JANUARY 2024: A 1965 KING MIDGET IS A DAUGHTER’S MOST CHERISHED HEIRLOOM FROM HER DAD

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Full disclosure: MyStarCollectorCar’s founders are old enough to remember King Midget ads in our favorite 1960s-era car magazines when we were car kids.

King Midget microcars were sold via automotive magazine ads because the company’s owners operated on a shoestring budget and did not build a chain of dealerships during their 1946-1969 production run.

Jim Sutherland

Instead, they pre-sold the cars and built them when 25 King Midgets were purchased by customers. The strategy eliminated the need to build large manufacturing and storage facilities because they carried no extra inventory.

The impact of the King Midget was not last on us here at MyStarCollector when we were kids who were immersed in the automotive magazines from that bygone era. However, the modestly priced King Midget was still well above our financial means as kids with paper routes or weekly chore allowances, but we loved the little car in the ads.

Candice Emke is the proud owner of a 1965 King Midget, and she also loved her little car because the previous owner was her father, Alfred Johb. He gave Candice a choice to keep the King Midget in the family before Alfred passed away in 2020. It was a very easy choice by Candice to keep the little car with the big family history and she is very happy with her decision.

Her father purchased the car when a prospective owner realized his disabilities prevented him from driving the King Midget and decided not to keep it. Alfred immediately purchased the unique microcar and brought it home to the family acreage.

Candice was just a kid, but her dad allowed her to drive the King Midget on the acreage, so she learned how to drive at a very young age behind the wheel of the little car.

The King Midget was also a commuter car for Alfred because he used it to drive to work as an equipment operator for a nearby town’s public works department. The car’s small size made it a target for occasional practical jokes when Alfred’s fellow workers literally picked the King Midget up and hid it from him.

The car may have been small enough to be confused with a large golf cart, but it was completely street legal and licensed for the road when Alfred used it as a vehicle to drive to work. In fact, the ’65 King Midget has wipers, lights, hydraulic brakes, and even a licence plate lamp if one chose to drive it at night. The electrical system is powered by a 12-volt generator attached to a starter because the combination fits into the car’s compact engine compartment, along with an exhaust manifold collector vent that sends engine heat to the passengers.

The drive to work would be leisurely because the King Midget only has a small 10 horsepower air-cooled engine and would top out at 47 mph (roughly 76 km/h) on a good day, according to Candice. In fact, it only hit 39 mph (about 65 km/h) on the way to the summer car show where MyStarCollectorCar discovered it.

Not a big deal these days because the King Midget is driven whenever Candice wants to take a trip down memory lane- and that is a road where a leisurely pace is the order of the day.    

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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