Although it may seem peculiar, as the BMW Isetta basically bears no resemblance to classic Bavarian models, the bubble-car was an important model in the history of the brand. Some say it managed to single-handedly save BMW from bankruptcy with its quirky looks and outlandish features. As weird as it may sound, those claims are not far off, and anyone who ever looked into BMW’s past knows exactly why.
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, as Europe was recovering from the second World War, BMW was making luxury sedans and trying to sell them to wealthy people who… simply didn’t exist anymore. Therefore, they were facing bankruptcy, especially after the BMW 507 proved to be a sales flop. Therefore, in order to save themselves, a change of pace was needed and they started selling the Isetta, after buying the rights from an Italian company.
And by all accounts, nobody expected this car to be a big hit. It was a farcry from what BMW got people used to. It had four minuscule wheels, a unique ‘front door’, only two seats, and an engine running on one cylinder. And yet, this cute little bubble managed to win over a lot of people and save the company altogether, as the guys from Throttle House will tell you. Clearly, this Isetta comes with a quirks and issues. It’s not a BMW thing though, it’s an ‘old car thing’ as many of you might know.
Old engines with carburetors and lots of miles on them tend to be quite tricky to run. As for how the Isetta drives, well… there’s a lot to talk about. From the gearbox to the steering and brakes, it’s quite an experience. I’ll let you see how things went down in the video below.