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Mikrus MR-300-1959

Mikrus MR-300-1959

Mikrus (pronounced Meekroos, meaning: “little tyke” or “midget”) is a Microcar built in Poland between 1958 and 1960.  The design brief titled “4 x 4” called for a 4-wheeled car,able to carry 4 people (2 adults and 2 children) while achieving 4 liters/100kilometers (59 mpg) and weighing 400 kilograms (882 lbs).  The initiative to build a small car originated at WSK manufacturing plant where production of Soviet-designed MiG15 jets just ended, threatening massive layoffs of highly skilled labor.  To keep the workers employed the jet manufacturer took orders to produce literally anything, from table utensils to milk processing equipment –20 different products in all.  Manufacturing a car was, in the eyes of the WSK management, a natural fit.  Not without strong resistance from the ruling Communist party officials (public, rather than individual transportation was favored by Marxists) WSK was eventually given a go-ahead to build a popular car.  A small group of enthusiastic young engineers with little practical experience designed Mikrus between 1956 and 1957, using the German Goggomobil as inspiration.  While mechanical systems differ little from the Goggomobil’s, the body was an entirely original design.  The deeply curved and quite complex body panels were produced by deep stamping technology used to make fuselages for Soviet jets.  The car, in spite of its many flaws* was eagerly snapped up by the car-starved population.  Unfortunately, by 1960 the Ministry Of Heavy Industry inexplicably ordered the production of Mikrus halted.  Only around 1800 Mikrus cars were made.  Of those, perhaps as few as 200 survive today with only a handful roadworthy or complete.  This Mikrus is believed to be one of only three in the US.  *Mikrus joke, inspired by the noisy engine:  “Mikrus is very much like a jet plane: first you hear it, then you see it.”
 
Specifications:
Manufacturer:  WSK Mielec – body/chassis  WSK Rzeszow – engine
Country of Origin:  Poland
Construction:  Steel unibody with floor pan frame, 2-door coupe
Drivetrain Configuration:  Rear engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine:  296 cc, 14 hp @5000 rpm,
2-stroke, 2-cylinder, air cooled
Transmission:  4 speed manual, no synchromesh
Weight:  992 lbs
Top Speed:  56 mph
Fuel economy:  47mpg
Years of Production:  1957-1960
Number Produced:  1728, all variants
Original Cost:  50,000 zloty – about 50 avg. annual salaries
 
 

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