I was called to the Messerschmitt Car Factory in Regensburg over concerns about the safety of their so-called “Bubble Car”. I was introduced to the chief engineer.

 

In 1952, Fritz Fend approached Messerschmitt with the idea of manufacturing small motor vehicles based on his Fend Flitzerinvalid carriage. The first of Fend’s vehicles to enter production is the KR175. The title Kabinenroller means “scooter with cabin”.”

 

“It does look a bit clumsy, does it pass the swerve test, or Elk avoidance test?”

 

“The car can swerve very quickly, but it does topple over if driven too quickly on this test.”

 

“Are the drivers told about this when they buy the car – avoid roads where there are lots of elk in the way?”

 

“They aren’t, no, it’s more likely they’ll use common sense.”

 

“Or another car that has passed this particular test, well this car has to pass the test, so I have to issue you with an Elk-avoidance test failure notice and a BZVZVJJ-9090001 form, which will allow you to re-apply for this test when improvements have been made to the vehicle. Now what else is there? Oh what’s that?”

 

“That’s the bomb sight.”

 

“The bomb sight?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why do you have a bomb sight on a car?”

 

“Well, we are an aircraft manufacturer and old habits die hard I suppose – we couldn’t design a car without a few features from aircraft thrown in for good measure, plus who occasionally doesn’t want to shoot at someone who is driving badly…”

 

“And drop bombs on them?”

 

“Yes, but of course we don’t actually add bombs to the car, not as standard, because there’s not enough room.”

 

“It would also contravene a large number of laws such as those governing safety in moving vehicles and the ownership of explosive devices with intent to endanger life.”

 

“Well, as I said, we don’t actually add bombs to the car…”

 

“As standard you said, which might mean there’s non-standard versions of this car with bombs fitted.”

 

“We do custom versions of vehicles for certain politicians who feel the need to be protected at all times.”

 

“Yes, there must be many of those, but I presume they’re in countries where health and safety laws aren’t too strict.”

 

“Yes, they are and they provide their own bombs so we don’t export them.”

 

“Good because you don’t have an export license for such things. What other aircraft features have you incorporated into this car? For example, there appears to be holes under the headlights – what are they for?”

 

“They’re where the machine guns would go if we were to ever fit them to a vehicle, which we never do as standard, of course…”

 

“So those politicians can really protect themselves, can’t they? Not just bomb aimers but machine guns too. Is there a flame thrower from the exhaust too?”

 

“How do you know about that? That was supposed to be a secret.”

 

“That was just a guess, what market are you aiming for here? Don’t most dictators go for the armoured vehicles look?”

“They do, but this car allows them to be seen when they’re in a safe place, such as their own home.”

 

“Even members of their family want them dead do they?”

 

“Sadly, it would seem that way.”

 

“That is unfortunate