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BMW /Isetta

The Isetta was originally manufactured by a company called Iso in Milan (Italy) 1953. The Isetta (Little Iso) was at first a 4-wheeler  powered by a 236cc 2-cylinder 2  stroke engine. The cars however did not sell well and so Iso sold both the  design and manufacturing rights to BMW. The Isetta¬  was then built under license  by BMW in Germany. Power now came from a 250cc four-stoke single cylinder engine  and a similar 298cc engine. The instant success  of the Isetta possibly stopped  BMW from closing down as it kept the company in business at a time when many  others were forced to close. BMW then sold the manufacturing rights to various companies around the world,  and the Isetta was then produced in France (Velam), and from 1957 the UK which  became "Isetta of Great Britain Ltd". These Isettas were built at the Southern  Locomotive works in New England Street,  Brighton. (UK)  The high road tax  cost of  the 4-wheeled Isetta in the UK hindered sales until the first 3-wheeled version  arrived in 1958.

The Isetta was one of the true "bubble cars" having a bubble  shaped body that was made from steel and bolted to a separate tubular chassis and, like its 4-wheeler counterpart, it used the BMW 298cc 4-stroke engine.  Access to and from the car was via a large door ar the front of the Isetta, this  also incorporated a unique feature in that the steering column was attached to  the door and by using a universal joint the steering column would swing away with the door allowing easier access to and from the vehicle. The interior of  the vehicle featured a single bench type seat that was said to seat up to three adults. The Isetta also featured a canvas sun roof, this was fitted to partially act as a means of escape should the vehicle be involved in a head on collision  which obstructed the door and prevented it from opening. In total over 200,000  Isetta's were manufactured world wide until they were discontinued in 1964.

The original Iso design, some with BMW engines were also built under  license from Iso in Brazil. (Romi Isetta)

 

The BMW Isetta. 

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