Finding its big six- and eight cylinder luxury cars difficult to sell in the mid 1950s, BMW was looking to build something at the other end of the scale that had more mass appeal. It took up a license with the firm of Iso in italy to build its tiny Isetta ‘bubble’ cars in 1955. often considered extremely bizarre in the 80s and early 90s, the bubble car was originally as quite futuristic, although it was a moot point as to how seriously taken in many areas. Interestingly, as the roads get increasingly crowded, the ideas that shaped the bubble car seem to be coming back into fashion with the general public at large. Extremely small and compact no longer seems quite so silly. In italy, the concept of a tiny motorcycle engined two seater had found little favor, but it Germany the vehicle was a popular choice, and competed head ion with the Heinkel and Messerschmitt ‘bubble car’. In its original form the car had a folding roof, a wrap around rear window and small rectangular front side windows, but on all versions the driver and passenger entered through a front opening door that brought the steering wheel with it as it opened.
For the home market all Isettas had four wheels, but some export versions were three wheelers to take advantage of lower tax rates. BMW’s own single cylinder engine provided the power in either 247 cc or 297 cc form, neither of which could quite take the Isetta inspired more grown up BMW mini cars such as the four seater 600 and the handsome little 700.