BMW Isetta 300 Cabriolet

Post-war European drivers needed inexpensive urban runabouts as the continent rebuilt itself after WWII, but Italy was not about to emerge without a dose of flair. Iso S.p.A., a firm best known for fine appliances and zippy scooters, decided that a small car would help fulfill the average Italian's motoring needs. Production commenced shortly after the single-door car debuted at Turin in 1953.

However, it was not until BMW began producing its own version of the little Isetta under license in 1955 that its daring yet practical design really began to grab the world's attention. Harnessing its two-wheel heritage, BMW combined its own more sophisticated motorcycle-derived engine with some design tweaks to make the Isetta into a roaring success both at home and abroad.

The engine was enlarged, and the design of the side windows was changed to a more elegant and practical sliding configuration in 1956 when the updated Isetta 300 debuted. Most Isettas were hardtops, but BMW took advantage of the car's fast-growing cult status by creating a stylish Cabriolet variant.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

13 hp, 298 cc BMW four-stroke single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with leading arms and coil springs, rigid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 59.1"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: BMW Isetta 300 Cabriolet