A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £16,875
With Fiat's 500 and 600 virtually monopolising the market for lightweight family transport, ISO's three-wheel Isetta was not faring well, so parent company, BMW, stepped in to help realise the microcar's full potential. The little car was redesigned around a one-cylinder 247cc BMW powerplant although much of the Italian design remained intact, whilst incorporating some clever BMW engineering. The result was the BMW Isetta which made its debut in April 1955. Isettas destined for export featured a single rear wheel, single-hinged front door, a roll-top sunroof and fixed side windows. From 1957 onwards, the car continued to be developed culminating in the Isetta 300 fitted with a larger engine (297cc) and sliding side windows.
Isetta of Great Britain Ltd. was one of many firms worldwide licensed to build the Isetta, with production commencing in a converted former locomotive works in Brighton, where models in both left-hand and right-hand drive were built. This left-hand drive BMW Isetta 300 is a 1962 example, assembled in Brighton as indicated by the chassis plate, and thought to have been supplied to its first customer by Claude Rye Ltd of Fulham. With right-hand drive examples, the laws of physics suggested that the combined weight of the driver and engine on the same side of a three-wheeled vehicle may well lead to a touch of instability, so a fairly heavy balance weight was added on the left-hand side restoring the status quo, however, adding quite a few kilos to a car that could only muster around 13bhp on a dry Sunday didn't make much sense, so left-hand drive cars were the popular choice.
Having undergone a recent full body respray, this little 300 now presents superbly in two-tone Rosso and Bianco. The underside was fully cleaned and detailed, a new fabric roll-top sunroof added, and fresh chrome, a new exhaust and new BF Goodrich tyres fitted. This delightful little ‘bubble car’ will put a smile on your face and the faces of onlookers as you pottle to the local pub on those warm summer nights.