Monaco

11-12 May 2012

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Lot 304

1956 BMW Isetta 300

  • Chassis no. 604264
  • Engine no. 604264

Sold for €21.280


13 bhp, 298 cc air-cooled OHV single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with chain/sprocket drive, leading-arm front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 1,501 mm (59.1")

• Beautiful example of the legendary microcar that saved BMW
• Restored in 2010 to original colours and specifications; only 724 km since completion
• Fitted with rear luggage carrier and leather suitcase

The Isetta was a vehicle born of necessity and is often regarded as the car that saved BMW. Faced with declining motorcycle sales, the burgeoning middle class in its home market and the political events of the 1950s leading to oil shortages in Europe, the microcar craze was ripe for success, and a car that BMW desperately needed. As the motorcycle market declined, BMW began moving toward high-volume car production.

For the second time in its history, BMW built a vehicle under licence as a means of getting into production quickly. The two-seat vehicle with tubular chassis and unique front opening door became known as “das rollende Ei”–the rolling egg. BMW approached the owner of the Italian company Iso and its designer/owner Count Rivolta with the idea of purchasing the rights to build the car. Rivolta sold not only the production rights to the Iso but much of the body tooling as well.

Débuting at the 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show, BMW fitted the car with its own 12 horsepower 247 cc four-stroke engine, later upsizing it to 298 cc and adding one additional horsepower. The light body, in combination with the motorcycle engine, offered efficient fuel consumption along with a mere DM 2,580 purchase price, just 500 more than an R25 motorcycle, which it shared its engine. Between 1955 and 1962, BMW produced 161,728 Isetta 250 and 300 models (including 31,700 in 1956), making it BMW’s best-selling model to date.

This well-presented Isetta was restored in 2010. The car was completed to original specifications, including the body, mechanics and period-correct colour combination. The car has been driven just 721 kilometres since restoration, and it is believed that its odometer reading of 57,924 km is the correct mileage from new. Additionally, it has been fitted with a rear luggage carrier, complete with a 1950s-era leather suitcase to be included with the sale. No collection is complete without a delightful Isetta!

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more