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The King Midget was continuously manufactured from 1946 to 1970, almost a quarter of a century and a record for a small car of the period. The King Midget was conceived in 1946 by two civil air patrol pilots Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt.
The first versions of the King Midget were single passenger cars, sold only in kit form for under $100. Production of complete cars started late in 1946. in the late 1950’s King Midget placed ads in Popular Mechanics magazine advertising a kit car for under $500.
The two passenger King Midget first appeared in 1951. Initially the King Midget was furnished with a 23 cubic inch Wisconsin single-cylinder engine producing 7 to 8.5 horsepower, capable of a top speed of 50 miles per hour, and delivering up to 60 miles per gallon!
The cars were initially designed on 72-inch wheelbase chassis having an overall length of 96 inches weighting 500 pounds. In 1958 the design was expended to a wheelbase of 76.5 inches and an overall length of 117 inches, weighting almost 700 pounds.
The transmission was a unique, patented reverse – neutral – drive automatic.
There were 3 models of the car: model 1 from 1946 to 1950, model 2 from 1951 to 1956, and model 3 from 1957 till end of production. A model 2 Custom was also available in 1955, with upgraded upholstery, chrome bumpers and cowl parking lights. King Midgets came initially in one color: California Cream. By 1955 the standard color was Peace Rose Cream and which later became Bone White. Other colors were available at an additional cost. In the 1950’s the car sold for $350, this rose to over a $1000 for later versions.
Use of aircraft lightening techniques and unit body construction provided a strong, light body. In 1961 the electrical system was upgraded from 6 to 12 volts, and in 1966 the engine was upgraded to 12 horse power using a Kohlor K301 engine.
In final form accessories included a top, all weather doors, signal lights, and windshield wipers. There are four King Midgets in the LeMay Collection: a 1952 Model 2, a 1954 Model 2, a 1959 Model 3, and a 1962 Model 3.
There are no records to indicate how many King Midgets were made, nor how many exist today. One estimate is that out of a total production of 5000, about 4-500 still exist. There is a King Midget Registry, run by Dave Stults (812)-591-2719, as of April, 2008.