HEINKEL KABINE (Model 153)
Built in 1957
174cc single cylinder four - stroke engine
Ernst Heinkel's company had been a major producer of aircraft during the war, but had been forced by the allies to abandon this line of business in 1945. The company policy initially became one of developing and manufacturing internal combustion engines. By 1954 production of complete vehicles was well under way, with motor scooters and the Perle moped proving succesful, but failing to occupy all the Stuttgart plant's potential.
Prototype Heinkel bubblecars were made from about 1953, with production models intended to follow by 1955. However, the launch of the cars was delayed until 1956 by mutual agreement with BMW, whose Isetta was about to reach the market. But within a few months of the 1957 launch, the Heinkel had proved itself to be a reliable and practical alternative to less worthy small cars and motorcycles.
Built entirely of steel, Heinkel bodies were of the monocoque type, with chassis members incorporated, Heinkel's aircraft background helping to keep weight to a minimum. The majority of cars remaining are three-wheelers, but four wheelers were also made, the two rear wheels being set close together. As might be expected, Heinkel 's own engines were used, initially of 174cc, but a 200cc model was later offered.
Production was transferred to Dundalk in Ireland from 1958, and a large number were also assembled in Argentina for the South American market. The final Irish-built car left the Dundalk plant in 1962, manufacture was taken over by Trojan of Croydon, England, who attached badges bearing their own name for two more years.