Copper Compact: 1963 King Midget – $9,500
With both countries left decimated at the end of World War II, England and Germany saw the emergence of microcars as an economical way for their citizens to afford a car. Across the pond here in America, two entrepreneurs also had a similar idea when they developed the King Midget microcar. While the original Model 1 introduced in 1946 was a single-seat kit car, by 1951 Midget Motors offered a two-passenger convertible known as the Model 2.
Approximately one thousand of the five thousand built in the 1950s and 1960s still exist and we just came across this restored 1963 King Midget Model 2 currently listed here on Craigslist in Nutley, New Jersey (Newark) appears to be a finely restored example that the seller reports everything works like new.
Currently asking $,9,500, a quick check of the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation Tool confirms the seller’s ask falls at the high end of this guide’s current “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail values of $4,050, $8,450, and $13,300, respectively.
Started by two American WWII veterans Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt following the War, Midget Motors Company based in Athens, Ohio designed and built microcars between 1946 and 1970. Although the company’s main product line was parts supplies, they also started branching out by offering a kit to build the car, they soon added completely assembled cars and later only offered completed cars.
Midget Motors’ primary methods of advertising their cars were through small advertisements in popular magazines that appealed to home mechanics. The ads were tiny but effective; they showed a midget car and some earlier ads contained the phrase “500 lb. car for $500.00” The ads brought in a steady stream of interested customers. Some of the magazines featured articles about the car and several pictured the car on their front cover. This method of direct selling continued for most of the life of the company.
The first generation King Midget was a single-passenger kit designed to resemble a midget racer. The kit included the chassis, axles, steering assembly, springs, instruction manual, plus dimensioned patterns for the sheet metal, all for a cost of $270.00. It would accept any single-cylinder air-cooled engine. By 1947, the Model 1 was also available in assembled form, powered by a six-horsepower Wisconsin engine. Since adding a differential would have increased the cost, the car was driven by the right rear wheel only. It used a centrifugal clutch designed by Orcutt. The pair began to develop a two-passenger microcar in 1947. In total, nine separate prototypes were built until the designers met their goals of simplicity, lightness, and economy. The result was the improved Model 2.
When it appeared on the cover of Popular Science magazine in 1951, the Model 2 was a two-passenger convertible offered either fully assembled or as a kit, powered by a 23 cubic inch, 7.5 horsepower Wisconsin AENL engine. With a 72 inch wheelbase (eight inches less than a Crosley 4CC), the Model 2 measured only 102 inches overall. The Model 2 was still a very basic car; it had no speedometer or reverse, but it was light, strong and available for just $500. Soon after the Model 2 was in production, the company began to offer the option of a two-speed automatic transmission that included a reverse. This transmission, developed and patented by Orcutt and Dry, was soon to be included as standard equipment and was used on all subsequent models.
The Vintage Vehicle Show YouTube Channel provides a history of the King Midget brand:
If you are serious about buying this classic 1963 King Midget, you can start the conversation by calling Carmen at (973) 851-7570. When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their King Midget featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“This is a 1963 King midget, it’s in like brand new shape and was redone before I got it. Everything works and is like brand new. No rust or rot and has been stored indoors. I do have a clean NJ title for it, and it can be run on the road. I can provide more pics if needed.“
Show or go: what would you do with this restored 1963 King Midget? Comment below and let us know!