10-11 October 2013

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Lot 211

1957 BMW Isetta 300

  • Chassis no. 509090

Sold for $35,750

13 bhp, 295 cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with chain/sprocket drive, leading-arm front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and front and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 59.1 in.

  • Offered from loving ownership of 35 years
  • AACA and concours award winner
  • Matching numbers, with photo-documented restoration

With the microcar fever of the past few years, the story of the Isetta has become widely known. Italian refrigerator manufacturer Iso was the first to develop the design for an economical “rolling egg” that was ideal for the streets of post-war Europe. The design was licensed to other manufacturers, with the most prominent one being BMW, which refined the engineering, improved the build quality, and gave the car the benefit of their worldwide marketing. BMW made the Isetta not just as an economy car, but also as a fashion statement, as it offered reliable performance, a comfortable interior for two, and the famous front-opening door with its folding steering column.

The Isetta offered here is particularly desirable, as it is offered by its proud owner of 35 years. He found this car in an issue of Road & Track magazine in 1978, and in the late 1990s, he completed a beautiful restoration that utilized all original sheet metal and glass; this restoration is fully documented by accompanying photos. It is surely among the highest-quality Isettas available, as it is the desirable sliding-window model that has a fabric sunroof, and it is confirmed by its serial number plate as being an original U.S.-delivery example with the most powerful 300 engine.

Attesting to the quality of the restoration and the long-term enthusiast ownership, the Isetta has been shown four times at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, winning three of the times. It was awarded its AACA First Junior Award here at Hershey in 2012, and it was also exhibited in the microcar exhibit at the New York International Auto Show in 2011. While beautifully presented, it is no “trailer queen,” as the owner reports that it also runs and drives well. It will be delivered to its new owner complete with a selection of Isetta literature from the owner’s 35-year collection.

It goes without saying that even at the most prestigious shows, an Isetta is sure to attract attention, which is particularly true of an example such as this one, as it benefits from decades of good care, a quality restoration, and the reassurance of its previous awards at major shows. Every collection needs a microcar, and this one is ideal for the buyer seeking one of quality.

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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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


+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