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Lot 139: BMW Isetta 300

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Popular during the 1950s and 1960s, the diminutive 'bubble car' or 'cabin scooter' is currently enjoying a revival of interest - not surprisingly given the congested state of today's urban roads. Nowadays though, the Bubble's attraction has just as much to do with fashion as practicality. One of the more successful designs of the cabin scooter's heyday was the BMW Isetta, a design the German firm manufactured under license from its Italian originator Iso. The name means 'little Iso'. Renzo Rivolta's Iso was not selling well in its native Italy, faced with competition from the FIAT 500 and 600, and it would be left to BMW to fully exploit the design's potential. Although at first glance a three-wheeler, the German-built Isetta used a pair of closely spaced wheels at the rear and was powered by a BMW single-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle engine of 247cc, replacing the original's noisy two-stroke engine. The coachwork of early examples featured a side-hinged single door at the front, roll-top sunroof and fixed side windows, while the steering wheel and dashboard were attached to the door to facilitate entry. The two-seater Isetta's most popular accessory, understandably so given the limited interior space, was a small luggage rack mounted at the rear. Later (1957-onwards) models incorporated sliding side windows for better ventilation. These improved models displaced 297cc, and the 'big' Isetta 300 was reckoned capable of 65mph and 55mpg. Approximately 162,000 Isettas had been made by the time production ceased in 1962. Nothing is known about the history or condition of this example, which is offered with Netherlands registration papers dating from July 1965.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
TypeCar
Lot Number139
Estimate£8000-£10000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£11000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£12650
Year1957
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number431337
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors