The BMW Isetta

First announced in 1955 by BMW, the two-passenger Isetta was actually a licensed adaptation from the “bubble car” model designed by an Italian company, Iso. The initial model, the BMW Isetta 250, was powered by a specialized version of the four-stroke 250 cc BMW motorcycle engine.

The next model in line, the 1956
BMW Isetta 300 (or Moto Coupe DeLuxe), featured a more powerful single-cylinder engine of 298 cc and the bubble-style side windows were lengthened. With enhanced performance, this new model proved to be easier to drive and continued in the United Kingdom in 1957. The narrow roads and flexible regulations for motorcycle licenses in the UK encouraged production of a three-wheeled version, with right-hand driving orientation.

An odd-cousin of the Isetta bubble car, the BMW Isetta 600 (or BMW 600), was produced from 1957 to 1959. This model utilized parts of the former Isetta, such as the suspension for the front, along with the front-mounted door, but was built to accommodate four passengers. This increased interior space called for redesign along with a 582 cc flat-twin engine. An additional door was included on the right rear side for the back seat passengers.

The era of the Isetta came to an end in 1962 as BMW returned to the conventional market with the BMW 700 that we know today.


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