Messerschmitt Microcar on Loan from Forney Museum
Mid-February – Mid-May
YUMA, COLO – Denver’s Forney Museum of Transportation and The Orphanage, in Yuma, have forged a partnership to expose some of the Forney’s collection to a wider audience in eastern Colorado. Starting mid-February and running through mid-May, The Orphanage will display a 1955 Messerschmitt KR200, on loan from the Forney Museum.
Messerschmitt AG was an aircraft manufacturing corporation, formed in 1938, primarily known for its World War II aircraft and producing Germany’s first operational jet fighter. After World War II, Messerschmitt was banned from manufacturing airplanes for a period of ten years. For that period the company had to turn its resources to manufacturing other products. A merger in 1968 and a partnership in 1970 lead Messerschmitt to become a founding partner of Airbus Industrie and eventual involvement in Spacelab which was carried into space aboard the U.S. space shuttle.
The microcar on display at the Orphanage is a two-seat tandem, three-wheeled “Bubble Car,” designed by aeronautical engineer Fritz Fend to be produced at the Messerschmitt facility, in Regensburg, Germany. Fend first produced the KR175 in the Messerschmitt factory in 1953 and in 1955 it was replaced by the KR200. KR stands for Kabinenroller (cabin scooter). In addition to a larger engine, the KR200 had improved suspension, engine mounting and controls, larger wheels, and a means by which to reverse the car. Reverse was accomplished by reversing the rotation of the engine itself.
Retailing for around DM 2,500 ($595), the KR200 was considered an instant success with almost 12,000 built during its first year. An “Export” package included a two-tone paint scheme, painted hubcaps, a fully trimmed interior, a heater, a clock, and a sunshade for the canopy. The United Kingdom was the manufacturers biggest export destination.
In 1956, Messerschmitt could manufacture aircraft again and lost interest in producing Fend’s microcar. The factory was sold to Fend and associates who went on producing the KR200 under the Messerschmitt name and logo. In 1957 they expanded production to include the Kabrio (convertible) and the KR201 Roadster. Production of the KR200 ceased in 1964. Between 1955 and 1964, approximately 30,200 KR200s were produced.
The KR200 engine is a 191 cc, 9.9 hp, Fichtel & Sachs two-stroke, single cylinder engine, operable in both directions of crankshaft rotation. Top speed was 90 km/h (56 mph) and fuel consumption was claimed to be 87 mpg. Transmission is four speeds forward or reverse, sequential, unsynchronized.
The Forney Museum of Transportation is located at 4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver. Their collection of over 600 artifacts includes the Timme Motorcycle Collection, Union Pacific ‘Big Boy’ Steam Locomotive #4005, Amelia Earhart’s 1923 Kissel ‘Gold Bug’, 1888 Denver Cable Car, and much more. The Orphanage is in downtown Yuma at 300 South Main Street. For more information about this exhibit or future shows, please contact Richard Birnie at (970) 630-3360, or visit the Orphanage website at orphanageyuma.com.
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Ford Model TT Fire Truck
YUMA, COLO – The Orphanage, in downtown Yuma, is displaying a restored 1920 Ford Model TT fire truck, the second T stands for Truck, belonging to the Eckley Volunteer Fire Department. Originally owned by the Yuma Volunteer Fire Department, the fire truck on display was sold to the E.V.F.D. in the 1950’s. The TT fire truck will be on display from November 16th through February 15th.
Almost from the beginning of Model T production, the public clamored for commercial chassis on which to build a multitude of working vehicles. Due to its versatility, the T made a suitable platform for fire trucks. First offered in 1911, but not officially considered in production until 1914, Ford started selling stripped down chassis. They were stripped of all bodywork except for the cowl, engine cover, radiator, front fenders and headlamps. Customers would take these rolling chassis to independent body makers to create custom bodies that suited the customer’s needs.
Rural fire departments with modest budgets appreciated the Ford chassis’ reasonable price, low operating cost and easy maintenance. In 1917, in anticipation of Chevrolet and Dodge producing truck chassis, Ford decided to produce a commercial chassis with a stretched wheelbase. The Model TT was based on the T but with a rear axle worm gear, heavier frame & rear axle, and it would carry a payload of 1 ton. The TT sold for $600 and in 1920 almost 54,000 commercial chassis were sold.
Specifications for the Model TT chassis are as follows: 125” wheelbase, compared to the Model T at 100”. The engine size is 177 cu. in. producing 20 hp., and with standard gearing, 15 mph was the recommended top speed. Transmission is a two-speed planetary type. Suspension is via transverse, semi elliptical springs both front and rear and the wheels are wood artillery wheels. Ignition is a magneto type.
This E.V.F.D. fire truck sports a body provided by the Julius Pearse Fire Department Supply Company of Denver, CO. Julius Pearse was one of the organizers of the original volunteer fire department of Denver, an organizer of the Colorado State Fire Association and, in the late 1800’s, a pioneer fire chief of the city of Denver. Later in life, he formed the Julius Pearse Fire Department Supply Company which supplied all manner of fire-fighting equipment in addition to custom bodies for commercial chassis.
The E.V.F.D team for this ten-year restoration was Andy Hagemeier, Tony Probasco and Tim Probasco. Mechanical restoration and paint by Chapman Custom Auto, Edison, NE, stripes and graphics by Hot Brush, Bird City, KS and plating by Quality Plating, Yuma, CO. Paint was donated by Todd A. Wendt. The restoration project was completed in August 2018.
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1940 International Farmall A – This tractor was restored by Ramon O. Hernandez in 2013. Bill Wenger presented it to his wife Marie on her birthday in 2013. The “A” occupied a place of honor on the turntable at The Orphanage during Marie’s birthday party, October 6, 2018.