Westrand Car Show - BMW Isetta

BMW Isetta

The Isetta was an Italian designed Microcar. It was built under license in several countries around the world including Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France, Belgium, United Kingdom and Germany.

The Isetta was designed and built by Renzo Rivolta. Rivolta was the owner of a company called ISO spA. Iso spA built refrigerators, motor scooters and three-wheel trucks. The egg shaped Isetta ran on 258cc engine of an Iso Moto 200.

Westrand Car Show - BMW Isetta door open

As you can see the steering column is hinged near the bottom and it tilts forward as the door is opened. Note the chrome grab handle , the indicators on the side of the car and the sliding windows.

BMW bought a license and the entire body tooling set up as well. They completely redesigned the Isetta, using a single cylinder 247cc four stroke engine that produced 10Kw or 12hp. 247cc is less than a conventional cup of coffee. Entry to the car was through the front door. As you opened the door, the steering column, which was hinged near the base tilted forward and away from the seat. This allowed easy access to the driver.

Westrand Car Show - BMW Isetta 300

The small 250 cc engine is built into the side of the car, you can see the air slats midway down the side. Note he narrow wheel base at the rear, the baggage rack and the fuel filler cap just below the window. The fuel tank took 14 litres . You could do around 450 km for around R 200

They say it’s a two-passenger car, but really, you would have to be fairly thin to seat two. There would be no chance to take “La Mamma” for a Sunday drive in this bubble car.  To escape from the car if one is involved in an accident, one climbs through the canvas roof!

BMW added the fourth wheel to the Isetta for added stability.  Production started 1955.  It became the worlds first mass production car to achieve a fuel consumption of 3 litres/100 km or 94 mpg. It was also the top selling single cylinder car in the world and BMW sold over 161, 000 units of the Isetta.

Westrand Car Show - 1959 BMW Isetta 600

The Isetta 600 was now a three door four seater with a wider rear wheel span, with the fuel filler cap to the side and indicators in their right place.

The Isetta went through several improvements and increases in engine capacity until the last version – the Isetta 600 – was made. It was not very successful and production ceased in May 1962. The biggest competition to the BMW Isetta came from Fiat’s 500 and the entry level Volkswagen Beetle.

Rib en Bief Burger Stalletjie Poeding en Koek

As with all the stories on this website, only a fraction of the history is recorded. If you wish to further study the history of the Isetta Wikipedia’s article would be a good starting place. This page may open slowly so please be patient.

Any car built in 1999 or older qualifies to be entered in the Westrand Car Show –

The Westrand Car Show is a Classic Car Show. TO QUALIFY FOR ENTRANCE TO A COMPETITIVE CLASS, VEHICLES MUST HAVE BEEN BUILT OR REGISTERED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1999 OR EARLIER. Only the first 180 QUALIFYING vehicles will receive a commemorative medallion. Any newer vehicle is welcome to be entered as a “non-competitive vehicle” and to be placed on show just because of “the spirit of motoring” and the desire to share the joy that your wheels bring you, with all of the rest of us. See the list of classes below and the entrance form. Remember its a fun day, so don’t take it too seriously.

Non-Competitive vehicles may enter at the gate on the day.

The Westrand Car Show is an alcohol-free event and any person found to have in their possession or to be consuming alcohol will not be admitted and/or will be asked to leave the premises of Dr. Havinga School. 


Die Westrand Car Show is ‘n klassieke motorskou. OM TE KWALIFISEER VIR TOEGANG TOT ‘N KOMPETERENDE KLAS, MOET VOERTUIE VIR DIE EERSTE KEER IN 1999 OF VROEËR GEBOU OF GEREGISTREER WORD. Slegs die eerste 180 KWALIFISERENDE voertuie sal ‘n gedenkmedalje ontvang. Enige nuwer voertuig is welkom om as ‘n “nie-mededingende voertuig” ingeskryf te word, en dit net te danke aan” die gees van motor” en die begeerte om die vreugde wat u wiele vir u bring, saam met ons almal te deel. Kyk na die lys van klasse hieronder en die ingangsvorm. Onthou, dis ‘n pret dag moenie dit te ernstig opneem.

Nie-mededingende voertuie mag op die dag by die hek inteken.

Die Westrand Car Show is ‘n alkoholvrye gebeurtenis, en enige persoon wat bevind is dat hy in besit is en/of alkohol inneem, sal nie toegelaat word nie en/of gevra sal word om die perseel van die Dr. Havinga skool te verlaat.

Competition Classes Enter Your Vehicle

IMAGE ATTRIBUTION – Click on the links below for full screen images
BMW Isetta – featured image – nakhon100 [CC BY 2.0]
BMW Isetta door open – Draco2008 from UK [CC BY 2.0]
BMW Isetta 300 – Gerhard Giebener [CC BY 2.0]
1959 BMW Isetta 600 – Greg Gjerdingen from Willmar, USA [CC BY 2.0]