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When you visit a national museum - say the British Museum, the National Railway Museum or the National Maritime Museum - you know what you're going to see: exhibits of national and often world significance, artefacts and objects that you recognise from books and film, gob-smacking, awe-inspiring, magnificence. Such an experience is often memorable.
When you go to a small, local museum, the sort that has been lovingly assembled by an enthusiast, you expect less. And yet sometimes, as Mies van der Rohe said, "less is more". Sometimes the care, concern, and attention that has gone into presenting the collection shines through and leaves a lasting impression. I recently went to such a museum in Lincolnshire, one not too distant from me, the Bubble Car Museum at Langrick near Boston.
I'm not a car enthusiast, but as regular visitors to this blog may have gathered, I am interested in design. This museum appealed to me because it was illuminating to compare the ways designers approached the task of making and selling inexpensive motorised vehicles. In particular I was fascinated by how some tried to hide the fact that these could be better described as enhanced motor cycles than proper cars, and how others cared little about revealing their lineage. Micro cars, a few mopeds and bicycles and some displays of household goods from the 1950s and 1960s, the era of the bubble car, accompanied the main exhibits. The model that caught my eye was the Messerschmitt KR200, a vehicle manufactured between 1955 and 1964. This silver three-wheeler looked like a combination of a small WW2 fighter aircraft, a kitchen implement and the sort of personal spacecraft that Dan Dare might have flown. The bug-eyed fairings, the glazed "cockpit", the piped, red upholstery and the attention to detail were very appealing. In these days of rising fuel prices, with manufacturers trying to eke every last mile per gallon out of cars, it's surprising that such vehicles, in updated form, haven't made a re-appearance on our roads.
photographs and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Sony RX100
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/30
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On