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1960 BMW Isetta 300

BMW made a genuine success of the Italian original, but it was not enough to bring lasting fortunes to the company. It was still better for this type of customer to buy a used VW Beetle, which was roomier and more practical in daily use. Or, if one wanted to buy new, the four-seater Goggomobil offered more space for a growing family. BMW saw this trend early on, and brought out its four-seater BMW 600 in 1957, but it would be left to the more conventional BMW 700 to bring lasting success and initiate the company’s phenomenal climb to the top levels of the European auto industry.

This car is another example of a late-model European 300 sliding-window model, identifiable by its stylized script on either side of the door roundel, its narrow bright trim strips under the windows, and its wide “swallow-tail” rear brake/ license plate light. A “single-key” system for ignition and door was a welcome refinement. Mechanically, the late-type motors had a longer oil filler neck with nylon dipstick, improved valve cotters and better drive couplings by Goetze.

While the Isetta did not excel in any particular microcar virtue- styling, practicality, speed, economy, reliability, comfort- it was its clever, appealing combination of all of them that makes it arguably the most popular microcar of today.

Manufacturer: Bayerische Motoren Werke, Munich, Germany

Model: Isetta 300 Motor: BMW 4-stroke Body : Steel
Years Built: 1957 - 1962 No. Cylinders: 1 Chassis: Steel Tube
No. Produced: 25 697 Displacement: 295 cc Suspension Front: Swing Arm
No. Surviving: n/a Horsepower: 13 Susp Rear: Leaf
Length: 90" Gearbox: 4 + rev Steering: Worm
Width: 54.5" Starter: Dynastart Brakes: Hydraulic
Weight: 700 lbs Electrics: 12 v 4 Wheels: 4.80 x 10”
Interior: Bench Ignition: Coil Top Speed: 85 kph

© 2002