The Fun Car’s Fun Club!
King Midget brochures touted "
About 20 percent of the 5,000 King Midgets produced in the decades after WWII still exist. They’re street-legal vehicles you can drive anywhere and are great fun around town and on the back roads. They’re among the least expensive antique automobiles and easiest to restore, with nearly all parts available.
have always been a hoot, and the fun factor increases every year. Some
ways to enjoy these tiny cars:
Join a Car
Join the King
Join a Chapter
Learn About It
King Midget Heritage
A Word of Caution
While King Midgets have not proven to be the answer to
When King Midget production ground to a halt about five decades ago, most of the cars were off the road, parked, scrapped, dismantled or just covered and forgotten. Most had seen little real use as transportation. They had been more like today’s ATVs—fun to buzz around the neighborhood, and even street legal! Automotive journalists assumed King Midgets would be a footnote in the history of American cars. Far-sighted fans saw more.
Within a decade of the cessation of King Midget production, Bob Craven and John Weitlauf secured and preserved NOS King Midget parts. Alan Conley, Gary Woods and others collected the little cars and one of them, Bill Hossfield, began a King Midget Registry to identify the fans and their cars. Vernon Eads and others dreamed of reviving the company and resuming production.
Those fans shared a belief that the King Midget was more than just another failed attempt at producing microcars. Midget Motors demonstrated that American ingenuity could do the impossible—start a brand new car company on a shoestring, build “The lowest priced car in the world," and do it profitably for decades.
Dave Stults pulled those threads together, taking over Bill Hossfield’s
Registry to create an invitation. A meeting was held in
The following year a second Jamboree was hosted by Earl and Pat Funk
(daughter of Dale Orcutt) in
By 1992, the fast-growing International King Midget Car Club’s President, Dave Stults, was busy establishing the Club as a nonprofit organization intended to preserve King Midget cars and their heritage. Dues were set at $20 per year to cover the legal expenses and teething problems of starting up. The Club was financially sound from the beginning and dues were soon reduced to $15 per year. They have remained there as the Club grows.
The King Midget Club is staffed and managed by volunteers who devote
countless hours to holding the organization together and building it. A
Jamboree is held every year, with hosts competing to make them memorable.
The biggest crowds come when Jams are held in or near
Newsletters are mailed winter, spring and fall to all members. This website has become a major source of the Club’s contact with the "outside world." There are groups active on Yahoo, Facebook and other websites devoted to King Midgets.
The Club has supported Midget Motors history by donating a sign for Athens, Ohio, the cars’ hometown, putting a plaque on the factory building, restoring King Midgets for permanent display in the Market Mall in Athens and supporting the Midget Motors Collection in the Alden Library at the Ohio University in Athens.
Since 1991, more than 1,200 people have joined the Club. Around 50 new members join each year and a comparable number drift away to other interests. Paid membership is at a peak of about 400 with most tracing their interest to the days when Midget Motors ads appeared in the home mechanic magazines along with occasional articles about the Company and its products.
Most Club members were teen-aged boys then, yearning for a King Midget of their own—a boy-sized car with room for a girlfriend! And they only cost a few hundred dollars! Few could scrape up those dollars and had to be content with poring over the flyers and catalogs ordered for a quarter or a dollar from Midget Motors. Most dads admonished that such mail-order cars were a ripoff. For once, they were wrong!
Though sold mostly sight-unseen through those little ads, Midget Motors built a good product that offered outstanding value. Now old-timers are living their dream of owning a King Midget. They’re sharing their love of these cars with others, including a growing band of younger people who grew up without the benefit of those little ads in Popular Science, et al.
Some years ago, Paul Gerhardt said, "We call ourselves are car club, but really, we’re a people club." People who share a love of these cars and the American values of hard work, thrift and honesty. Virtues that enabled Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt to realize their dream of building microcars so simple and inexpensive a boy could afford to own and maintain one.
Our greatest Club challenge is to pass that heritage along to future generations. We do so by giving kids a ride, driving our King Midgets in parades, entering them in car shows, passing them down to our kids and grandkids and bending the ears of anyone who shows an interest. These simple cars appeal to the American "can-do" attributes that made this nation great. As journalist Mary Seelhorst said, "That looks like something I could build!" And you can.
Many people restore King Midgets, starting with a rust-pile and making it like-new or better. Nearly all parts are available, reproduction or NOS. Some exercise their creativity by upgrading the power plant or other details while others honor the heritage by keeping or restoring their car to factory condition. The Club takes no sides and holds no judging events. The consensus is, the best thing that can happen to King Midgets is to restore them, keep them on the road and share the heritage among an increasing band of fans. Too many rusty King Midgets wind up in the scrap yard. Shiny ones that can be driven increase in value.
Reproduction King Midgets are being built in garages across the country. Plans were created a decade ago for properly restoring the very scarce King Midget Model 1s. Those plans are widely used to build new reproduction Model 1s. That led to requests for plans to build other King Midgets and the Club has produced plans enabling home construction of other brand new King Midgets called King Midget Club Specials.
You don't have to own a King Midget to join the Club, just be a King Midget enthusiast. You’ll get three newsletters per year, each numbering more than 30 pages filled with King Midget stories, technical hints and lots of photos. There are experts who can solve just about any King Midget problem, and most are happy to pitch in, help out and welcome newcomers.
We hope you will join us in our adventures with
Membership Dues are $15 a Year
$65 for Five Years
President: Lee Seats
President: Nicholas Barbour
Vice President: Bryan Kreinbrink
Director: Alan Day
Editor: Bob Vahsholtz
European Director: Ole Birger Gjevre
John White II
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