Morphology Friday 1: the portmanteau unicar

Today’s Zippy:


Unicar is a portmanteau of unicycle and (subcompact) car, and Zippy’s Unicar is a hybrid of a unicycle and a minicar — so far as I know, a vehicle from Zippy’s fantasy world, not the real one.

(Bonuses: the playful coining warmification and (in the title) a pun on the real world.)

On the car in question, from Wikipedia:

The Nash Metropolitan is a car that was sold, initially, only in the United States and Canada, from 1954–62.

It conforms to two classes of vehicle: economy car and subcompact car. In today’s terminology the Metropolitan is a “subcompact”, but this category had not yet come into use when the car was made.

It turns out that there has been a Unicar on the market, a very small car with a unitary (one-piece) body. From the Microcar Museum site:

1959 Opperman Unicar (model T): Opperman, a tractor manufacturer in England saw the success of the Bond Minicar and decided to build a new Microcar for the British market.

The first model from Opperman was the Model “T” Unicar.

It looked like a larger sedan in miniature and was the cheapest car shown at the 1956 London Motor Show.

There was no front hood or rear trunk lid in the fiberglas body.

The [2-cylinder] engine was positioned in the middle of what should be the rear seat and 2 small “jump” seats are on either side of the engine “hump”.

There was no differential for the rear wheels so they were placed closer together than the front wheels, in a manner similar to the Isetta, but not as extreme.

Unfortunately since it had 4 wheels, it was subject to a higher Road Tax in Britain as compared to a 3-wheeled vehicle.


(The Isetta was an Italian-designed three-wheeled single-cylinder microcar built in a number of countries.)

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