Posts Tagged ‘BMW Isetta’

If it never needs repairs, why do they have complete spare part service

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The venerable Isetta was tiny, cheap and nimble transportation in post-World-War-II Europe. In this day of $4-a-gallon gas, could a similar car be an attractive alternative? That’s the question University of Applied Arts graduate Tony Weichselbraun asked as he endeavored to imagine a modern Isetta.

Tony calls his interpretation the eSetta, with the “e” indicating an electric motor in place of the original Isetta’s gasoline-powered motorcycle engine. Such a small package couldn’t hold much of a battery pack, but it doesn’t need to in Tony’s plan. The eSetta would be part of a car sharing system where the little cars would be charged via induction stations where the eSetta could be borrowed and returned.

For now, the eSetta is only a concept, but its familiar retro look and frugal philosophy could do well for short trips in a compact urban centre.

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The BMW factory since the 1930’s has catered mostly to the wealthy car buyers around the World. Yes they have had some lower line models like the 315, an affordable Sports Car, but not until the mid-50’s did they take on a whole new generation of Micro cars, called the Isetta 600, designed for it’s small package & to carry a small family from point A to point B while getting 60 MPG. Public response to the little Isetta was gratifying to BMW, but as its shortcomings were also pointed out at this time ("too small"), it was decided to go "up a class" and produce a larger car with room for four.

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Management by May 1956 had already committed to the introduction of the BMW 700, a totally new design, by 1959, so the 600 was seen as an easily produced interim model using already existing Isetta production equipment. The 1956 prototype did indeed look like a stretched Isetta, with its stock 2-tone front door and Isetta bumpers, but with the wheelbase lengthened by 165cm and R67 boxer motor driving full-width axles. August 1957 saw the proper introduction of the model, to universal acclaim. Stylish looks (Michelotti had been involved) with its new "knife edge" bumpers, fantastic room inside with rear seat access by a side door, and the motor no longer sat in the passenger compartment.

It was quiet, its wheel at each corner design gave a great ride, and there was sufficient power for hill-climbing. It was even available with a Saxomat automatic transmission. It was pricey, however, at 200 Marks more than a VW Beetle.

Text and images from “investmentmotorcars.net

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The extraordinary Isetta, the nicest and famous microcar of the world, was conceived by the mind of eng. Ermenegildo Preti, who together with the faithful & expert Pierluigi Raggi gave the shape of this glorious little-big vehicle. Exhibited for the first time in 1952 at Bresso (Milan), it was produced by the Iso firm where Preti and Raggi were in charge of the Technical Office. The Isetta got its maximum international sales success with BMW, the great Bavarian factory that purchased the license for the production of the mythic “egg with wheels” in 1955 from the Rivoltas.


The Isetta Source:
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