Old Cars is turning 50. In honor of 50 years of the privilege of bringing the old cars hobby to our valued and faithful readers, Old Cars will revisit 50 of our past featured cars in 50 days, to commemorate the half-century of Old Cars. Here's to fifty more years of Old Cars!
DAY FIFTY: 1959 King Midget
Dick Russ ponied up $2,500 for the remnants of his 1959 Model 3, which is a lot more than any of the King Midgets cost new during their production run from 1946-’69. They were the undisputed “Kings” of the low-budget cars, with one-cylinder engines, two seats, a removable canvas top and not much else.
They were originally the brainchild of Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt, who made it their mission to build the most affordable car on the market. The pair began selling the cars as kits out of Athens, Ohio, in 1946. The kits were basically a pattern for sheet metal (if you wanted any), a steering assembly, suspension parts, and a frame to mount everything on. No engine was included, but if you could find a one-cylinder engine lying around, you were in business.
“In high school I had a friend who had one,” Russ says. “His parents let him have one because they thought he couldn’t get into any trouble with such a little car. I was just fascinated by the car, and I just thought it was neat because it was more than I had!”
Years later, Russ said he stumbled upon a story about the King Midget in a magazine while he was flying to a job interview following college.
“I saw this article and thought, ‘Boy, that would be fun. I’d really like to have one of those,’ but I was just out of school, and I didn’t have any money.”
To learn more about Russ' King Midget <CLICK HERE>
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