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Lot 112: BMW Isetta 300

Automobiles of Amelia Island, RM Auctions (12 March 2011)

13 bhp, 298 cc overhead valve air-cooled single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with chain/sprocket drive, leading-arm front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 59.1"

- A painstaking recent nut-and-bolt, body-off-frame restoration - Powder-coated frame, rebuilt engine and transmission, beautifully refinished

Developed by Renzo Rivolta's Iso works in Italy, the Isetta was also license-built by BMW in West Germany, where it's unusual shape begat the whimsical nickname das rollende Ei  the rolling egg. The Isetta may have sold poorly in Italy, but the timing for BMW was perfect, as it quickly became fashionable and was extensively used by the Bundespost. In the United States, the Isetta achieved cult status following several appearances on popular TV variety shows of the era.

Measuring just seven feet, nine inches long and only four-and-a-half feet wide, the Isetta was barely larger than a standard plywood sheet. As a result, Isetta owners were never at a loss for a parking space, contributing to their strong popularity among city dwellers. In fact, in many ways the success of this small automobile saved BMW from being taken over by Mercedes during the late 1950s.

This 1957 Isetta 300 is offered from a knowledgeable enthusiast and restorer of these charming 1950s icons. Beginning with a straight, rust-free Georgia car acquired in 2008, it received a painstaking nut-and-bolt restoration during 2009 with the body removed from the frame, stripped to bare metal and refinished, while the frame was powder-coated and the engine and transmission rebuilt to original specifications. The restored interior features original-type plaid upholstery and includes sun visors and a cigarette ashtray. A delightful sunroof adds a dash of open-air appeal. Beautifully restored, mechanically fit and offered complete with the original title, this delightful Isetta is certainly one of the finest examples on the market.

Lot Details
Auction Automobiles of Amelia Island
RM Auctions, Amelia Island, Florida
TypeCar
Lot Number112
Estimate$30000-$40000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$33000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1957
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number500678
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors