The Iso Isetta, which BMW built under license from 1955 to 1962, helped forge a new market segment for microcars that proved instrumental in getting Europe back on wheels. Designed by a company that made refrigerators, and looking like one itself, the little Isetta proved to be a sales success for the brief period when microcars were in vogue.
With only two seats, the Isetta’s market was limited and BMW needed something larger. Management had already committed to making an entirely new model – the 700 – and resources were limited, so a decision was made to create a lengthened Isetta as a placeholder until the 700 would be introduced in 1959. Deriving its name from the BMW R67 motorcycle-sourced boxer motor, the 600 looked just like an Isetta up front, and even retained its front suspension, but it featured a new perimeter frame and the first semi-trailing arm suspension on a BMW motorcar. A second row of seats and a right side door added space and usability.
The resultant design was clean and well presented – it’s understood that Michelotti had his hand in it – well constructed and adequately powered to allow for spirited driving. The ride was good too, with the wheels mounted at the far corners of the body. Alas, the price was high – about DM200 above that of a VW Beetle, and the buying public was starting to hanker for a more ‘normal’ looking vehicle. Only 35,000 600s left the factory before the more conventional looking 700 replaced it in late 1959.
The BMW Isetta 600 on sale here was exported from the USA back to Europe in 1990, and then became resident at the now defunct San Marino Museum in Italy. It remained with museum after closure and this is the first time in 26 years that this car has come to market. Very manoeuvrable and easy to park, the Isetta was more than a novelty, and today it is a ‘must-have’ in the microcar collector community.
Dieser BMW Isetta 600 wurde 1990 von den USA zurück nach Europa exportiert und wurde Teil des jetzt geschlossenen San Marino Museums in Italien. Nach der Schließung verblieb es beim Museum und ist kommt nun das erste Mal in 26 Jahren auf den Markt. Sehr manövrierfähig und leicht einzuparken, war die Isetta mehr als eine Neuheit, und gilt heute als “Must-Have” in der Kleinwagen-Community.