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Homepage. This page: Crowds flock to get a better look at this Mikrus MR300 at a trade extravaganza.

Mikrus MR-300.

Several photos taken at a Polish trade fair in the 1950s turned up a while back, and amongst them was this snapshot of a tiny Polish micro-car. Bengt Axel on the forum identified the car as a Mikrus MR-300, a diminutive rear-engined micro-car produced in the mid/late 1950s. A crowd of people can be seen milling around this example.
With a quoted output of just 14.5bhp from its 296cc two-cylinder, two-stroke, engine, performance - especially when laden - would not have been the Mikrus' strongpoint. A top speed of around 55 mph was achievable, so long as there was no headwind to speak of, and the car was lightly loaded. The car to its credit could accommodate upto four people, although with access to the "boot" area up front only being possible by scrabbling around under the dashboard, you'd have to hope that the car's occupants preferred to travel lightly (similar to the Standard 8 and Austin-Healey Sprite Mk1 in that regard, albeit at the opposite end of both vehicles).
Curiously, the Mikrus MR-300 was built from 1957 to 1960, yet this (and the other photos that came with it) are all dated 1955. Either the photographer got his or her dates wrong, or else this was a pre-production example.
The rear-hinged door arrangements are evident in this shot, as is the fitment of a single windscreen wiper for the car's driver. As with the BMC Mini of 1959, the Mikrus employed ten-inch road wheels. But while the Mini was a "clean sheet of paper" design in most respects, the Mikrus took (very close) inspiration from the German Goggomobil micro-car, the Polish concern even purchasing and dismantling two examples of the latter during the MR-300's design phase.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A Mikrus MR-300 on display
As a motor for the masses, its design met the brief for economical, no-frills, motoring. It was aimed squarely at the Polish motorist, or aspiring motorist, perhaps one who yearned to ditch his motorcycle, and bask in the luxury offered by features such as a roof, and accommodation for his/her family. The downside was the price - with mass production never taking off fully, each car cost the equivalent of fifty monthly wage packets, too much to stomach for most prospective purchasers. Prototype cabriolet and pickup versions were assembled, and would have boosted sales considerably had a lower price been achievable, but alas for the Polish motorist, neither alternative joined the two-door saloon in production.
By 1960 the writing was on the wall for this intriguing little car, and it was in that year that production ceased, the Mikrus MR-300 being consigned to the history books.
Find more early motoring photos on Page 16 of the vintage gallery.

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