Motor Car company
1958 BMW Isetta 300
Two-Tone Color with Chrome Trim
Miles: 17,882 Showing
Engine: 1-cyl. 298cc/13hp 1bbl Bing
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual
Exterior Color: Red/White
Interior Color: Black
History of the 1955-1962 BMW Isetta:
Renzo Rivolta was an early adopter of the inventive bubble car style in 1953. The Iso refrigerator magnate created an odd four-wheeled, two-seat Isetta that was powered by a 236-cc, two-stroke twin-cylinder engine. The car was cute and quirky, with a steering wheel that hinged outwards with the front -opening door (a la a refrigerator, naturally).
In 1954, Rivolta sold sold the whole works – tooling and all –to BMW, who was looking for an economical car with mass appeal to combat the company’s bleak financial picture. Out went the two-stroke twin and in went a 250-cc motorcycle engine. In 1956, the first full year of production, BMW sold 22,000 Isettas. Encouraged by the results, the engine was bumped up to a 297-cc four-stroke single, which turned the car into reliable transportation that was capable of 50 mpg at 50 mph. By 1962, BMW had built 161,728 Isettas, with 41,000 more constructed under license in other countries. BMW soon altered the window arrangement to permit sliding side windows and reduce the goldfish bowl effect of sunshine.
Originally designed with rear wheels 20 inches apart to obviate the need for a differential, tax laws in various countries gave a break to a three-wheeled version, and sales of those units predictably soared. British-built Isettas added a pickup version and a full convertible. All Isettas have a sliding sunroof, supposedly so occupants could get out if the front door jammed. Most Isettas are left-hand drive, as moving the wheel to the right side meant that driver and engine were on the same side of the car, impractically necessitating ballast on the left.
Most BMW Isettas sold in the U.S. survive. For many years BMW was embarrassed at such humble origins and did not manufacture spares, stranding survivors. That situation has been corrected, and though parts may not be cheap, they are at least available. Urban practicality and concerns about the price of gas – plus the cute quotient – has made the Isetta a somewhat recent darling. Fully restored examples have topped $40,000 as high-line auctions, but driver-quality cars can still be found at entry-level prices. The Isetta remains a fundamentally sound design, and looks especially attractive in “Easter egg” colors. Unsurprisingly. Isettas must be considered the unlikeliest Mille Miglia entrant, competing twice, in 1954 and 1955, so add event eligibility to the car’s list of attributes.
About This Car:
This BMW Isetta is one of the coolest cars you can own. People who know what this car is will give you thumbs up and people who don’t will be asking where you got it. Car was fully restored a year ago. Repainted and completely gone through. The car had zero rust on it, no accidents and was in great shape even before the restoration process had begun. Frame was sandblasted and painted. The restorer took photos of the process and that photo album will come with the sale of the car. The engine was gone through with new gaskets, resealed and serviced. Original gear box. New clutch. New lines, cables and rubber put in. The restorer restored the original hardware, headlamps and so on. New Master cylinder, rubber and shocks were also installed. Owner’s handbook, and paperwork goes with the car as well. This car is a pleasure to drive with the sunroof open or closed. One of the neatest things about owning a BMW Isetta is getting in and out of it. No matter how many times you open or close the door to the car, that refrigerator front door will put a smile on your face every time. We look forward to talking to you about this car.
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