Welcome to the website for the British Bubblecar Museum, the only public museum in the UK dedicated only to microcars. The term ‘microcar’ means literally a car with an engine capacity of less than 700cc, although most are much smaller. Microcars, or bubble cars as they are often called, are a significant part of British motoring history.
The iconic bubble cars we recognize today were born in the early 1950s, a time of austerity following the second world war. Though smaller, cheaper vehicles had always been in demand, these cars were a radical departure in their use of new technologies and futuristic design. Urged on by uncertainty over oil supplies from the Middle East, lots of small manufacturers were soon busily making strange little fuel frugal cars all over Britain and the continent.
Prominent English makers were Bond, run by Laurie Bond of Lancashire, who produced a series of particularly strange ‘mini cars’, and Berkeleys of Biggleswade who made striking vehicles that took their styling cues from sports cars of the day. Others included the Meadows Frisky, Peel, Reliant, AC Petite and Scootacar.
Throughout the ‘swinging’ 60s bubble cars were marketed as cheap, fun alternatives to more conventional vehicles. By the late 60s however microcar popularity was on the wane, with competition from a new generation of small cars, including the famous Mini. Itself a marvel of engineering. Some later microcars lost the ‘bubble look’, favouring the ‘wedge’ shapes popular at the time. Years later Reliant vans from this period would find international fame in BBC TV comedies Only Fools and Horses and Mr Bean.
Over the decades these cars and their European counterparts from Messerschmitt, Isetta, Vespa, Heinkel and many more have garnered a huge following of fans and enthusiasts.
The museum will have over 50 microcars on display from these evocative times, many presented in thought provoking and entertaining period displays. We will have scooters too, and some later cars, including the single seater Bamby, made in Hull by Yorkshire entrepreneur Alan Evans in the early 1980s.
The museum will also feature a row of period shops, where you will be invited to discover our extensive collections of 50′s memorabilia, including Bakelite and china.
Upstairs in the mezzanine area our comprehensive technical, advertising and article archives will be open for you to access.
So make a date, come and see us in our new location, and travel back in time with us to explore this fascinating era of history.
Remember the sixties? See what you recognise!
Outside we have a new campsite/rally ground which you can book for events.
Please note vehicles and memorabilia depicted on the website may not be on display at the time of your visit. If you wish to see a particular vehicle it is advisable to check in advance whether or not it is on display.