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• RM Auctions presents the celebrated Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum without reserve, February 15–16, 2013 in Madison, Georgia
• Museum is regarded as the world’s finest and largest collection of rare microcars
• Vast majority of microcars on offer are presented for the first time in auction history
• Sale also features an eclectic assortment of collectibles, including period neon signs, kiddie rides, models, literature, vintage vending machines, and candy dispensers
Editor’s Note: When we saw RM Auctions was holding an auction for a collection of microcars, we had a sneaking suspicion that there’d be something from Audi’s past in the mix and particularly from NSU. The Prinz 3 is a well-known model from the era before the TT and TTS monikers were added to Prinz models. As for the other, it’s a rare station wagon (Panoramica) bodystyle of the Autobianchi Bianchina sold under a distribution deal in Germany as NSU-FIAT. That it bears the NSU name is the reason we’re also including it in our coverage though it wasn’t produced by NSU.
Carefully amassed over 15 years by businessman and dedicated collector Bruce Weiner, the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum represents the world’s largest collection of the world’s smallest cars. Extremely well-known and respected the world over, the colorful and utterly unique museum reflects Weiner’s lifelong fascination with rarities of mechanical interest. It also reflects a fastidious collecting philosophy; in building the collection, Bruce scoured the world to secure the best, the rarest, and the most unusual examples extant, often dedicating multiple years to the “thrill of the chase” and eventual acquisition of select lots.
Now, after 15 years of welcoming thousands of visitors from across the globe to tour his impressive museum and holding countless microcar meets onsite, Weiner is preparing to disperse his fascinating collection, sharing the joy it has brought him over the years with other passionate collectors. The upcoming two-day sale will see his entire collection cross the podium without reserve, including approximately 200 microcars, along with an eclectic assortment of more than 300 lots of collectibles. The offering includes period neon signage, exceptionally rare kiddie rides, hugely valuable micorcar models, literature, and delightful period vending machines and candy dispensers, all from the 1950s—the heyday of the microcar.
“Bruce Weiner is the consummate collector with an incredible sense of fun and remarkable eye for rarity and quality—elements that are all perfectly reflected in his prized collection,” says Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions. “As a microcar collection, the Bruce Weiner Museum is unequivocally the finest of its kind worldwide. With many items having been closely guarded in private ownership, and the vast majority coming to public auction for the first time, the sale is truly unprecedented. We are honored to have been selected by Bruce to present his museum collection, and we look forward to welcoming enthusiasts to what promises to be an unbelievably fun and unforgettable weekend.”
Highlighted by a magnificent roster of examples from the late-1940s through the early-1960s, Bruce’s microcar offering has to be seen to be believed. Spanning a broad range of makes and models from around the world, the spectacularly diverse collection comprises every imaginable microcar iteration, body style, engine displacement, color combination, and country of origin. Whether they are highly original, unmolested examples or recipients of exceptional, professional restorations conducted onsite in Bruce’s own shops, each is considered by industry experts to be the “best of the very best,” and in many cases, the only examples made or surviving.
From the smallest production car ever built, a 1964 Peel P-50, to the Italian iteration of the Messerschmitt, known as the Mivalino, the only 100 percent original one in the world, the collection quite literally contains everything—every imaginable Biscuter, an assortment of four Goggomobil Transporters, of which few additional examples exist, and such rarities as a 1955 Kleinschnittger F-125 and two Voisin Biscooters, the extraordinary microcar built by legendary French aviation and automotive engineer Gabriel Voisin.
Headlining the offering is the world’s only complete Messerschmitt collection, spanning from a 1953 KR175 to the second to last serial number known to exist. It also includes the only surviving 1961 Messerschmitt KR201 Sport, an incredibly rare 1957 Messerschmitt KR201 Roadster, and a highly desirable ‘Tiger,’ the rarest of all Messerschmitts and the only one finished in this color combination. Deemed the fastest microcar ever built, the ‘Tiger’ is capable of a top speed exceeding 70 mph—a truly impressive feat considering its size. Another lot of particular interest is the 1955 Messerschmitt KR200, formerly owned by American circus personality and entertainer Vic Hyde. This pint-sized treasure was given to Hyde by the factory as the first pre-production example for publicity purposes and specially outfitted to hold his musical instruments.
The incomparable Isetta, with its timeless “bubble car” design, is also well-represented in the Bruce Weiner Museum. Aside from a pair of BMW 600s, the BMW Isetta 300 is presented in every imaginable version, from an original German police car acquired directly from the police chief, to a“Jagdwagen” (hunting car), the ultra-rare1957 Isettacarro ‘Pickup Truck,’ and the most desirable of all—an Isetta 300 Bubble-Window Cabriolet. Other delightful bubble cars were built under license in other countries, such as the Velam Isetta of France and the progenitor of them all, the Iso Isetta. In other cases, the bubble car is presented as a marque all its own, such as the Heinkel Kabine. Among a long list of highlights within the group is the 1959 BMW Isetta ‘Whattadrag,’built by Bruce’s team after being inspired by the famed Hot Wheels model. Powered by a 730 horsepower Chevrolet 502 engine, ‘Whattadrag’ is fully operational and inspired a new run of toy cars by Hot Wheels. (Video: http://bit.ly/PahrcJ)
“To me, it’s all about the thrill of the chase,” Weiner adds. “My collection has brought me incredible joy over the years, but simply finding and restoring these cars is not enough for me. In order to fully appreciate them, I need to share them. I’m really looking forward to the sale and happy that these unique cars will be spread to other passionate collectors throughout the world. As I see it, we’re enlarging the microcar community by letting these go and helping keep history alive.”
The Bruce Weiner Collection auction will be held in situ at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum, February 15–16, 2013 in Madison, Georgia. For further information and a frequently updated list of entries, visit www.rmauctions.com or call +1 519 352 4575. For a direct link to the Bruce Weiner Museum auction website, visit www.handlewithfun.com.