Why should supercars get all the glory? These micro vehicles show the rise of travelling in a compact and economical fashion over the last six decades.
Marissa Ciampi
Published on February 22, 2021


Today's smart cars didn't arrive out of the blue. Microcars became the hottest vehicle to own across Germany and Italy in the 1950s — popularised by brands like Messerschmitt, BMW, Heinkel and Lambretta. Soon afterwards, the trend towards more compact, lighter and more environmentally friendly cars spread to the UK, Japan and Australia. Here, the most notable contributions to the microcar revolution were the Goggomobil Dart and the Zeta Runabout, the latter of the two was designed by South Australian entrepreneur Harold Lightburn.

From June, you can celebrate the development of these tiny vehicles — and their lasting impact — in an intriguing exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. You'll get to see microcars from the Museum's collection as well as loans from local collectors. In addition to appreciating the past, you'll also be able to look to the future with information about electric and hybrid smart cars around today.

Image: Zeta Runabout, 1964, Powerhouse Collection. Image: Sotha Bourn


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