Monday, 9 April 2012


As far back as I can recall, I've always had a thing for Bubble Cars.  I remember being on holiday one year when I was about three or four - in Ayr perhaps - and trying to win one from a grappling machine.  (Or what- ever they're called.  You know the thing I mean - one of these plexiglass cases found in amusement arcades and [nowadays] shopping malls where you direct a crane-type grappling arm and try and lift the prize desired.  There must be a name for them, but if I ever knew it I've forgotten.)

Anyway, the owner of the amusement arcade, seeing my disappointment at not being able to secure a dark red Bubble Car, beckoned me to follow him (don't panic, my parents were with me) and, going behind a curtain into the back of the arcade, gifted me with a friction-drive Bubble Car of my very own.  Perhaps that's what started my lifelong love of such vehicles, although it doesn't explain my initial desire to acquire one from that machine in the arcade.  Maybe I just liked the shape and the colour. Anyway, regardless of what started me off and whether it was before or after this momentous moment that I developed my appreciation of them, that was the very first Bubble Car I ever owned.

I acquired my second one when I was about eleven or twelve.  It was a CORGI TOYS diecast HEINKEL Bubble Car in a bright orange. I'd have preferred a red one, but the shop (R. S. McCOLL'S) had no such animal, so an orange one it was.  To date, I only have ten Bubble Cars in all (six on display in the accompanying photos), two being three-wheeled affairs, the remainder having a full complement of four.  Yup, believe it or not, some Bubble Cars were actually of the four-wheeled variety, which may come as a surprise to you.

Interestingly (to me at least), that holiday in Ayr was also where I obtained my very first TV COMIC publication - a TV Comic Holiday Special.  At that time I had no idea it was a special edition of a weekly comic, not discovering this fact 'til a year or two later.  In truth, if it hadn't been for MIGHTY MOTH on the cover and DICK MILLINGTON's artwork inside, I would never have associated my first purchased issue of the weekly with the earlier holiday special.  It was the look of Mighty Moth I remembered, not the name of the comic.

Although my parents never owned a Bubble Car, they did acquire a NOBEL car in 1964 or '65, which did sort of suggest a hint of the shape of one.  (See photo below.) We had this car for at least three or four years, possibly five, and in all that time I only ever saw its twin once.  As far as I'm aware, no toy company has ever issued a scale model of this uniquely-shaped automobile, which is a shame as I'd dearly love one.  (Are you reading this, Corgi?)

So there you have it.  Another rambling reminiscence in which probably no-one apart from myself is even remotely interested.  At least I've recorded these child-hood memories for posterity, which - should my memory fade with time - I can return to in the future and remind myself of precious moments I'd forgotten.


Update, July 2015:  I recently learned that a German company called BUDIG released a limited edition, white metal model of the car around 2008, and I managed to obtain one from Rotterdam on ebay.  Here are three of the seller's photos of the one I bought.


TwoHeadedBoy said...

Never been much of a car buff, but Bubble cars DO have an appeal, due to their uniqueness. That's until I knew the Nobel existed, mind!

My grandad had a Bubble car, long before I was born. Apparently he'd keep a portable record player in there with him as well.

Kid said...

I bet he was glad when he got a car with a dashboard radio, eh?

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