold until 1961. These were fitted with external air filters because of dust problems.

Demand was high for the enormously popular Tourist scooter, and also for the various motors being supplied to other firms ,so there was increased demand for more production space in the Heinkel factories.

Despite a production of some 50 cars a day, the Kabine was losing between 400 and 500 Marks per car. This, combined with the death of Heinkel in January 1958 and the resumption of aircraft production, necessitated the sale of the entire Kabine production facility to the Dundalk Engineering Company in Ireland in June of 1958.This idea was short-lived, however, as quality probems with the Heinkel-I became evident. The Irish factory was dirt-floored, and front axles stored outside. The license was withdrawn.

This example, in its original red color, shows the wide tail assembly used for both three and four-wheelers.

Manufacturer: Ernst Heinkel-Fahrzeugbau GmbH, Stuttgart Germany

Model: Type 153 Motor: Heinkel, 4-stroke Body: Monocoque
Years Built: Oct. 1956 – Jun. 1958 No. Cylinders: 1 Chassis: None
No. Produced: 5,537 Displacement: 198 cc Suspension Front: Coil
No. Surviving: 20 Horsepower: 10.0 Suspension Rear: Coil
Length: 2551 mm Gearbox: 4 + rev Steering: Rack
Width: 1370 mm Starter: Dynastart Brakes: Hydraulic ( Fr.)
Weight: 243 kg Electrics: 12 v 3 Wheels: 4.40 x 10"
Interior: bench (+2) Ignition: Coil Top Speed: 86 kph

© 2002