Little bubble car big improvement over scooter... at a push!
Janet Lucas was glad when husband Ted passed his car test as it meant that, when they needed to reverse, she no longer had to push their bubble car backwards.
When we first met in 1958, my boyfriend had just been demobbed from doing National Service in the Royal Air Force. His aim was to own a set of wheels but not a car.
Over the next three years he owned three Lambretta scooters but, after we married in 1962, we decided to purchase a car.
Husband Ted still only had a motorcycle licence and, although he had been taking driving lessons, he was impatient and came home one day and told me had had traded in the scooter for a German 1956 Heinkel Kabine three-wheeler bubble car.
It had four gears and a four-stroke engine – the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of scooters! I was impressed.
His reasoning was that it would be more comfortable, and certainly warmer, on winter days. So true.
These little cars were popular back then. The only drawback was that, as he didn’t have a full car licence, he couldn’t use reverse gear and had to have a metal plate inserted to immobilise it.
When we needed to reverse, guess who had to get out and push it. Luckily, this wasn’t particularly difficult as it wasn’t a large vehicle, and not too heavy, so it was easy to move.
My husband eventually passed his driving test in 1963 and the metal plate was removed so no more pushing the bubble car backwards.
We travelled many miles in Bessie, as we’d named her. She never let us down, was economical to run and certainly more comfortable than a scooter. She even had a sun roof for warmer days.
We sold Bessie in 1964 for a ‘proper’ car – an Austin A35. We were sad to let her go but wanted something larger.
Bessie had been a little gem, and so was the A35. She never let us down either.
Do you have some tales to tell about your first car? The adventures, scrapes, breakdowns, mishaps and maintenance just to keep it on the road. Email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to Andy Russell, motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.