Nicole Jewell

Is the Stylish 1957 Single Occupancy Motoplan the Car of the Future?

by , 01/15/14
filed under: Air quality, automotive, News

transportation, Carl Jurisch, 1957 Motoplan, single seat car, urban sprawl, urban traffic, traffic congestion, German engineered cars, single occupancy cars, tiny cars, micro cars

The many problems associated with urban traffic congestion have multiplied in the past few decades, and there’s few feasible solutions in sight. Can the failed single-occupancy Motoplan designed in the late 1950′s by German engineer Carl Jurisch offer a solution? Compact and stylish, the Motoplan could be the next trendy vehicle for environmentally-conscious drivers.



The single occupancy vehicle could offer a solution to the ongoing problem of transportation efficiency. Traffic jams constantly show the absurdity of one person driving a large gas-guzzling SUV while surrounded by at least four empty seats. With the exception of a few carpooling organizations spotted around the U.S., the conservation principle has been all but eliminated from the everyday transportation rules of the road, systematically increasing contamination levels in our environment.

Back in the 50′s, Jurisch had a vision for a single-seat car that would avoid wasted passenger space. Using a motorcycle sidecar as inspiration, he invented the sophisticated and space-efficient Motoplan. The micro car was originally designed as a one-cylinder, four-speed with a 173cc engine. It won’t compete with a Corvette for speed, but the Motoplan could reach up to 55 miles per hour and in serious style.

Unfortunately, Jurisch chose to market the Motoplan in New York City at a time when sleek, muscle tailfin cars were all the rage and ultimately, the Motoplan was a business flop. Jurisch only built three prototypes in his time and two of them have disappeared. The remaining model was restored by a collector and auctioned off last year for the price of $103,500.

Via Core 77

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7 Comments

  1. EgoMartini March 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    The Messerschmitt FMR Tg 500 Tiger had a two stroke – two cylinder – 495(ish)cc motor – it had a top speed of 78 mph – a modern engine of the same class would have a higher top speed. It had a steering-wheel/motor cycle handlebar and it had a seat in the back for a passenger which would element the need for more cars on the road. The Tiger was a sharp little buggy which could be easily updated for modern driving needs and it would be a bast to drive – it would be like crossing a go-kart with a sports car.
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/86496074

  2. Barrie Jones March 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Messerschmitt ‘bubble cars’ were an earlier production vehicle (yes, made by the company who made the planes) 161 cc – 60mph – equally aesthetically pleasing too.. and, as I recall.. steered with a central joystick-style column like an aeroplane :)

  3. EgoMartini March 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

    somebody please – ” Bring back the Messerschmitt FMR Tg 500 Tiger!”
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/geralds_1311/4795710955/in/pool-2187366@N22/

  4. Victoria Stansell March 23, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I think I would give it go to drive to work everyday, if I had a desk job or stayed inside all day. I guess it would work for local food deliveries, or even sales calls as long as I didn’t need to drive clients around all day. The interior needs a bit of updating, is there a hardtop option available. I need my SUV for business, but not all of the time, it would be nice to save a little money, while reducing my carbon footprint ….. anyway, Its kind of cool.

  5. dadek January 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Motorcycle is useless in rain. If you wish stability you need three wheels. On site http://www.voz.si is modern version of Single Occupancy vehicle.

  6. MICHAEL GUNTER January 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I woud feel more at home on the motorcycle than in its automated sidecar. And anyway, the motorcycle is more manoeuvrable, thrilling and probably has more luggage space. Jurisch should have ditched the sidecar instead, or perhaps kept it for conveying his elderly granny.

  7. Jamii Hamlin January 16, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Two hands for driving…won’t be a hit with cellphone drivers!

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