The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 584

1959 BMW Isetta "Whatta Drag"

  • ID No. BOS

Sold for $92,000


A one-of-a-kind, fully functioning, 730 horsepower creation of Hot Wheels’ famed model.

1959 BMW Isetta “Whatta Drag”



SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturers: (Body) Bayerische Motoren Werke

Origin: Munich, Germany

Production: 1

Motor: Supercharged Chevrolet V-8

Displacement: 502 cu. in.

Power: est. 730 hp

Length: 12 ft. 4 in.

Identification No. N/A



The Hot Wheels brand of die-cast toy cars was first introduced by American toy manufacturer Mattel in 1968. Over the ensuing years, Hot Wheels licensed the rights to produce a number of faithful replicas of real cars, and they also created a number of fantasy pieces. One of these models was called Whatta Drag. Designed by Phil Riehlman and first introduced in 1998, Whatta Drag is perhaps the most recognizable of them all. The concept was based on a heavily-modified BMW Isetta bubble car that retains its identity as an Isetta while taking on that of a V-8 powered dragster. So successful was the design that it was included as part of seven different Hot Wheels series that would be produced over the next decade.



So iconic was the fantasy piece that in 2005, microcar collector Bruce Weiner decided to turn it into reality by commissioning a life-sized, fully-functioning version. Given the choice of creating his own amalgamation or replicating one of the seven different versions, Weiner chose Model Number 213, which was introduced in 2000. Number 213 is the most detailed of all the Whatta Drag models, finished in bright orange with a large Hot Wheels decal on top of the spoiler and utilizing chromed five-spoke wheels.



Using the toy model as a blueprint, the basis of the project utilized the body shell from an original 1959 BMW Isetta. A new, sturdy frame was constructed using heavy welded steel tubing. Power is provided by a 502-cubic inch Chevrolet “big block” crate engine, which guzzles 93 octane fuel and is equipped with a BDS supercharger, twin Holley 750 CFM double pumper carburetors, and Zoomies exhaust headers rigged to shoot flames four feet out of the pipes!



Power is transmitted via a two-speed manual transmission, and the dual circuit disc brake system also incorporates an AP balance bar for burnouts and donuts. In keeping with its BMW roots, the suspension is from an M3; the chromed five-spoke front tires use the BMW roundel logo and are shod with B.F. Goodrich G-Force tires. The single rear wheel is a custom 18 inch by13 inch drag racing wheel with a Sumitomo HTRZ II tire.



Mr. Weiner wanted the life-sized Whatta Drag to emulate the toy as much as possible, so many small details found on the model, like the polished belt covers and tubular lattice for the spoiler, are exactly replicated. Even the steering column was designed in such a way to pay homage to its Isetta parentage while also taking safety and ease of entry into account, including the incorporation of a quick-release racing steering wheel hub.



Although Whatta Drag was created to be faithful to the model as well as fully functional, it is important to emphasize that this car is strictly for show and not to be used for road or track; the massive amount of torque produced by the Chevrolet 502 motor can be dangerous if driven improperly. As a showpiece, it is totally unique, one of only four Hot Wheels models to have been built into a real car, and it is a must-have example for any all-inclusive microcar collection.

Addendum

Please note that this vehicle is offered on a bill of sale only.

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

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 911. Barney l... 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. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... 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

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+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

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

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

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

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. ... 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