Welcome to the weird world of the 1970s microcar

But the Willam beckons. Registered in 1976, it is, claims Barrett, the only road-legal Willam Cyclo in the world – which might explain why she was recently offered £20,000 for it, an offer she declined.

I squeeze in behind the steering wheel, pull a knob, press a button and push the accelerator. Off we go, slowly at first, but we’re soon trundling along at around 15mph. The first thing to notice is how smooth and quiet the engine is and how quickly the car gains speed. The next thing is the directness of the steering and the hilariously small turning circle and the third is how the little car nearly tips me out on a speed hump. “Forgot to mention that,” says Barrett, when I return.

Still, it’s a hoot, and if Barrett’s plans come good, her Cyclo has a great future. “I work for a homeless charity at weekends and plan to drive the Willam around the UK to raise funds,” she says. “Because it’s about the size of a doorway, I’ll be sleeping in it.” I’d like to see Clarkson try that in his P50. 

National Bubble and Microcar Museum

Devoted mainly to bubble cars and some microcars of the 1950s, this museum has two floors jampacked with models from France, Germany and the UK. Having feasted your eyes on that lot, en joy a ride in the museum’s Heinkel – bubble car not bomber. More details at bubblecarmuseum.co.uk.

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