In our report on the 65th anniversary of the BMW Isetta, we also mentioned the origins of this vehicle. BMW was looking for an inexpensive entry-level model and found it by chance at the Turin Motor Show in the form of the Iso Isetta built by the Italian industrialist Renzo Rivolta. He had originally produced refrigerators and air conditioners, but after the war he also added motorcycles and scooters to his range. Finally he recognized the growing demand for closed vehicles in Italy and had the Isetta developed as a bubble car with a scooter engine. The most famous detail of this vehicle was the huge front door with attached handlebars, which folded forward together with the door to make it easier to get in and out. In addition to the classic shape, which was eventually brought to other countries by BMW and other manufacturers under licence, there was the Isettacarro light commercial vehicle with an extended wheelbase and a wide, driven rear axle with differential in a newly developed subframe. Here, the two-stroke double-piston engine with its 9.5 hp from 236 cc of displacement moved to the center behind the passenger cell. In contrast to the later BMW Isetta, the original Iso model only had a four-speed transmission without reverse gear.
The Canadian auction house RM Sotheby’s is currently offering an Iso Isettacarro from 1957, which at the time was given a closed loading area with two doors on the right-hand side by the coachbuilder Furgone. During a restoration a little longer ago, the car was given a yellow paint job and contemporary ‘Pibigas’ lettering. The car will be available for bidding at the ‘Open Roads, The European Summer Auction’ online until 22 July. The expected hammer price is between 50,000 and 70,000 €. For those who don’t like the color yellow or the closed bodywork, there will be a second chance in October, when ‘The Elkhart Collection’ will be auctioned off by the same auction house. One of the vehicles in this collection is a blue Iso Isettacarro with an open wooden loading bay. This car was produced under licence in 1957 by Iso España in Madrid. For some years this pickup was part of Bruce Weiner’s Microcar Museum, now a new owner is being sought again. RM Sotheby’s hasn’t yet given any estimates.
Images: RM Sotheby’s, Guido Bissattini