1956 BMW Isetta 300
Due to the fact that the Isetta, nicknamed Das Rollende Ei (the
rolling egg) was only a marginal seller, and Iso wanted to
concentrate on sports car production, he decided to sell the rights
to the Isetta. BMW, which was in dire financial straits at the time
and facing the prospect of a buyout by Mercedes-Benz, was in need
of a fast-selling product, and was one of three purchasers of the
rights. Its fuel economy of 60-63 miles per gallon was comparable
to that of today's hybrid-electric cars. Some British models were
produced with three wheels, allowing it to be registered as a
motorcycle and avoiding taxation and licensing requirements.
Introduction of the Mini in 1959 signaled the end of the Isetta's
popularity, but the rolling egg had achieved its purpose, bringing
BMW back from the brink of financial failure and securing its
For consignment a very well-done example of a restored Isetta 300
from 1956. Dubbed the bubble top, it has a more rounded styling for
the roof and glass. It's beautiful paint, custom wheels machined by
the consigner, this frame off restoration was a labor of love from
every aspect being attended to. We are now dignified to have this
little egg-sample in our extensive and very diverse showroom, this
little BMW makes a big impression.
With a straight out of the mid 50's red and cream 2 tone paint,
which is near perfect, we are ready to roll! An interesting little
bug-a-boo with its wide open round headlights hanging off either
side of the bodywork, and narrowing rear with tail lights not to be
outdone by the headlights, hang off the bodywork as well. Bumpers,
more like push-bars or subway grab bars, are seen all around
gracing each corner, and all have a mirror-like finish. Solid
windows and greenhouse glass leave a field of exterior viewing
almost panoramic with all the curved glass. A small canvas sunroof
is seen on top, and of course we would be remiss if we were not
mentioning the full front swinging entry door complete with tilt
out steering column and wheel for easy access. Also, on the
opposite end in lieu of a luggage rack is a large spoiler for
keeping this small baby on the ground when cornering at high speed.
A "whale tale" if you will in all shiny aluminum for a small fish!
Custom machined by the consigner, 10-inch wheels are wrapped by
miniature 4.80-10's front tires and 205/50R10 tires on the rear.
This car sports 4 wheels just for a BTW, as some of these cars were
produced for the British market and sold as a motorcycle with only
Extremely simple but yet comfortable and roomier than one might
imagine, a single smooth vinyl gray bench fit for two (and you will
definitely have to be friends) runs from side to side. When seated
and the front door is closed, the steering wheel and column
magically come towards you giving you ergonomic access to the turn
signals, a small column mounted speedometer, and an inside fender
mounted on the left in reverse pattern, 4-speed manual shifter. A
mini trio of pedals surrounds the steering column on the floor, and
surprisingly accommodates the largest of shoe size.
A 298cc motorcycle engine from BMW rests neatly in the mid section
of the car and is boosted up 1 HP from 13 to 14. A 1-barrel Bing
carburetor feeds this air cooled popper, and a 4-speed manual
transmission propels you efficiently forward. A 6.24 rear gear
ratio helps get the car up to speed. It will do 60MPH but you
should be wearing your diaper to do so!
Too small for our lift we can take a peek underneath and we see a
powder coated frame fully engulfed in coating due to the frame off
restoration that took place. This little baby BMW has 4-wheel drum
brakes, and an independent coil spring front suspension, and a
swing arm rear suspension. No surface rust could be seen from many
of the vantage points we attempted.
Nearly top of the bucket list to drive cars for this writer, I
could not wait to climb in. It is surprisingly easy to get in and
out, and there is plenty of room when you are in. All ergonomics
are made for the driver really no matter what size (although if you
are over 300 lbs, I'd tend to avoid this car). It shifted smoothly,
and certainly does not have breakneck acceleration, but instead a
smooth buzz as I worked my way up through the gears. I never
attempted to get to top speed. But who cares as it's a blast to
drive, and talk about turning heads. Not many of these donning our
superhighways in USA, nor the McDonald's drive thru, but this one
was! Hold the pickles...
A top-notch restoration leaving nothing unaccounted for, a real
rare classic and to be in this condition, all working and nearly
perfect, this is a true find. Chalk it up to the one of the more
unusual automotive designs you'll see, but it has a way of growing
on you. Probably because it's so darn small and cute! 60 to 65 MPG
it will rival the modern-day hybrids for efficiency.
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special
interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale
with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle
barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown,
Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia
on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is
www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914.
Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the
vehicle in person.