The BMW Isetta has a special history: although produced by the German colossus, its origin can be traced back to inspired Italian design. Renzo Rivolta, founder of ISO Autoveicoli Spa, a company of Genoese origin, together with two young aeronautical engineers, Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi, created the first car called ISO Isetta. Rivolta had already addressed the issue of mass motorization, looking for new solutions that were practical and economical, building the Isomoto, which was halfway between a motorcycle and a scooter, and in 1952 began to build a car that could sit in the gap between the prices of motorcycles and those of the very first utility cars. It was on the occasion of the 1954 Geneva Motor Show that the Italian Isetta was noticed by BMW, which established a link with Rivolta and acquired the licence for the design; this agreement gave birth to the BMW Isetta in 1955. The Isetta was much discussed for it’s unusual oval shape, its compact size and especially for the front, consisting of a maxi door with panoramic windscreen, which served as a (single) door to access the car. The particular design of the Isetta's glazing was the result of advice from Giovanni Michelotti. The roof was canvas, which could be unrollable to transform the Isetta into an open car. The two rear wheels were very close to each other, to avoid the need to install a differential, which would have led to an increase in weight, mechanical complexity and cost. BMW improved the mechanical aspect, making the gears smoother, especially on slopes, replacing the two-stroke single-cylinder engine with a more "negotiable" engine: a four-stroke single-cylinder derived from that of the R25/3, with a displacement of 245 cc, capable of generating an effective 12 hp. As far as the chassis was concerned, the most notable difference was in the front end, no longer with rubber pads, but with steel coil springs. The presentation to the press of the new Isetta branded BMW took place on March 5, 1955. The official name of the German car was BMW 250, while the name Isetta continued to be widely used as a nickname in Germany. At the time of its debut, the Isetta caused a sensation: indeed, it was to be considered truly avant-garde. A car completely different from those in circulation, both in terms of the body, and, above all, for the rational and intelligent choice in the arrangement of everything that served to make this small means of transport a genuine car to all intents and purposes, “liveable” and manageable. Many have since called it a work of genius. The BMW 250 was a major success, it became the first low-consumption utility car produced in series, and it was thanks to the earnings from sales of this small utility car that the German company found the liquidity to resume research and development of new models of cars to be launched on the market. A new Isetta version of the BMW Motorrad was planned 2007. In December 2010, the new Isetta was conceived as a reference vehicle for the BMW project called the BMW Mega City Vehicle.
The BMW 250, chassis no. 463235, is one of the last Isetta produced by the German company, which ceased production in 1962, after having sold more than 160,000 units. The BMW 250 maintains and enhances the strengths of the Italian Isetta. The four-stroke engine maintains the same top speed as the ISO of 85 km/h. Remarkable for the type of car and the time; a speed that can be maintained for long stretches. The German version also has lowerable windows and a heating system that makes it more comfortable. Externally, it is distinguished by the raised position of the headlights at the front and by the new design of the cooling grille and engine bonnet at the rear. The BMW 250, chassis no. 463235, coming from Germany, was registered in Italy in 2006 and has documents in order and up to date. Completely restored, it is in an excellent condition, painted in two-tone light green/white. All the right details and the friezes are present. The interiors in beige leatherette are perfect. The vehicle comes with many details that can only rarely be found, such as the instruction plates to insert the gears or the transparent (shaded green) sun visors. An icon of the modern imagination, loved by visionary artists and directors for its unique and futuristic appearance, a vision of an alternative future. Fun as an incredible toy. Concrete as a solid investment.
State of the Art
Completely restored. Excellent condition.
- R.m. Clarke, BMW Isetta 1953-1964, Brooklands Books, UK 1997
- Andy Schwietzer, Manfred Seehusen, BMW Isetta Ein Auto Bewegt die Welt, Bodensteiner Verlag, D 2004
- Halwart Schrader, Isetta & Co: liebenswerte Kleinigkeiten, Motorbuch Verlag, D 2014
Recently registered with Italian number plates, in order.
Giro di Sicilia. Eligible.
Targa Florio. Eligible.
Goodwood Revival. Eligible.
Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti. Eligible.
Coppa delle Alpi by 1000 Miglia. Eligible.
Winter Marathon. Eligible.
Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. Eligible.
Concorso d’eleganza Villa D’Este. Eligible.