Model: Isetta Coupe
Origin: Milan, Italy
Production: 1953 – 1956 | 1,000
Engine: 236cc Split-Single Two-Stroke Motorcycle Engine
In the 1950s, the company Iso SpA was building refrigerators, motor scooters and small three-wheeled trucks. By 1952, Italian designers had designed a small car using a motorcycle engine of the Iso Moto 200 and named it Isetta, an Italian diminutive meaning little ISO.
The cars were quite the talk of the town as they debuted in Turin in 1953, as consumers had never seen anything like it before. Due to its egg shape and bubble-like windows, the vehicle became known as the “bubble car.” In the event of a crash, the driver and passenger were expected to exit through the canvas sunroof. The steering wheel and instrument panel swung out with the single door. The engine was started by a dual-purpose generator-starter known as Dynastart. The Isetta took over 30 seconds to reach 30 mph and its top speed was only about 45 mph.
After creating about 1,000 vehicles, the production of the little Italian built cars ceased in 1955. Additional models from Spain have possibly been made until 1958. BMW built about 10,000 units when they purchased the license in 1955 and went on to build a total of 161,000 units.