BMW Isetta 300

First developed by Renzo Rivolta’s Iso works in Italy, the Isetta was also license-built by BMW in West Germany, where it’s unusual shape begat the whimsical nickname das rollende Ei (the rolling egg). The Isetta may have sold poorly in Italy, but the timing for BMW was perfect, as it quickly became fashionable despite its humble “people’s car” roots. Thanks to its ease of operation in high-traffic European cities, the Isetta also enjoyed widespread use with West Germany’s Bundespost (postal service). In the United States, the Isetta achieved cult status following several appearances on popular TV variety shows of the era.

Beginning with the Model 250, which entered production in early 1955 with a 247-cc single-cylinder engine, the basic Isetta design evolved into the Isetta 300 with a slightly more-powerful 298-cc engine for 1956. It measured just seven feet, nine inches long and only four-and-a-half feet wide. As a result, Isetta owners were never at a loss for a parking space, contributing to their strong popularity among city dwellers. In fact, in many ways the success of this incredibly small and economical automobile saved BMW from being taken over by Mercedes-Benz, its much larger rival, during the late 1950s. BMW made the Isetta its own. They redesigned the powerplant around a more reliable BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine making 13 hp. Although the major elements of the Italian design remained intact, BMW re-engineered much of the car, so much so that none of the parts between a BMW Isetta Moto Coupe and an Iso Isetta are interchangeable. The first BMW Isetta appeared in April, 1955.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco. Also part of the RM Auctions event for Bruce Weiner in February, 2013.

13 bhp, 298 cc air-cooled OHV single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with chain/sprocket drive, leading-arm front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 59.1"

Source: RM Auctions

BMW Isetta 300