Monaco

11 - 12 May 2012

Lot 304

1956 BMW Isetta 300

To be auctioned on Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sold for €21.280

  • Chassis no. 604264
  • Engine no. 604264


13 bhp, 298 cc air-cooled OHV 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 four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 1,501 mm (59.1")

• Beautiful example of the legendary microcar that saved BMW
• Restored in 2010 to original colours and specifications; only 724 km since completion
• Fitted with rear luggage carrier and leather suitcase

The Isetta was a vehicle born of necessity and is often regarded as the car that saved BMW. Faced with declining motorcycle sales, the burgeoning middle class in its home market and the political events of the 1950s leading to oil shortages in Europe, the microcar craze was ripe for success, and a car that BMW desperately needed. As the motorcycle market declined, BMW began moving toward high-volume car production.

For the second time in its history, BMW built a vehicle under licence as a means of getting into production quickly. The two-seat vehicle with tubular chassis and unique front opening door became known as “das rollende Ei”–the rolling egg. BMW approached the owner of the Italian company Iso and its designer/owner Count Rivolta with the idea of purchasing the rights to build the car. Rivolta sold not only the production rights to the Iso but much of the body tooling as well.

Débuting at the 1955 Frankfurt Auto Show, BMW fitted the car with its own 12 horsepower 247 cc four-stroke engine, later upsizing it to 298 cc and adding one additional horsepower. The light body, in combination with the motorcycle engine, offered efficient fuel consumption along with a mere DM 2,580 purchase price, just 500 more than an R25 motorcycle, which it shared its engine. Between 1955 and 1962, BMW produced 161,728 Isetta 250 and 300 models (including 31,700 in 1956), making it BMW’s best-selling model to date.

This well-presented Isetta was restored in 2010. The car was completed to original specifications, including the body, mechanics and period-correct colour combination. The car has been driven just 721 kilometres since restoration, and it is believed that its odometer reading of 57,924 km is the correct mileage from new. Additionally, it has been fitted with a rear luggage carrier, complete with a 1950s-era leather suitcase to be included with the sale. No collection is complete without a delightful Isetta!

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

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

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Political Science. ... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

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+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

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United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

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Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more