BMW Isetta 300

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by BailOut, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    While waiting for my ride this morning I spotted a unique car that I'd never heard of before. I couldn't even tell what it was until I got close enough to read the logo. It was a BMW Isetta 300, and while I knew nothing about it I have since located a Wiki article that explains it was produced from 1955 to 1962, and that of the 8,500 that were exported to the U.S. only about 1,000 still survive.

    I found it parked under the overpass at McCarran and Highway 395 in Reno. By the time my ride arrived the owner had come back to the vehicle with a small gas can and fueled it up. I didn't get a chance to speak with him as by the time my ride pulled up he was driving off, after having opened the front of the vehicle to get in (that was an odd sight).

    I'm sure it burns dirty but its little 298cc engine must offer some incredible FE, and it is extremely cute.


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  2. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    On the tv show "Family Matters" the nerdy guy Steve Erkle(SP?) drove one that was red. Nice pics.
     
  3. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    I've seen them somewhere. I have a book of cartoons by Brockbank that appeared in Punch, and the Isetta features in some of them.
     
  4. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

  5. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    You used to see them all over European cities in the 60's and similar vehicles (with a door on the front) were made by several different car manufacturers They were convenient to park in cities since they were short enough that they could park nose first to the curb and then you opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk. They had a 13hp single cylinder motor and had a top speed of around 45mph. For winter use, you could even buy skis that mounted on the front wheels to negotiate deep snow on unplowed roads.
     
  6. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    I read a humorous story about an Isetta in Car & Driver a few months ago. An Isetta owner went to a place that had valet parking. Apparently the Isetta has a confusing shift pattern so he tried to explain it to the valet, but the valet said that he drives lots of strange cars and would figure it out. The valet drives away and the owner goes inside. When the owner decides to leave, he asks for his car back but nobody can find they keys. They start scouring the lot for the car and eventually find it with the valet asleep inside. Apparently, the valet had parked too close to a wall in front of the car and couldn't get the front-opening door open. He had tried to back the up but couldn't find reverse. Finally, he tried honking the horn to get help but nobody came and it eventually drained the battery, so the valet had nothing to do except sit there and wait.
     
  7. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Brian,

    It looks like something I saw in East Texas 40 years ago - very unusual to that part of the country. Since the front opened and a two-seater, I'm 99% sure it was an Isetta.
     
  8. bomber991

    bomber991 Well-Known Member

    lol, I could picture that happening.
     
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Mike:

    ___Great story!

    ___Does anyone have an urban/extra urban or real world number on one of these things as I have heard the name Isetta used more than once in casual conversation the past 3 or 4 months?

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne
     
  10. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Here you go Wayne! You can have your very own (or a new Prius).
    It's close to me. I could run it up for you!!:D
     
  11. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    wow 26k buy it now, yeah sign me up for 2 lol.
     
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Mike:

    :p :D

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne
     

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