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