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Mileage: 16,958 Miles (TMU)
Engine: 300cc Single-Cylinder Engine
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Red Exterior
Interior: Plaid Interior
Sliding Side Windows
Hagerty Grade 4 Condition
Colorado / Nebraska Isetta
In the early 1950s, Italian refrigerator and motorcycle builder IsoSpa put its 236cc ISO Moto 200 engine in a tiny car they called the Isetta (little Iso). After quickly realizing that a true three-wheeler was a terrible idea, the production models featured four wheels with the rears spaced closely together to simplify the need for a rear differential. The Isetta became extremely popular due to its small size, charming appearance, excellent fuel economy, and mechanical simplicity. In 1954, a trio of Isettas dominated the podium of the economy class of the Mille Miglia cementing its motorsport legacy. The Isetta was built under license from many manufacturers, but one of the best was BMW. BMW took the Isetta and transformed it, first with a 250cc four-stroke engine from the BMW R25/3 and then with a 300cc engine released in 1956 that they called BMW Isetta 300. The Isetta Moto Coupe DeLux added sliding side windows and a canvas sunroof to improve cooling. The BMW Isetta has become one of the most delightful micro cars of the mid-twentieth century.
We found this 1957 BMW Isetta 300 Moto Coupe DeLuxe in the garage of one of our neighbors—of all places! Finished in full red with a refurbished plaid interior, it is a rare example that is a largely rust-free running and driving Isetta, at an attainable price point. Documentation on it is sparse, other than a clean Colorado title, the VIN badge, and a Rocky Mountain Isetta Club sticker. The cosmetic condition is presentable, but definitely not perfect. We would describe it as a Hagerty Grade 4, which in a word is “fair.” Its mechanical condition is similar; it starts every time and runs nicely, but it does have moderate oil leaks and needs brake and suspension work. Luckily, parts are relatively available and its design is inherently simple. It would be a great candidate to sort a little and enjoy as it is, or restore to concours condition. We have priced it accordingly and look forward to seeing what the next owner does with it!
The Red paint is in fair condition, being an older repaint. It is presentable, but there are lots of small dings, chips, and cracks throughout the finish. There is also evidence of overspray on some of the rubber. The canvas sunroof is in good shape. It appears to be rust-free with the exception of the battery box (there are lift pictures on our website if you are reading this elsewhere). The VIN plate is intact. The chrome bumpers are in good shape, but the left rear portion where it connects to the body is missing a trim ring. There is a crease where the bumper connects the rear quarter panels on both sides. There are also what appear to be holes for bumperettes or something else on the rear bumper. The front bumper has a small vertical crease on the right hand side. All glass is crack-free, with the front glass having minor pitting. Both the front and rear window trim is shrunken, which results in a small gap at the bottom of the glass. The headlights, front indicators, and indicator lights are crack-free. The left indicator light is slightly more orange than the right. The brake light has a cracked lens. The wheels do not have hubcaps, and the right front hub has a broken wheel stud. The tires appear to be older, but have good tread remaining and no dry rot.
The interior is in better nick than the exterior. It appears to have been refinished at some point with black, white, and red plaid trim. There is no headliner, but the underside of the canvas sunroof is in good shape. The steering wheel is wrapped in red leather, and appears to have red overspray on the spokes. The speedometer works, as do the turn signals, headlights, and wiper. The turn signal indicator bulb is INOP and the wiper arm has no blade. The horn has been relocated with an aftermarket switch, but it looks correct. There is lots of shoddy wiring around the cluster that could be easily cleaned up. The heat works, not that you’ll need it with the greenhouse effect! The seat appears to have been recovered in red vinyl with white piping and is in good shape. The black floor and rear shelf carpet is also in good shape. It comes with two keys, but no owners’ manuals.
This Isetta 300 runs and drives, but will need some work to be made safe for on-road operation. It’s been great to put-put around the airport in. There is a moderate oil leak from the bell housing and we haven not determined the source. There are other areas of seepage and weeps on the gearbox and rear axle. The clutch hydraulics could stand to be refreshed, or bled at the very least. The brakes should also be flushed and refreshed; the right front caliper is very weak which causes it to pull to the left under hard braking. The suspension is also soft, with the right front being the worse—it lists slightly to starboard when at rest. The right front wheel has a broken wheel stud. As it sits, this is a great entry level BMW Isetta 300. You can spend a few weekends and address its mechanical issues, or restore it comprehensively. We would like to see it go to a good home and look forward to seeing what happens to it.