Name: 1957 BMW Isetta 250
Year(s) Produced: 1955-1962
Body Type: 1-front door small-car body
Engine: ISO spark-ignition, 4-stroke; 247 cm3/15.1 cui
Top Speed: 42 mph
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Length/width/height: 90 in/54.3 in/52.8 in
Wheelbase: 59.1 in.
Base Price: US$1,048 (NADA)
Current Price: US$50,800 (NADA)
The 1957 BMW Isetta 250 may be considered to be as the best microcar of its time. Originally hailing from Milan, Italy, this egg-shaped beauty was hatched by the scooter and refrigerator company of Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. under the care of Italian engineer Renzo Rivolta. Its unconventional design was met with mixed reactions when it was first presented in Turin in 1953.
However, BMW quickly took notice of the car’s potential. The automobile giant saw the Isetta as the vehicle of choice for those who will opt for something between a motorcycle and a luxury car. Dubbed as the Motocoupe by BMW, it has a 250cc 4-stroke engine that can be pushed, according to factory claims, up to 52mph. Additional features were added later such as an upgraded 300cc motor, and the redesigned sliding-window which gave it a more sleek and stylish design.
The 3-wheel Isetta was quite popular in Great Britain. Though more prone to rolling over, there were some ‘practical’ advantages. Due to its 3-wheel design, the Isetta was able to avoid automobile legislation and taxation by being classified as a 3-wheel motorcycle and can even be driven with a motorcycle license.
However, all good things big or small, must eventually come to an end. By 1962, Great Britain eventually stopped the production of these little beauties. It left a legacy of being the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world with 161,728 units sold throughout its production period.
Check out these other models of the Isetta from microcarmuseum.com. Would you like to take a ride in one these bubble cars?