Without question, one of the oddest cars to ever wear a blue and white Roundel was the BMW Isetta from the ’50s. After the war, BMW wasn’t exactly an automotive giant, so rather than design and build a small city car by itself, it bought one from Iso and called it the Isetta. It was a peculiar car but ended up being very popular in Europe and helped to revive the struggling BMW after the war. However, looking back at it, the Isetta was a bit problematic, which is why Doug DeMuro considers it the worst car he’s ever driven.
The BMW Isetta is among the strangest automobiles you’ll ever see. Many of them only had three wheels, though there were four-wheeled models, which is odd in itself. Its only door was the entire front end of the car and the steering column actually swiveled with the door as it opened. Despite weighing as much as a box of paper clips, it was still somehow pathetically slow. It also didn’t have a reverse gear, which seems like a bit of an oversight at best.
What makes the BMW Isetta so bad is that the aforementioned problems were still problems back in its own day. Lacking a reverse gear and not being able to climb a hill with more than on person inside aren’t things that were acceptable even in the ’50s and ’60s. Some old cars are terrible by today’s standards but were good in their own times, so they get a pass. However, the Isetta was flawed even in its own day and, as quirky and charming as it is, it’s likely quite terrible to drive today.
Still, the BMW Isetta helped save the brand during a difficult time for all German automakers, so it does have its important place in BMW history. I wonder what people will think about the BMW i3 in 50 years?