In our Garage: Maurie West’s Messerschmitt

Maurie West’s distinctive Messerschmitt is a rare convertible design which the manufacturer introduced when it could no longer build planes.

Over the last five years Maurie has lovingly returned the unique vehicle to its original glory.

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Q. Tell us about this unique little car:

A. The vehicle’s a Messerschmitt KR 200, built in 1958. We've had it since the early sixties, the family has.

It was restored probably five years ago, back to its original state.

The car was originally bought, and we used it for a bit of promotional stuff way back with the Stanley Golden Fleece era.

It was used promotional when the car got put into a shed and virtually got destroyed being in the shed, not covered, roof leaked and everything else.

Then quite a few years ago now we decided to do it up and to the state that it is now.

The car is fully original, we brought it back to original status, how it was kept and as it should be.

Q. Why did you decide to restore the car?

A. The reason it was restored was a phone call from the Messerschmitt Club down south, wanting to know whether we had this particular vehicle.

An old mate of mine was here when I got it out of the shed, and he said, why don't we get it going?

It ended up at full restoration back to bare metal.

Q. How many hours do you think you have spent on restoring the vehicle?

A. The hours spent on the vehicle was not kept as a record, we did it all for love, really.

From the original result of the vehicle where it ended up at, and to see the finished project, it was just fantastic.

It is hard to believe how good it could come back.

A lot of the parts were brought out of England, although it being a German background vehicle.

There's a massive club in England and to get the snakeskin interior, that's in it, we had to order especially.

Q. What engine is in the car and how does it drive?

A. It's a single cylinder 2 stroke.

To get it to go forward, you turn the key, and the motor starts in forward direction.

To get reverse, you switch it off, push the key in and start the motor in reverse. Being a two stroke, it will start in reverse.

You get four forwards and four reverses.

Q. Tell us about the unique design:

A. All of the controls are original in it, except for the gear knob, it was like a pool ball and we decided to do something different, just for our touch of what we've done to the vehicle.

A lot of the parts were left over from the Messerschmitt planes as they weren't allowed to build aeroplanes after the war.

It's not as unique as one would think to the fact of Messerschmitt, there's quite a few around in the Sydney, Melbourne metro areas.

But as far as convertibles, there's fewer of them around.

It's from the Messerschmitt plane design factory, and that's where the design came out of, from not being able to build planes, to a little economical commuter around after the war.

It's very much a head turner.

Q. What else have you collected over the years related to the Messerschmitt?

A. I was very fortunate before a gentleman, one of our customers, passed away that he gave me the brochure for the Messerschmitt, unfortunately, it's in German.

Q. How do you get into the car?

It's actually a three-seater.

It's very unique, the side actually lifts up, the seat, lifts up in the air, slides up in the air. You sit on it and you slide yourself down, then you close the top on it.

And that's what I love about it.

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