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Lot 038: BMW Isetta 300

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (13 July 2011)

Built by the Italian firm of Iso, the Isetta caused a sensation when it was lunched at the Turin Motor Show in November 1953. Unlike anything seen before, not only was it small (only 7.5ft long by 4.5ft wide) and egg-shaped with bubble-type windows, but the entire front end of the car hinged outwards to allow entry and exit. The steering wheel and instrument panel also swung out with the door as this made access to the single bench seat easier. Power came from a 236cc 9.5bhp two-cylinder scooter engine mated to a manual gearbox with four forward speeds and reverse. A chain drive connected the gearbox to a solid rear axle with a pair of closely-spaced rear wheels. Top speed was about 47mph with up to 70mpg economy.

In 1954 Iso entered several Isettas in the legendary Mille Miglia where they took the top three spots in the economy classification and averaged 43mph. They also captured the attention of BMW who soon made a deal to design and manufacture their own version of the car under licence. BMW quickly made many changes, including a new 247cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine, borrowed from the BMW R25 motorcycle, that made 12bhp and boosted top speed to around 53mph. In 1956 they fitted longer side windows and a larger 298cc engine to produce the BMW Isetta 300, now with a heady 13bhp and improved torque that made hill climbing a little easier. A great success for BMW, some 161,782 Isettas were sold before production came to an end in May 1962.

First registered in January 1960, this particular Isetta 300 has had one registered keeper since 2006. Not much is known of its previous history but it appears to be in good sound condition throughout and certainly seems to drive well as we discovered during a short and very entertaining test drive around the grounds of the vendor's home. Although the last MOT expired in October 2007, it is hoped that the car will have gained a fresh MOT before the sale. Supplied with an informative book on microcars, this is a really quirky and appealing little machine that is sure to draw a huge amount of attention wherever it goes.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster, Herefordshire
TypeCar
Lot Number038
Estimate£7000-£9000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£6500
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1960
Condition rating0
Registration numberYLC 875
Mileage-
Chassis number320645
Engine number590148
Engine capacity (cc)298
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors