Believe it or not, the Brütsch Rollera microcar was the large choice in its model family, it was based on the smaller Brütsch Mopetta. Both shared similar styling but the Rollera offered notably more space, and it had a more powerful motor.
Brütsch was a German car designer and automaker based in Stuttgart, the company had been founded by Egon Brütsch to design and build microcars, which in the post-WW2 period were exceedingly popular across Europe.
Perhaps the main reason for the popularity of microcars was the fact that they were cheap to build, cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and miserly on gasoline. Europe was in a period of stringent austerity, but people still needed transportation.
The most famous microcar is probably the Iso Isetta, also produced under license by a number of other manufacturers including BMW. It would be this practice of having other people license his designs that would most appeal to Egon Brütsch. Although his company was an automaker he always seemed largely focused on the engineering and design of the cars, which he then hoped to license to other manufacturers for the more dreary job of actually mass-producing and selling them.
Above Image: This Rollera is fitted with an Isard 124cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine producing 6 hp.
The Brütsch Mopetta and the Brütsch Rollera
The Brütsch Rollera and Brütsch Mopetta both first appeared in 1956, the Mopetta was the “moped” version as it was fitted with a single-cylinder 49cc moped engine mated to a three-speed gearbox.
The Rollera was fitted with a larger 98cc Fichtel & Sachs engine with a similar three-speed gearbox, the body of the Rollera was slightly larger and there was more room internally.
The top speed of the Brütsch Rollera is said to be 105 km/h (65 mph) making it a bit of a speed demon in comparison to other microcars of the era – although it would be somewhat of an invigorating experience to travel at that sort of speed in such a small vehicle.
The Rollera was fitted with a perspex windscreen and a simple folding top to keep the rain off, however there were no side windows. The two models were offered until 1958 and although they were both licensed it’s believed that only the Rollera was actually built and sold, and even then it was in very low numbers.
Above Image: The cockpit of the Rollera was cozy and relatively simple. Steering was accomplished with handlebars and there was just a single gauge – a speedometer.
It’s typically very difficult to find Rolleras or Mopettas nowadays, so much so that a number of replica Mopettas have been built over the years. When they do come up for sale they typically attract plenty of attention and prices you may not expect, with some fetching over $60,000 USD.
The Brütsch Rollera Shown Here
The car you see here is a Brütsch Rollera from 1958, it was found in parts by its current owner who restored it carefully back to original specification – a demanding task given the extreme scarcity of spare parts.
This is one of the Rolleras that was built under license in France, so it’s fitted with a larger Isard 124cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine producing 6 hp. During the restoration no stone was left unturned, the chassis was restored, followed by the fiberglass body, and the engine was inspected and reassembled.
The vehicle is now likely one of the nicest Rolleras extant and it’s due to roll across the auction block with Artcurial on the 5th of February.
The price estimate is €30,000 to €50,000 and you can click here if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid.
Images courtesy of Artcurial
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.