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CLASSIC cars; Small is beautiful after all.

Iso Isetta Bubble Car

(1955-62)

IT is hard to think of the mighty BMW struggling for survival and having to enlist the help of an Italian micro-car to keep solvent.

In the economic recession of the '50s, BMW were finding it increasingly difficult to sell their luxury saloon cars and the 160,000 Isettas they produced between 1955 and 1962 might well have made all the difference.

After taking up a licence with the Italian firm Iso, BMW began producing the Bubble Car to compete with other survivors of the German aero industry Heinkel and Messerschmidt.

Powered by either a 250 or 300cc single cylinder engine, the car could return fuel consumption figures of up to 100mpg.

The two-seater car, which had four wheels for the domestic German market and three wheels for some of the export markets, had a folding roof, wraparound rear window and a front opening door with steering wheel connected.

Although production ceased in 1962, BMW went on to build other micro cars like the four-seater 600 and 700 models.

Virtually all Bubble Cars fell out of favour by the '70s and it has only been in the past few years projects like the Mercedes Smart Car have managed to convince some motorists that "small is beautiful" after all.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 4, 2000
Words:213
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