BMW Isetta 300 Export Cabriolet

The iconic Isetta bubblecar began life in Italy, a product of Iso, SpA., maker of refrigerators and motor scooters. Renzo Rivolta, owner of Iso and later builder of the Iso Rivolta and Iso Grifo GT cars, felt that a small car would enhance his product line and adopted a design by engineers Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi. Introduced in Turin in November 1953, it stunned the public with its front-opening door and bubble-inspired shape.

Production in Italy ceased in 1955, though license-built efforts continued in Spain, France and Brazil. The most prolific producer of Isettas, however, turned out to be BMW in Germany, which began production in April 1955 using a 247 cc motorcycle engine of their own manufacture. Re-engineering was so complete that no parts actually interchanged with the Italian predecessor, but the basic design remained true to the Isetta idea. In 1956, sliding side windows replaced earlier “bubble” units, and engine displacement was increased to 295 cc, with the resulting car named Isetta 300. More than 160,000 were built through 1962.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

13 hp, 295 cc BMW four-stroke single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, swing-arm independent front suspension, semi-elliptic leaf spring rear suspension, and hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 58"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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