What you’re seeing here is an endearing pan-European curio. The Isetta was an Italian-designed microcar, the original version launching in 1953; the simple and intriguing formula was licensed for manufacture to a variety of companies across the globe, perhaps most significantly BMW who, in 1955, radically overhauled the running gear using a single-cylinder motor of their own design. The launch version was the BMW Isetta 250, but the car we have here is a further evolution of the breed – the BMW Isetta 300 – with a larger and more powerful engine. The 298cc single-cylinder 4-stroke motor puts out 13bhp, and can carry you up to 53mph if you’re feeling adventurous.
This particular example, a 1962 model, is a pleasingly tidy and entertaining car. It’s got a robust history file, with a decent chunk of money spent over recent years at marque specialist The Bromley Bubble Company. It’s a characterful, quirky car that’s impossible not to love, and we expect the bidding to be keen with this one. Because wherever you go, everybody smiles at this lovely little car – and you can’t put a price on that sort of cheerfulness, can you?
The History and Paperwork
British Isetta owner’s handbook
2018 – invoice for £101 – rear brake shoes and cylinder
2017 – invoice for £190 – front wheel cylinders and master cylinder
2013 – invoice for £654 – window rubbers, velvet rails, sunroof cover and tensioner, rear screen rubber and filler, etc
2013 – invoice for £781 – rear swing arm, and assorted works
2012 – invoice for £1,062 – engine mounts, hub bearings, washer pump and bottle, gear lever, repairs to front wing corners, etc
Sheaf of old MOTs back to 1995
Correspondence from DVLC (in 1988) outlining all former keepers
Neat and tidy throughout
Lion battery under seat
The Isetta’s diminutive cabin is compact and uncluttered, and actually more accommodating than you might think. There’s easily room for two adults in here, perched atop a comfy bench trimmed in tasteful tartan. There’s a tidy mat beneath your feet, neat interior panels either side, and a handy rear shelf behind. The pedal box is clean, and the steering column tilts correctly when the front door is opened. There’s only one dial, a speedo – because that’s honestly all you need, isn’t it? A pleasingly presented interior with superlative visibility.
Stylish two-tone paint
The stylish design of the Isetta’s body really is an unparalleled work of artistry. The crisp two-tone colour scheme calls to mind the effect of the splitscreen VW camper (only rather smaller, of course), and it’s a profile that elicits smiles and waves wherever you go. The front wing corners received a little attention in 2012, and today the car presents very well indeed, with good paint and all of the correct trim present and correct.
The light lenses and window glass are all good, and the wheels wear a decent set of tyres.
Willing and eager motor
Very entertaining to drive
The 298cc single-cylinder 4-stroke motor is a willing and eager thing, jumping immediately into life as soon as the key is turned. The steering is appropriately direct with the large-diameter wheel giving the driver something substantial to hang onto, and the gearshift down by your right thigh is easily accessible, slick and simple to use. The motor is extremely torquey for its size, and you’ll feel this when you pull away from a standstill as the car leaps to attention. The brakes have received work in recent years and do a decent job of hauling the Isetta up, and the handbrake is effective too. Everything here is doing what it should, and it’s a highly entertaining car to drive.
This is a very desirable little car, primarily for the fact that it’s such a cute and lovable thing. But don’t go thinking this is just a fun ornament – it’s been kept in fine fettle by its keepers over the years, with work carried out in recent times by the experts at The Bromley Bubble Company. This is a pretty, robust and usable example of this quirky and appreciating classic.
BEFORE YOU BUY
This sale is subject to the Car & Classic Terms and Conditions. By bidding and/or making an offer, you also agree to the following:
✓ If the seller is registered as a private seller, consumer rights stemming from EU consumer protection law do not apply. Car & Classic’s return policy applies.
✓ A non-refundable deposit will be payable if you are the winning bidder at auction or if your offer is accepted, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for details.
✓ This vehicle is “Sold As Seen”, on an “As Is, Where Is’ basis and without warranty. A full inspection of the vehicle prior to purchase and bidding is highly recommended. Photos and descriptions are for guidance purposes only.
✓ VAT is included in the buyer's deposit. VAT may or may not be included in the final bid or offer price, as specified in the listing.
✓ UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check, to verify that they show no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and have no finance owing.
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1962 BMW Isetta 300
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