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Lot 83: BMW Isetta 300

Collectors' Cars, H&H Sales Limited (10 June 2009)

Produced by Renzo Rivolta's Milanese Iso SpA conglomerate, the Isetta was the result of an evolutionary chain that had begun with fridges (hence perhaps the design's distinctively large, single-piece front door) and progressed via scooters and three-wheel mini trucks. With a specification that included a compact rear-mounted drivetrain, canvas sunroof, independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes, the newcomer caused a sensation upon launch at the 1953 Turin Motor Show. Intended to provide low-cost, economical transport for two people and their luggage, the diminutive four-wheeler was capable of barely 50mph. Nevertheless, despite this limited turn of speed, a factory-entered team of Isettas won their class (and the index of performance) in the 1954 Mille Miglia. Suitably impressed, a struggling BMW (whose lavish model range was increasingly at odds with the poor economic climate) approached Iso with a view to building the Isetta under license. Suitably re-engineered, the first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955. Updated the following year with the adoption of sliding windows and a larger 298cc single cylinder four-stroke engine (liberated from the R27 motorcycle) producing 13bhp that made 54mph a possibility, its popularity was increased still further by the 1956 Suez crisis. This car, a genuine four-wheeler rather than the three-wheelers predominantly produced in the UK, is said to have been "extensively restored with care and understanding" during 2006; the work being documented via "a full photographic record". The job involved many new parts, rewiring, retrimming and painting with two-pack, whose finish the owner describes as "very nice". A four-speed example, apparently still with its original engine, it is believed but not warranted to have covered only around 19,000 miles. "A vehicle the fussiest won't be disappointed with" concludes the owner.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Cars
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
TypeCar
Lot Number83
Estimate£12000-£14000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1957
Condition rating
Registration numberUCR 469
Mileage-
Chassis number11620
Engine number11620
Engine capacity (cc)295
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors