BMW Isetta 300
Part 1: The Dirty Work Stage of Car Restoration
This is one of the coolest projects we have had come through our doors and we were very excited about the opportunity to restore this classic. The car was brought to us in pieces and had been previously modified with a Honda 600 drive train. The rear firewall was nonexistent; it had been cut out to clear the new engine. The rear wheel arches had also been cut to clear larger tires. Luckily we just happened to have another BMW Isetta 300 in the shop we could grab the panels off of.
The body was a real mess and looked like it might not be salvageable, but Hank Van Gaale from SLO Works did an excellent job of fabricating all of the panels and repairing the body back to its original condition. SLO Works is located right next door to us and is a full fabrication/machine shop that does all of our custom fabrication as well as extensive body work. We are very lucky to have a shop like this located right next door!
The BMW Isetta was originally designed and built by a refrigerator company and was very successful in Europe after the World War II. It was in fact built by many different manufacturers, the most famous being BMW. The Isetta provided cheap, simple transportation for people at a time when they needed it the most. The Isetta is even credited with saving BMW during a period of financial difficulties after the war. These cars are now very rare collector’s items and have been known to bring $40,000+ at auction.
Part 2: Putting the Car Back Together
This is the part we all love here at the shop, seeing all of our hard work and effort come together is very rewarding. The car came together very quickly and we were eager to get it back on the road after many years of neglect.
Part 3: The Finished Product
The BMW Isetta 300 Restoration project was complete and back on its way to a new home in Bakersfield, California. This was one of the coolest projects we have got our hands on in some time and to see the finished product is just awesome.
It is hard to imagine that this was no more that a pile of parts when it came in and is now a show-quality BMW Isetta. These little cars are a blast to drive and get more attention than any car I have ever driven. They are very stable on the road and cruise along just fine for around town driving.
With a top speed of about 45-mph, freeway driving is out of the question. Getting used to shifting with your left arm in a reverse-H pattern does take some time to get used to but it adds to the fun and quirkiness of the vehicle. The BMW Isetta 300 is definitely on our wish list of cars to own.
If you have any questions about this car or any other classic car restoration projects we have in the shop, we would love to hear from you. Make sure to visit our British Sports Cars Blog to get the most recent updates on what's going on in and around the shop, and to see all the photos from this project.