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Hagerty Employee

3 utterly wild BMW Isetta engine swaps

Although it has Italian roots, the funky Isetta is inexorably linked to BMW. The German company produced the vast majority of the diminutive bubble cars with single cylinder 250- and 300-cc engines that produced a whopping 12 and 13 horsepower, respectively. They are certainly not the “Ultimate Driving Machine” sport sedans on which BMW later built its reputation, yet the Isetta developed a loyal following because it so well fulfilled its role as an economical city car.

 

For collectors, the Isetta offers an iconic, quirky classic that, while not cheap, does offer a different sort of value. After all, how many other cars can fit three to a parking spot without a lift?

 

If you’re a fan of the strange Italian/Bavarian microcar but need a bit more gusto than 13 horses can provide, here are three examples of Isettas that toss originality aside. Engine swaps here mean far more power, not that the bar was terribly high.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/3-utterly-wild-bmw-isetta-engine-swaps/

 

17 REPLIES 17
Passenger

You forgot Jim Lyttle's Allison V12 fighter plane powered Isetta 600.

New Driver

I remember a picture and short story in Rod & Custom in 1967 of a BMW 600 ( the stretched one with the side door) with an Allison.

New Driver

Where is Art Afrons when you need him?

Passenger

"Its two-speed trans sends power to the rear wheels by way of a belt-drive system that has polished covers just like the tiny toy original." shouldn't it be "rear wheel"?

New Driver

Ooops Arfons not Afrons

Intermediate Driver

Proving once again that not everything that Can be done Should be done.

Intermediate Driver

Contrary to popular belief, the Isetta in the US had two rear wheels, with a narrower track than the two front.  The UK version had one rear wheel, with no reverse gear.  That way it could be registered as a motorcycle, and not a car.

New Driver

Growing up in the 60s our young church paster returned from his tour of duty (as a military chaplain) in Germany,  accompanied by his yyoung beautiful German wife, along with their imported Isetta  car. He always squeezed it into a half space in front of the church.  Young vibrant couple with an attention getting vehicle. Cream and pastel green colors. When they had a baby they traded in the Isetta for a VW bug! Perfect sense!

Passenger

A Mercedes mechanic here in Cumming  GA built a rather stock looking Isetta, powered by a rotary Wankel engine, quite an upgrade. I believe there is a U-tube video.