Abandoned BMW Isetta Revives, Reaching 45 MPH After 40 Years


Although originally designed and built by Iso, BMW made its own “Little Iso” Isetta after obtaining a license from the Italian automaker. It was a success, especially with a touted fuel efficiency of 78 miles per gallon in the US. So much so that BMW built more than 160,000 original bubble cars from 1955 to 1962.

Recover on YouTube found one example left in the woods. This is a 1959 Isetta 300, an example of the Isetta Moto Coupe DeLuxe with sliding windows, meaning that the ancestor of the Microlino EV is more than 60 years old. However, it is estimated that this rusty Isetta has been around for more than 40 years.

As expected, the Isetta 300 here is in pretty rough shape. With decades of being trapped among the vegetation, some parts of the microcar are already rusty. The exposed roof certainly doesn’t help the case with all the outside elements coming in and consequently destroying what’s left of the cabin.

People from Recover first tried starting the engine, to see if any life came from the 13-horsepower 298cc engine. It was a lengthy process, involving cleaning and wiring. Finally, they managed to start the engine.

After a number of inspections and replacements, including a new set of 10-inch white wall tires, the Isetta revived and was back on the road. The whole process takes two days. The first destination is a car wash where the microcar receives a quick shower.

Then, the men checked the maximum speed Isetta could reach in her current state of being revived. It was capable of reaching 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour), which exceeds the minimum highway speed limits in some states. Hooray for micro cars, and we think we’ll see more of these restoration projects in the future.


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