My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things – Having My Camera With Me at the Perfect Moment

This past weekend I visited my parents in Oberlin, Ohio.  Peaceful and quiet is an understatement when it comes to describing Oberlin.  You’re more likely to hear a student practicing the bagpipes (we did) than the honking of car horns or police sirens.  On a day to day basis, not much happens in town, so imagine my surprise and delight when I not only spied two vintage German automobiles, but also happened to have my camera with me!

They were just about to drive away…

Photo of two vintage German automobiles from 1957 and 1962, taken by Joana Miranda

But he couldn’t figure out how to put it in reverse.

Photo of white German vintage 3-wheeled automobile, taken by Joana Miranda

The driver of the blue auto hopped out to give some advice…

Photo of 3-wheeled German vintage auto with top open, taken by Joana Miranda

While I ran around the back to get a picture of the dashboard.

Photo of interior of vintage German automobile, taken by Joana Miranda

Mr. Black Beret was very friendly…

Photo of cute guy in black beret in white vintage German automobile, taken by Joana Miranda

And offered to get out so that I could have a seat.

Photo of Joana in white German vintage automobile, taken by Joana Miranda

Having mastered reverse, Mr. Black Beret put the car in gear and sped away (not exactly, but apparently these cars can do 62 mph!) 


Photo of vintage German automobile from behind, taken by Joana Miranda


  1. oh, good ole Obie-land in the news! You forgot to mention that afterwards we SHARED a gourmet ice cream in Cowhaus!

    • And I forgot to mention that you’re in the 5th picture…sort of like Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos;-)

      (I didn’t eat 1/2 of your ice-cream, though.) Love you, J

    • Ola Pedro,

      O meu pai disse que el andou num auto parecido em Paris quando vivia la (in the late 1960s). Of the ones I photographed, I think the white one was from 1957 and the blue one was from 1962, but I might have that backwards.

      Did you ever ride in or drive these?

      Ciao –

    • Yes, it certainly made my day! Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you come back soon –

    • Hi there,

      I think they only went about 15 mph as they left town. I’m not sure where they were headed, but I doubt it was far.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Thanks for the reblog and for visiting my blog! Glad you enjoyed my post about the two vintage German autos!

      All best wishes,

    • The driver with the beret was quite tall; in the picture he took of me, I didn’t have my legs stuck into the car’s “leg wells.” Actually, at 5’4″, I think the white car would be perfect for me!

      Thanks for visiting my blog –

  2. Wow, those are crazy! They don’t look very safe, but they look like they’d be fun to zoom around in!

    • “Zoom” might not be the operative word, but “fun” sure is!

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for commenting.

      All best wishes,

  3. Two of the smallest cars ever seen.Having a camera at the ready to capture the moment? Priceless!
    I never leave home without my camera, you never know what you’ll find out there. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    • Thanks for the comment and for visiting my blog! Yes, it was a priceless moment, and I’m determined not to leave home without my camera now.

      All best wishes,

    • Thanks for the comment and for reading! I’m thrilled to have been “fresh pressed” – a further incentive to keep my camera handy.

      🙂 Joana

  4. What cuties! (the cars, I mean) And isn’t it a great thing when you just happen to have your camera at the ready? Great fresh press!

    • It’s an honor to be “fresh pressed”…up until now I only had that experience when I took out the iron.;-)

      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!

    • Thanks! I hope you keep checking back. I do a “Favorite Things” blog post every Wednesday and those blogs always include my photos.

      With all best wishes,

  5. What are the ODDS? In a sleepy little town, without a car show or something similar going on … bizarre!

    …and, as it turns out, Freshly-Pressed worthy. Congrats to you, and my advice: Always keep that camera handy.


    • I love my camera (Panasonic Lumix) and it’s small enough that I can have it with me all the time…just have to remember to bring it along!

      Thanks for commenting and visiting my blog!

  6. I didn’t think anything was unusual with the first couple of pictures.
    But once the driver opened up the car in the third pic, all I can think of is “I want one of those cars!”

    Great pictures; I never would have discovered these cars without you. And I wish I could take that good of pictures. (Ah, well, practice, practice, practice.)

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments on my photos. I often want to take pictures of interesting people, but I feel shy. However, the guys with the vintage cars couldn’t have been nicer – didn’t hurt that I was ostensibly taking pictures of the car.;-)

      I hope you revisit my blog soon!

  7. Sarah D. says

    Cool looking little cars! And maybe just about the right amount of noise for Oberlin. Congratulations on being FP!

    • I had never seen these cars before either. In fact, I don’t think I even knew that there was such a thing as a 3-wheeled car. Funny that they are “only” from the late ’50s/early 60s. That doesn’t seem so long ago, but these cars looked totally quaint to me.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Me, too! Except I wouldn’t want to drive it in NYC where I now live…

      😉 Joana

    • No, getting in an accident in one of these wouldn’t be a pretty sight!

      Thanks for reading my post and commenting!

    • Actually, I could have blogged about the ice-cream, too, since it was a gourmet shop with all kinds of unusual flavors. I was sampling Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint flavor when I saw the cars; ran out of the shop with my plastic spoon still in hand…

      🙂 Joana

  8. tomseyeview says

    Cute little car. Did you bring one
    back to New York in your luggage? Or just the beret?


    • I brought back both the car (for me) and Mr. Black Beret (for you.) They’re both on the balcony;-)

      Ciao Dearie,

  9. a good few years back, when I was a baby, my father had a car just like the blue one. It was the first BMW, I have also seen it on Exhibition at the museum of German history in Bonn.
    Thanks for the lovely post.

    • Hi there,

      My father said he rode in a similar car to the white one when he lived in Paris in the 60s. It’s neat that your father had the little BMW when you were little…although I suppose it wouldn’t have been a good “family car.”

      All best wishes,

  10. And I thought Smart cars were small! Those two are just too cute! And how fortunate that you had your camera with you. I really should carry mine more often.

    • I think we should all drive cars like these (or the Smart cars). Road rage might just disappear; we’d all be too busy pointing and laughing!

      🙂 Joana

  11. As an FYI, the blue one is a BMW Isetta, and the white one a Messerschmitt. Not sure of which model of Messerschmitt it is (they had several versions with the same basic body design, the biggest difference being the size of the engine). I used to drive a 1962 Nash Metropolitan, which looks like the Titanic next to these two. It’s always neat to see such cool funky old cars on the road. Thanks for bringing back memories of my high school days when I drove the Met!

  12. Yeah for having your camera with you to capture these images and share this interesting photo essay. I practically wear my camera on my hip because when I don’t have it with me, I regret it.

    Those cars look incredibly small for those apparently tall drivers.

    Congratulations on being FreshlyPressed!

    • Thanks so much for reading my post and for your nice comment!

      With all best wishes,

    • In spite of being quiet, Oberlin has a lot to offer in the way of culture and the arts. Only problem is that you have to put up with damp grey winters…

      🙂 Joana

  13. I like the style of that little car, it even has a back seat.
    great for touring around town.


  14. This was in OHIO?! I live in NYC now but was born and raised in Ohio and saw this on the WordPress main site and thought, “What funny little European cars! Let me check out this strange foreign blog.”

    And then it was in OHIO. Love it.

    • I’m a NYC transplant, too. I usually take a lot of pictures in and around NYC; didn’t think that I’d come across such a fun photo op in Oberlin!

      Hope you’ll revisit my blog soon!

  15. Oh my goodness, I saw these little cars and wanted to die, they’re so cute! I would totally drive this little vehicle! I’m in love! I like the color of the little blue one. And here I sat the Fiat 500 and the Smart were tiny! So glad you had your camera and were able to capture shots of these! 🙂

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone tooled around town in cars like these? Bye bye road rage…we’d be too busy laughing and smiling.

      🙂 Joana

  16. Lovely photos – there is a myth that bubble cars (as we call them in the UK) never had a reverse gear..

    • Love the name “bubble” car! In the end, the man driving the white car found the reverse gear and learned to use it!

      😉 Joana

  17. Lovely photos. I remember seeing one or two when they first came out. But if you can’t get one of them in reverse surely we could all heave to and pick it up and turn it round? 🙂 Thanks for sharing these photos – certainly a long time since I’ve seen one.

    • Ha! I thought of offering to push the white car when I saw that the driver was having trouble. I probably would have dented it…

      I could see how these cars fit into the Swinging ’60s; they certainly aren’t short on style either!

  18. ancientfoods says

    These cars-what’s the word for them…so cuite. I had the good fortune to be allow to sit in a 1974 Morgan roadster last August, also given the tour and history of the car as well , what a treat. I’m so glad now that my husband took pictures. Cameras are made for moments like these. Thanks for the post

  19. I. WANT. THOSE. CARS! I know when people mention their dream cars it’s always some fancy sports car or Maserati or whatever, but to me, owning one of those little ones would be the ultimate! 😀

  20. Love how the story’s so perfectly illustrated through the pictures, haha! Man, hope this happens to me someday soon. 🙂

    • Thanks! I guess this post is a perfect example of being in the right place at the right time (and, I guess, being prepared!)

      It’ll happen to you too!
      🙂 Joana

  21. they’re so cool! I love small ‘cars’. In Russia they have one that has three wheels. I forget what it’s called; it was bigger than these clams but still comical. Ever since the Italian Job I’ve been wanting to drive a mini (:

    • I just watched a trailer for The Italian Job and think it’s so cute that the car chases seem to involve minis! Will add that movie to my list of movies to see…

      🙂 Joana

    • Thank you! I’m very grateful for the life I lead and for all the wonderful people I come across each day.

      🙂 Joana

  22. Oh, must have been a relief that you had your camera with you! Lesson learned: i must bring mine, if not everyday, most days of the week!

  23. What a fun thing to stumble across, almost trip over! I love the shot of you in the car, your legs are so long!

    • I do have long legs, but the funny size of the car (and the fact that I didn’t stick my legs down into the “leg wells”) made the shot even more comical.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  24. Hi Joanna,

    Congrats with your “Freshly Pressed” blog. I would not have found it otherwise. Very nice.

    About the cars. I’m a girl from the low countries (The Netherlands) and here you’ll find them, be it occasionally. Mostly in the summer. During special events. They still look stunning. Even after all these years. Too bad that the name (Willy) Messerschmitt is known primarily for its World War II fighter aircraft.

    • Hi there,

      I have relatives in the Netherlands and rode with my two cousins in their tiny mini in Loppersum. The car was so small, it felt like our faces were practically pressed up against the windshield glass. Very funny!

      Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  25. Wow that was exiting! How beautiful and cute those tiny cars are! Lucky you – tried one, too!
    Wishes from Greece!

    • Thanks! I’m envious of you living in Greece. I hope to visit Greece someday soon (with my camera, of course.)

      🙂 Joana

      • Hi and thank you for your visit! I have learnt also that it’s better to keep camera always with me! It’s sure that if I don’t have it, then I see something special!
        Have a great weekend! x Teje

  26. Great blog Joana. You seem to put a lot of love into it. Oh and hard work obviously. Cute cars. They look like cars from mars. You really get a feel for your passion for design and life I think. Very natural. Your enthusiasm shines through. You seem a very talented and interesting lady Joana, will keep an eye on your blog, bye.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments about my blog. I really love what I do; the blog has become a wonderful outlet for my passion for creating and sharing the beauty I see around me. Connecting with people like you is proof that I’m on the right track. I hope you revisit my blog often!


  27. wow, i cannot imagine these guys still exist. i wish they bring them here in phllly at a car show. t must be so awesome. thanks joanna and we like your post.

    • Thanks so much! I wish I had gotten the names/contact info for the guys driving those cars. I know they’d be thrilled with all of the wonderful press this post has gotten…maybe they’d hop on over to the car show in Philadelphia!

      All best wishes,

  28. nice shots.. love those cute cars, i’m sure it’s going to make heads turn cause we don’t see those kind of cars often.. oh yes, lucky you for bringing your camera. congrats on being FP.

  29. If those cars don’t make the same little putting noise as the cars in the Jetsons, I’m going to be very disappointed.

  30. Fabulous photos!!! I have a photo of me in Paris standing next to a tiny car parked on the street… I was going to use it for one of my columns but the car was so small it made me look HUGE! LOL!!! So, no tiny car photos with me… I like being the tiny thing in my photos! hahaaa!! ;D Wonderful blog!! ;D

  31. Reblogged this on Personal Web BlogQ and commented:
    Jika ini diterapkan di Indonesia, sungguh sangat menggelikan untuk mengendarainya.

    Tapi…. bisakah “Si Mungil” ini menjadi solusi bagi kemacetan lalu lintas kita???

    Monggo dicaci maki semoga bermanfaat

  32. Having a camera with you always is the best thing ever. iPhone is a fantastic on-the go camera. I use it all the time esp when stuck in traffic downtown Dallas. I just pressed an entry about the new iPhoto for iOS which is the best photo editing app on the go I have ever come across. Here is the review i posted last night –

    I also posted another on the go photo entry about clouds I captured just driving around at different times of the day. Here is that entry –


    • They were lovely cars, and I’m glad that I got to share my experience with y’all!
      🙂 Joana

    • Yes, I know the feeling; that’s why I was so thrilled that I DID have my camera with me on this outing.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!
      🙂 Joana

  33. Love these cars. Also I really like your work, I’m currently a fashion design student. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the feedback on my vintage car post and also on my designs! Where are you doing your fashion design schooling? I’ve thought of auditing some classes at FIT, just need to find the time…

      With all best wishes,

      • i went to UNT last semester and didn’t really like it, i’m taking the semester off right now but am considering going to the academy of art in san francisco in the fall.

        • UNT is Texas, right? San Francisco sounds fabulous to me. I wish you all the best with the decision and with your career!


    • Thanks so much! I’m still reeling from all of the wonderful comments and attention from being Freshly Pressed. Very cool! I hope you’ll revisit my blog soon.

      🙂 Joana

  34. I loved this post! One of my favorite things is how the unexpected just loves to show up! And the fact that you were able to capture your unexpected moment and share it brightens many a day!

    Thanks so much for sharing, & congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Thanks for your nice comment which brightened my day, too. What goes around comes around…

      🙂 Joana

    • Hmmmm…I don’t know about the fuel economy, but you can probably research it online. The white car is a Messerschmidtt from around 1962; the other (1957) is one of the first models of BMWs that came out.

      🙂 Joana

  35. What absolute fun! We have a few Smart Cars in Charlottesville, VA yet nothing with such style! Thanks for sharing. Great shots! 😉

  36. Great Photo’s! Lucky you to have your camera with you. You just never know when you will want to take a pictures. Being at the right place at the right time. Such cool little cars, just amazing!

  37. The blue car is a BMW Isetta- my Dad has a 1959 Isetta he’s restoring (also in Ohio- but in Marion.) I will post some pics of it on my site when he has it put back together. They are incredibly rare. The Messerschmidt (the white car) is even more rare than the Isetta. I don’t have much information on the Messerschmidt other than it was built by the same company that built German fighters in WWII.

    Fuel economy on the Isetta is about 80MPG but the major drawback is that it only carries 2 people, and will at best do about 45MPH which is not suitable for the highway. There is no heat and no A/C. Sorry about your luck also if you are unable to drive manual shift. The windshield wiper is pretty much vestigial and won’t do much for you if it rains more than a sprinkle. Also, heaven help you if you get hit. Great fun vintage car but not terribly practical for the way we use cars today. Wonderful pics!

    • Thanks so much for the great information! The men driving the two cars said the cars were capable of doing 62 mph, but maybe that was just the Messerschmidt? I wonder if your father – being in Ohio – would be able to figure out who else in the state owns these two cars (i.e who these men were.) I didn’t get their names, unfortunately, but it would be a hoot to find out and send them my blog post.

      🙂 Joana

      • Dad didn’t know these particular guys, (his vintage VW club is out of Columbus, and Dad’s primary interest is aircooled VW,) but there are a few other European car enthusiast clubs in Ohio. More than likely you can find the various clubs’ websites and ask about there.

        The Messerschmidt is the rarer and the faster of the two cars. I have only seen them in pictures. Dad has gotten to see them up close.

  38. Cool cars! It seems like there were so many cool ideas about what a car should be, but now everything is standardized, and not much is breaking the mold. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Well, what with the Smart cars and Fiats, maybe car design will be headed in a more interesting direction again. At least we can hope, no?

      🙂 Joana

  39. Out of all the awesome apsects of this, it does boil down to you having a camera handy! Thanks for sharing!

    I’m trying to decide whether a puppy or lion face customization would look best on the front.

    • Having the camera made my day; getting all of these nice comments has made my week (year?)

      🙂 Joana

  40. Right place at the right time! Being a gear head, I would have LOVED to have seen these! Great timing and awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing!

    • Love the term “gear head.” I’m not one, but these cars did it for me all the same.

      🙂 Joana

    • You’re very welcome, and thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog!
      🙂 Joana

  41. Reblogged this on My Library Card Wore Out and commented:
    I have a thing when ever I see little Smart cars (bubble cars as we call them in my family) and Fiats. I think they are the cutest cars ever. But they may have some competition now.
    What a cute little car…..yes you are, yes you are 😛

    • My husband loves the little Smart cars, too. But now we are even “smarter”, have sold our cars, and walk everywhere…of course, you can only do that in a big city like NY!

      Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  42. Congrats on being “pressed”. I plan on reposting your link on my blog Marti Ink in “The Week’s Head-turning Headlines” under the “creativity” section. Cool post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Marti. I look forward to your checking out your blog and seeing the reblog!

      With all best wishes,

    • Judging from the comments I’ve received on that post, you’re in good company!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  43. How adorable! This is such a lovely set of photos. What a sweetheart to let you have a seat too, it looks like so much fun!
    Congratulations on making Freshly Pressed, this really is a gorgeous post 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed my post on the vintage german autos! Thanks for reading and for your nice comment.
      🙂 Joana

  44. Pingback: The Week’s Head-turning Headlines « Marti Ink

  45. Oh wow! What a lucky time to have your camera handy 🙂 Such extraordinary people to match the character of their cars! Has it ever happened to you that you have your camera but find out you’ve left your SD card in your laptop!? :/

    • Hi,

      So far, the more common thing is that I leave my extra battery at home and the juice in my camera runs out. I’ve taken to carrying around a tote bag when I go out…it’s much easier to throw camera, batteries, purse, etc. all in one place.

      🙂 Joana

      • Good idea — tote bag AND spare battery (!), Also guilty of leaving home with a lighter camera as batt is stuck in the charger :s Great artwork, btw. I love the fluid style of your sketches!

        • Hi Jar of Salt (love your pen name!)

          The tote bag is also very handy in NY since I walk so much and end up peeling off and putting back on layers. At different times of the year (especially around Fashion Week and Fashion Night Out) you’re practically guaranteed to be given a free promo tote bag; I’ve amassed quite a collection in just a year!

          Thanks for your comment about my illustrations. I’m continually working to make my illustrations more fluid, free, natural- and effortless-looking. It takes a lot of practice and work to make something feel fluid and effortless; if a little of that quality is coming through, I’m very pleased.

          🙂 Joana

          • Ahhh, so envious of your art. My drawings are so distorted proportion-wise 🙁 I think freebie totes come in handy, esp for groceries. Arrived NYC last fall at exactly the same time of that unseasonal blast of snow/ice/rain! I still had only my Cybershot and was taking pics against the light. If only for better pics Part 2, I shall go back but layering for me is too much of a production number, haha 🙂 Re: “jar of salt” — name of my blog and pertains to the one thing I collect for cooking.

    • Thanks! Yes, and sometimes we’re so tied up in our own worlds that we miss lots of the great little moments that go by. I’m certainly glad I was there for this one.

      🙂 Joana

      • I so agree on this one! everything in life is uncertain .. these moments that go unnoticed, small things, rush hour , life and death.. sometimes we dont even realize that we were so close to death that we escaped.. and just like that these small things make up their importance when we realize what their real worth it.. definitly following your blog 🙂

        • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! Along with trying to live in the moment more, I also believe in trying to put my best self out there each day. I’m not always successful, but I’ve certainly noticed that kind actions almost always blossom.

          With all best wishes, Joana

  46. I think we should all begin carrying our cameras because we will be seeing more and more of these cute little puddle jumpers as the price of petrol rises to $8.00/gal.
    Nice post.

    • A very good point!

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for your nice comment –

Leave a Reply