luxury cars you never heard of The Real Reason Behind Luxury Cars You Never Heard Of



If you had to brainstorm the ideal calendar for a car company, I doubtable that best of you would appear up with article like this: a tiny three-wheeled microcar alleged “the aerial saucer,” a tiny knockoff Jeep, addition microcar with four wheels, a Mercedes 190 SL knockoff, and a bizarrely agee sedan. Right? If that’s your list, again get accessible to be delighted, because that’s appealing abundant what Kapi built.



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Kapi was a baby aggregation founded in Burgos, Spain in 1950 by Federico Saldaña Ramos, an infantry captain in the military, and after confused to Barcelona. The name comes from “capitan,” spelled with a K because it seemed added “international.”

A lot of capacity about the company, such as aloof how abounding cars were absolutely produced, are appealing murky, with the numbers alignment from 70 to 300 or more.

What is clear, though, is that the cars this tiny aggregation fabricated were affectionate of fascinating, and they were absolute antecedents in the then-nascent art of blatant, actionable knockoffs of acclaimed cars, apocalyptic the sorts of things that still appear in the Chinese motor industry.



Let’s booty a little bout of some of the added absorbing fruits of Kapi’s labors. Specifically, let’s see what sorts of things Kapi was architecture at almost the mean of life, in 1955. Join me, friends, on this bewitched journey:

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The Aerial Saucer was a three-wheel microcar with the distinct caster up front, an change of an beforehand Kapi three-wheeler accepted as the Kapiscooter.

The Aerial Saucer redesign of the Kapiscooter was appealing dramatic; the baby 8.5 application single-cylinder motorcycle agent was fabricated by Villers and seems to accept been housed in the right-side rear fender pod. Everything was abundant added sort-of-streamlined and aesthetic attractive compared to the beforehand ones, and there were alike burden versions and convertibles built. Allegedly, these things could go 60 mph and accomplish 100 mpg! I bet 60 mph in one of these was nice and terrifying.

The Jip is amazing because it ability be the aboriginal real, adamant knockoff of a car, appropriate bottomward to the name. The Jip, as you can acceptable guess, is a tiny adaptation of the iconic Willys Jeep, and alike has a grille architecture evocative of the Willys-Overland Jeepster adaptation of the noncombatant Jeep.

Mechanically, the Jip was absolute agnate to the added four-wheeled microcars Kapi was building, and had a 197cc Hispano-Villers one-cylinder two-stroke engine, authoritative 8.5 hp.

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While best were open-topped, at atomic one auto adaptation seems to accept been made, a asleep ringer for a ashen Willys Jeep Station Wagon. 

While there were license-built Jeeps about the apple and abounding absolute Jeep-like knockoffs starting to appear about this period, the use of the agnate name and the apathy for authoritative article mechanically commensurable accomplish Kapi a avant-garde in this array of accurate automotive knockoffery, if you ask me.

This was a appealing delightful-looking auto (it looks like three, but there assume to accept neen two auto in the aback there), with administration that conceivably was afflicted by Volkswagen’s Blazon 2 buses? That ample triangular, two-tone adenoids burden is absolutely similar, admitting it’s arguably additionally aloof a appearance of the era.

The Chiqui had a 200cc engine, alms an abundant 3cc added than the Jip, admitting absolute achievement was acceptable appealing similar.

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The Chiqui seems to accept had a disposable auto as well, which is almighty nice for a bargain microcar of its type.

This was the aboriginal fully-enclosed, four-seat Kapi, and as such was accounted to be the “luxury” version. What’s best notable about the car, though, is its absolutely camp styling: the affair looks like it’s melted.

In advertising, the illustrations array of advice it:

…but in absoluteness it’s adamantine to anticipate of a stranger-looking car. The rear looks like it’s accepting sucked into some array of concealed yet colossal exhaustion cleaner. It’s amazing.

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Again, not abundant is absolutely accepted about the M 190, like how abounding were absolutely made, or if Mercedes-Benz anytime knew or annihilation like that. What is bright is that Kapi at the absolute atomic was planning on architecture a sub-scale Mercedes auto knockoff and affairs it, with the logo cheekily replaced with a nice, serif’d ‘X.’

I feel like Kapi is an under-appreciated and absolute aberrant gem in the automotive world. At the absolute least, those blithely arrant Chinese knockoff car-makers should accord some account to the little Spanish aggregation that pioneered it all.

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