Built in 1953, this is by far the strangest vehicle BMW has ever produced, not just within the company, but in the history of automobiles—ever! Before BMW acquired MINI in 1992, this tiny egg-shaped car was built to meet new demand for a simple, affordable, and conveniently-sized vehicle in Europe during the post-war recovery phase. Let Edmonton BMW take you back to a time when the company setta new standard for uniquely designed-models, and created an eccentric vehicle fit for an Urkel.
A history lesson as tiny as the car
The BMW Isetta was designed and developed by an Italian company named Iso, famous for making scooters and refrigerators. It would only make sense that such a company would create a vehicle that also looked like the combination of a scooter and a refrigerator. Iso eventually sold the rights and tooling to BMW, after German ruling allowed for people to drive tiny cars with only a motorcycle driver’s license. Needless to say, its compact design was definitely a product of its time and resulted in its popularity in 1950s Europe.
Open (Door) Concept Design
It’s not every day you find a vehicle with a door as its windshield. One of the most unique features of the BMW Isetta is its refrigerator door that opens at the front of the vehicle, and it only gets weirder from there. The steering column on this Dr. Seuss-esque car is also attached to the door/windshield and it folds in and out when you open the door—in other words, the folding column helps you get in the car, should your tall, or even average, shins allow you to go that far.
Want an even bigger challenge? Have someone come along with you for the ride! If you successfully managed to have someone sitting on the passenger side, you’ll be squeezed together tighter than a can full of extra-large sardines. And at this point, we think it’s clear we can forget about cargo space—because in the BMW Isetta, you are the cargo.
While BMW prides itself in performance and engineering, the Isetta proves that it has a lot more style than it does spark. This fridge-scooter subcompact comes with a 300cc engine that produces up to 15 horsepower and has a top speed of 80 km/h. If you ever have the desire to drive the Isetta up hills, then get ready for the best backwards roller coaster ride of your life. The Isetta also weighs up to 770 pounds, and is 2 feet shorter than the smallest SmartCar model, making it only the second smallest compact car in the market next to its American cousin: the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.
From all of us at Edmonton BMW, we hope you enjoyed this fun look back at one of the most obscure BMW models ever created as much as we did.