Myth Buster – Was the Frisky really the UK’s first bubble car?
Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
1 IT WAS BASED ON AN EGYPTIAN PROJECT
The idea for a small bubble car came from one Captain Raymond Flower, who ran the Cairo Motor Company. He conceived a small, basic car, the Phoenix, to be built in Egypt, but had to leave the country in the wake of the Suez Crisis. Back in the UK in 1956, he approached Henry Meadows Ltd. with his plan, which consisted of ideas rather than a fully-fledged project. When The Bug – the Meadows Frisky prototype – was shown to the press in December 1956, the press dubbed it the Phoenix, even though it wasn’t.
2 MICHELOTTI DESIGNED IT
The original Bug prototype was created by engineers Gordon Bedson and Keith Peckmore; it wasn’t the prettiest of babies, so Vignale was approached to come up with an alternative design. The task fell to Giovanni Michelotti, who birthed a gullwing-doored creation. As stylish as it was, it proved too expensive to make, so Michelotti presented a few more sketches. The FriskySport that resulted, however, was mainly the work of a Gordon Bedson, who further redesigned the car as a soft-top with conventional doors. The later stillborn FriskySprint sports racing prototype (and Zeta Sport) is also widely attributed to Michelotti, but there’s no connection at all.
3 IT WAS BRITAIN’S FIRST BUBBLE CAR
The Frisky has been labelled the UK’s first bubble car. This is technically true, although Isetta of Great Britain began making Isetta 300s in Brighton under licence from BMW in 1957. The fully enclosed Meadows Frisky Coupé entered production in August 1958. It wasn’t the first bubble car to actually be built in Britain, but it was the first that originated here. Richard Gunn
Frisky Coupé really was the first bubblecar to originate in the UK.