Willy Messerschmitt would join the Bavarian Aircraft Works (BFW) in 1927 as chief designer and engineer. Willy was a firm believer in the notion of “light weight construction”, taking separate load-bearing parts and merging them into a single re-enforced firewall, thereby saving weight and improving performance. The BF108 “Taifun” sports-plane would soon make the theory fact, it going on to set numerous speed records.
The Luftwaffe watched the engineering triumphs of Willy Messerschmitt with considerable interest, and following the success of the Taifun the company was invited to submit a design for the 1935 fighter contest. Their entry was the incredible BF109, arguably the best fighter of World War 2. Willy Messerschmitt would become a favoured son of the Nazi party, and Messerschmitt AG was established with their backing on July 11, 1938. With the renaming , the company's RLM designation changed from “
, although existing iterations, such as the Bf 109 and 110, retained their earlier designation in official documents.
After World War 2, the company was not allowed to produce aircraft, and like Heinkel they turned their attention to the manufacture of a cheap three wheeled bubble cars, known as Kabinenroller (cabinscooter). The KR175 / KR200 were built in a time of post war austerity, and despite the many drawbacks of such a vehicle those that owned one were considered very fortunate. rumours abounded that the Messerschmitt’s were being constructed from old aeroplane parts, but this was untrue. Nevertheless the Fritz Fend designed bubble cars would reach cult status, a red KR200 even being owned for a time by Elvis Presley.
The cars were actually made by Fritz Fend's own company in the Messerschmitt works at Regensburg, Willy Messerschmitt having little to do with the vehicles other than ruling that they carried his name. Fend's aircraft influence certainly showed itself in his desire to achieve a light yet stiff frame with low wind resistance from the tandem seating with aerodynamic
steel body. This resulted in a surprisingly high performance from 175 and later 200cc single cylinder two-stroke engines. Some would say that his ultimate achievement with the Kabinenroller was the four-wheeled TG500 or 'Tiger' with a twin cylinder 490cc engine capable of higher speeds and sports car handling. However, there is little doubt that the best developed and most successful was the three-wheeled KR200. Production of the KR200 ceased in 1964.