The Bite-Size Italian: 1974-85 All-Cars Charly
50cc and 3 wheels never looked this weird.
Italian cars have always been either outright tours de force of styling (if not performance as well), like most Lancias or almost all Ferraris and Maseratis... but sometimes, they are bizarre motorcycle or golf cart derived conveyances, such as the Zagato Zele/Elcar, Casalini Sulky, Piaggio Ape, or the truly baffling All-Cars Charly.
Circa 1980 advertisement sheet for the All-Cars Charly.
This vehicle was originally designed by Autozodiaco of Bologna, an automotive aftermarket company that produced VW Beetle dune buggy bodies in the style of the US Meyers Manx and Deserter GT/GS and UK GP Beach Buggy, and was intended to be a 50cc city car drivable by teenagers and student drivers, that was fun and affordable. Motivation was taken from Moto Morini or Motobécan cycle engines, with simplistic final drive and suspension, and a body/chassis design that truly redefined automotive minimalism. Several versions were later produced by All-Cars of nearby Pianoro, including the "Tobrouk" soft-topped convertible utility, the "Golf" hatchback that could indeed carry two sets of clubs, the 125cc Charly II, the automatic transmission, 125cc Charly III, and the "Camel" dune buggy, which shamelessly appropriated the logo/word mark of the similarly named American cigarette manufacturer for its logo.
Magazine/newspaper ad in the Italian language for the All-Cars Charly.
Ad for the rarer hardtop version of the Charly Camel.
Ultimately, the venture failed, but not before the 1986 Charly 4, with a 250cc Motobécan engine, available automatic transmission, and more creature comforts, was launched. And for something this obscure, it even appeared in a number of Italian and other Southern European motion pictures, such as 1975's "Grazie... nonna", where a yellow open-topped Camel was shown and driven to a great extent.
Screenshot from 1975 Italian film "Grazie... nonna", featuring a then-brand new Charly Camel open-top.
These cars were not widely (if at all) exported to America, unlike the better known Zagato Zele/Elcar, but one was auctioned for a whopping $5,250USD at the 2012 Mecum Auction in St. Charles, Illinois, which was one of the first Mecum sales to unload the Bruce Weiner microcar collection, to which the below 1978 model year survivor of the "Golf" body style once belonged.