Soaring oil prices and a curious loop-hole in French low have paved the way for a new miniature vehicle, which is taking Paris streets by storm.
GV Mini car in Champs d'Elysee, Paris, other cars passing
GV Mini car parked in small gap between two other cars
SV Steering system at the front (2 shots)
SV Breaking system on rear wheels
GV Group of onlookers
SV INTERIOR Mini car
SV & CU Man opening bonnet and showing petrol tank
CU & PULL BACK Battery
GV Mini car turning on its own axis and being parked again
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Background: Soaring oil prices and a curious loop-hole in French low have paved the way for a new miniature vehicle, which is taking Paris streets by storm. To drive the mini car you need no licence, or number plates, and it fits four to a parking meter.
SYNOPSIS: Fifteen thousand of the new breed car came off the production lines last year (1979) alone. its popularity is undoubtedly due to the fact it is the ideal city car. The small size, it's only two metres (yards) long and a little over a metre wide, enables it to fit into even the tiniest space left between cars. And you can't even pick up a parking ticket because French law doesn't recognise the mini as a car. The reason is the mini car's engine, it's less than 50 cc, the same size as used for mopeds, an any one over 16 can drive such an engine. It is mounted on the front suspension, and turns with the wheels. There is no lock, so a full turn means the vehicle will drive backwards. a three-gear automatic transmission means the 47cc Sachs engine powers the mini car to a maximum speed of over 23 kmh (17 mph). Not much for the breaks to handle, but enough power to produce a defending noise.
The interior is far from spacious. But its petrol consumption makes it cheaper than public transport. At around three and a half litres per 100 kilometres (over 78 mpg) a full fuel tank gives the mini car range of 450 kms (250 miles).
But there is a drawback to the mini car, its price. Five thousand U.S. dollars is a hefty sum to fork out. The marks hope mass production will make the mini car the ideal town car -- at a low cost all round.