Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just A Car Geek Reader's Car - 1956 BMW Isetta

The car shown above is belongs to Just A Car Geek reader Greg Moore. Greg, from Great Britain, sent this message along with the picture...

"I've attached a picture of my Isetta which is a 1956 bubblewindow. There may be a few of these in the States but here in the UK the Isetta of Great Britain club estimates that there are a dozen at most that still exist. The more common sliding window Brighton built Isettas are around but I've never seen another bubble in the flesh. There is an American import on uk ebay at present and he is asking about £23,000 !!!

This was a barn find but I did not have to do a lot to get it back on the road.

I believe that BMW only made about 8,000 of this model before switching to the sliding window. No idea how many came to the UK. The London dealers plate is still on the car.

I use it daily for local trips and it runs fine. I get a lot of interest.

The club numbers have dropped in the recent years and we are down to about 200 members now."

I asked him if he was selling it and the answer was "No its not for sale. I'd never get another one like it." I'm certain that's true. Greg's Isetta is in beautiful condition.

It has been said that the Isetta is the car that saved BMW. In the 1950s BMW had not yet established the worldwide reputation it enjoys today. In Germany, where the economy was still recovering from WW II, most people could not afford BMWs impressive, but expensive, 503 and 507 cars. The Isetta, whose manufacturing rights were purchased from the Italian Iso company, provided BMW with a high volume, inexpensive car. Over the course of 8 years BMW built well over 100,000 Isettas.

BMW exported the Isetta to the US and surprisingly, given our taste for bloated, finned cars and BMWs lack of name recognition in the 1950s, it sold reasonably well. The Isetta still has a small but fanatical following here in the US. You'll usually see a few well taken care of examples at any German car show.

Click here to find a WorldCarsFans.com article on the Isetta

Click here to find IsettaWorld, the club Greg mentions.

If you would like to own a car like Greg's check out this listing on eBay.

Not surprisingly, given the current trend towards small, efficient commuter cars, there are rumors that BMW is planning to launch a new Isetta. You can find an artist rendering of it here, courtesy of Autobloggreen.com

Check out this video from BMWwebTV...


A big thanks to Greg for submitting his Isetta to Just A Car Geek! If you have a car you'd like featured on the site, e-mail it to me (Please include pictures and and any info or history you may have about the car)

1 comment:

Jason said...

What a great little car! It's funny to think that these were compepting for space on the US roads with the big cars of the 50s.

Greg deserves alot of credit for buying and restoring this car!