I’ve seen this little gem bimbling around Basingstoke for some time now & finally caught up with the owner when he stopped outside a newsagents on my delivery. Leon runs a picture framing business in a local art & craft centre so once I’d finished delivering her Maj’s mail I nipped round for an impromptu photo-shoot.
I think this is gorgeous. It’s got so much character in such a small package! It’s a “TriTech Schmitt” -a fibreglass replica of the 60s Messerschmitt micro car. This particular one is ten years old & used to be the demo car for Tritech’s spares business, featuring on the cover of their catalogue. It originally used a 400cc engine but the previous owner swapped it for a 250cc auto Honda Spacey scooter motor because the bigger lump “Scared him silly”! Running on tiny 8” diameter wheels, the little 4 stroke still manages a healthy 70+ mph though. Leon describes the handling as nimble around town but a little lively & skittery on uneven road surfaces with “spirited” cornering sometimes lifting one corner clear of the road. Rear braking is courtesy of the standard Honda drum set-up while the two front wheels use 1968 Mini drum brakes. The lack of a reverse gear means 3 point turns involve hopping out & physically pushing the little car backwards! Most journeys are made with

the hood folded down as the cockpit quickly fills with fumes from the rear mounted engine!
This is Leon’s first car. He bought it as a non-runner from a family friend two years ago with the promise that he’d resurrect it & use it regularly, which he’s duly done, trundling to work & back in it every day. Half a dozen friends collected the Schmitt in a Transit van, simply picking it up between them & “posting” it through the back doors. He tells me it never fails to make people smile -in fact he admits every journey is accompanied by a soundtrack of constant laughter & finger pointing, but he loves it. As he says, most teenagers have never seen such a quirky little machine before & just can’t believe they were once a common sight. In fact, there are at least four others in the Basingstoke area including one rare four wheeled version.
Although proving a fantastic mobile billboard for his business, this is definitely an enthusiasts’ machine, needing constant attention, & by his own admission, Leon isn’t mechanically adept, but he's learning fast!