Miles Through Time Exhibits
1959 Maico 500
Make/Model: Maico-Werke GmbH 500
Owner: Donated by Jeff Lane of Lane Motor Museum
Original Price: $2,045
About the Maico 500
In 1926 brothers Otto and Wilhelm Maisch formed Maisch & Co. to produce small 2-stroke engines of JLO design, plus bicycles and parts. In 1932, the brothers began producing scooters and motorcycles under the Maico name.
Seeing an opportunity to enter Germany’s thriving small car market for pennies on the DM, Maico bought Champion’s small car design, becoming the fourth owner in as many years. The Champion/Maico 400 was stretched and given a larger engine in 1956, and renamed the Maico 500 in 1956; it was a stylish 4-seater microcar.
Sales were good, but the company had trouble keeping up with demand. Unfortunately, by mid-1958 the Maico 500 had many competitors, the chassis changes had compromised the front axle leading to excessive warranty claims, and production of the car was stopped.
Maico resumed motorcycle production; although they made both dirt bikes and street bikes, by the 1970s Maico dominated the Enduro and Motocross markets. Maicos were the dirt bikes to have in the 70s, but by 1983, the company had to declare bankruptcy. In 1986 Maico went out of business; however, the name lives on in Britain as Maico International (developing new motorcycles) and in Germany as Kostler-Maico and Maico-Mannesmann-Werke, building electric scooters.
Manufacturer: Maico-Werke GmbH
Country of Origin: Germany
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2 stroke, water-cooled, 452cc,
2 cylinder Heinkel
Transmission: 4 speed manual
Top Speed: 50 miles per hour
Years of Production: 1956-1958
Number Produced: 6,301
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