If you happened to see a group of brightly colored mini cars travel through Tehachapi this week with their owners, it's all part of a group of collectors that met in Tehachapi to catch up on news and travel to a few sightseeing spots enjoying their King Midget microcars.
“They are a curiosity more than anything. They are just a lot of fun, but you want to be mechanically inclined,” said Bob Vahsholtz, who lives in Arroyo Grande.
Members of the King Midgets West chapter loaded their trailers with their small microcars and picked Tehachapi as their meeting place for their annual Spring Bash.
Tehachapi resident Bud Sargent said community members have welcomed the group and have given them personal tours of different buildings and areas of the city.
The trip included more than six members from Arroyo Grande, Sacramento, Lancaster, Palmdale, Tehachapi, and other areas who drove their cars to the Tehachapi Loop, an area to see the wind turbines, the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum and other areas in downtown. Members of the group were last in Tehachapi two years ago.
Many owners in the group are retired and offer to help one another with repairs or advice during this time. Vahsholtz added that many owners have rebuilt the cars themselves and have to be prepared for breakdowns as parts for the cars are scarce.
Randy Chesnutt from Palmdale restored a whole midget by starting with part of a frame he found in the ground, reconstructing the rest of the car from drawings and other examples and making his own parts over more than four years.
“It’s a small, light car, easy to work on,” Chesnutt said.
In the book "America’s Microcar," Vahsholtz writes that the company Midget Motors was founded by two entrepreneurs in 1946 in Athens, Ohio.
After World War II ended, the cars were produced for 20 years, but became less sought after when production gravitated to larger vehicles.
For more information, visit kingmidgetcarclub.org.