Back in economically better days the automotive industry was booming and tiny car companies were popping up all over the place, eager to share their unique contours and features with the world.
Nowadays, if you want to see all those strange cars that time forgot you've gotta visit an auto museum, and nobody has more one-offs and oddball models than the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Lane Motor Museum is home to rare models built by companies trying to break into the auto biz, such as the French pedal car company Mochet (above) or the British tractor company Opperman, who built this adorably austere Opperman Unicar back in the 50s:
The Lane is also home to oddball autos made by motorcycle companies, such as the Maico (pic at top of post), doomed because of a dumb engineering oversight:
In 1956, they stretched the Maico 400 chassis to accommodate four passengers but didn’t fully engineer the resulting Maico 500 (the Lane owns a ’58), and the added weight overwhelmed the front axle.
But motorcycle makers didn't always fail to transition to more than two wheels, as the strange looking yet moderately successful three-wheeled car called the New-Map Solyto proves.
The Solyto was manufactured by the French company New-Map from 1952 to 1974- it weighed only 330 pounds and had an output of 5.5 horsepower, but it was always a big hit with the microcar crowd.