One of the more successful designs of the cabin scooter’s heyday was the BMW Isetta, a model the German firm manufactured under license from its Italian originator, Iso (the name means ‘little Iso’). Faced with competition from the FIAT 500 and 600, Renzo Rivolta’s Iso was not selling well in its native Italy and it would be left to BMW to fully exploit the design’s potential. Although at first glance a three-wheeler, the German-built Isetta used a pair of closely spaced wheels at the rear and was powered by a BMW single-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle engine of 247cc, replacing the original’s noisy two-stroke motor. The coachwork of early examples featured a side-hinged single door at the front, roll-top sunroof and fixed side windows, while the steering wheel and dashboard were attached to the door to facilitate entry.
The two-seater Isetta’s most popular accessory, understandably so given the limited interior space, was a small luggage rack mounted at the rear. Later (1957-onwards) models incorporated sliding side windows for better ventilation. These improved models displaced 297cc and the ‘big’ Isetta 300 was reckoned capable of 65mph and 55mpg. Approximately 162,000 Isettas had been made by the time production ceased in 1962.
This remarkable left-hand drive Isetta 300 Hot Rod has only 2,026 miles recorded on its odometer and has had only one family owner from new.