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Lot 22

2014   |   Amelia Island Auction 2014

1956 BMW Isetta 300

SOLD $41,800

Estimate

$35,000 - $45,000| Without Reserve

Chassis

493903

Engine

493903

Car Highlights

Matching-Numbers, Early “Bubble Window” Isetta 300
Older Restoration with Expert Assistance from Werner Schwark
Long-Term Single-Family Prior Ownership
Mechanically Sound Example
Accompanied by Owner’s and Shop Manuals, and BMW Umbrella
Historic and Highly Collectible “Microcar”

Technical Specs

298 CC Air-Cooled OHV Single-Cylinder Engine
Single Carburetor
13 BHP
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
Leading-Arm Front Suspension with Coil Springs
Live Rear Axle with Quarter-Elliptical Leaf Springs
Register to Bid

Finished in period-correct light blue with a blue interior, this very nicely presented early-style “bubble window” BMW Isetta from 1956 was completely restored in the early 2000s under long-term care of a noted and prolific BMW collector and marque enthusiast before being acquired by the consignor. Plenty of restoration assistance and expertise was provided by Werner Schwark of the Atlanta, Georgia, area, who is acknowledged as one of the premier microcar experts, parts suppliers, and restorers in the US. Following completion, the Isetta was driven quite frequently as a wonderful and distinctive Sunday runabout, with the collector’s notes on the car providing the best impressions of the unique experience it delivers. In them, he stated the Isetta was a “...blast to drive, as you must run flat-out to keep up with traffic. I have found Isettas practically impossible to roll over, and they have great brakes, which I am sure the light weight helps. I drive the car everywhere in urban environments. It never fails to elicit smiles and thumbs-up signals. The only danger seems to be from gawkers trying to take pictures.” This praise is particularly noteworthy indeed, given the size and scope of the collection it hailed from, which spanned BMW’s rich automotive history from the prewar era to the present day.

As offered, this rare early “bubble window” Isetta 300 from 1956 is quite desirable, with matching numbers and is now ready for continued love and enjoyment by a new family that is ready to discover the many delights it will certainly continue to deliver.

The Isetta

First developed in Italy by industrialist Renzo Rivolta’s successful Iso SpA, the Isetta was license-built by BMW in West Germany, with development including adaptation of the Bavarian manufacturer’s four-stroke engines led by Eberhard Wolff. The timing of BMW’s 1955 launch of the distinctive “microcar” was perfect, as it provided affordable mobility while delivering some 50 mpg – a valuable selling point in the wake of the Suez Crisis.

Beginning with the Model 250, which entered production in early 1955 with a 247 cc BMW single-cylinder four-stroke engine, the basic Isetta evolved into the Isetta 300 with 298 cc power for 1956. Easy to operate in dense traffic, the Isetta known whimsically in Germany as “das rollende ei” or the rolling egg. It enjoyed widespread use with West Germany’s Bundespost, and, in North America, it quickly achieved cult status following several high-profile appearances on televised variety shows. While small in physical size, the Isetta’s influence was disproportionately large, with the vehicle helping to maintain BMW’s fierce independence during the late 1950s.