The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 293

1956 BMW Isetta 300 'Bubble Window' (Z Molding)

  • ID No. 494153

Sold for $37,375

A highly desirable two-tone example with Z molding and bubble windows.


Manufacturer: Bayerische Motoren Werke

Origin: Munich, Germany

Production: 161,360

Motor: BMW 4-stroke

Displacement: 297 cc

Power: 13 hp

Length: 7 ft. 6 in.

Identification No. 494153

When BMW undertook the manufacturing of Renzo Rivolta’s Isetta in 1955, the firm incorporated some changes. The drivetrain was redesigned to use their 247-cubic centimeter four-cycle motorcycle engine. The gearbox output was coupled to a shaft through a rubber universal joint, which led, through another rubber joint, to the chain case. Inside were double drive chains running in oil to the solid rear axle. This arrangement made the whole power unit much quieter and reduced vibration. In fact, so much of the car was re-engineered that no earlier Iso parts were used, nor were they interchangeable.

The front suspension was also reconfigured to a swing arm arrangement. Changes to the body included raising the headlights above the fenders so that they attached directly to the body. In 1956, the engine displacement was increased to 297 cubic centimeters and compression was raised to achieve 13 horsepower. Although top speed did not increase from 85 km/h (53 mph), there was a marked increase in much-welcome torque, which helped on hills. More than 161,000 Isettas were built through 1962, along with some 34,000 BMW 600s, an elongated, four-passenger version with a flat-twin engine and a conventional rear axle.

This rare example of a surviving European bubble window Isetta has the highly desirable “Z mold trim” and two-tone paint. Very attractive in red and white, it has beige upholstery and a black fabric sunroof. Very well detailed, it is an excellent example of the popular European microcar.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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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

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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

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

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

Don Rose

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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

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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

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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

Jake Auerbach

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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

Kurt Forry

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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

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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

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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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

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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

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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

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Ontario, Canada

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

Shelby Myers

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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

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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