1957 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 future.
For consignment a very well-done example of a restored Isetta 300. From its beautiful paint, to the 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 “the hits just keep on coming” showroom, this is a true standout in many ways.
With a straight out of the late 50's blue 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, to its narrowing rear with taillights 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. Sliding front 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. 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. The original wheels, which have been restored are included with the car. This car has 4 wheels just for a BTW as some of these cars were produced for the British market and sold as a motorcycle with only 3 wheels.
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 reverse pattern 4-speed manual shifter. A mini trio of pedals surrounds the steering column on the floor, and surprisingly accommodate the largest of shoe size.
A 289cc Boxer 2 motorcycle engine from BMW rests neatly in the mid-section of the car and has been 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.
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 it may hit 50 on a stiff tailwind day! But who cares as it's a blast to drive, and talk about turning heads. Not many of these donning our superhighways in USA.
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.