8 comments on “I Didn’t Mean to Buy a BMW Isetta

  1. Nicely done Rick. I was pleased when you said you had bought it. I thought it was perfect. I don’t know a bigger “car nut” than you! See you at the next reunion!

  2. Nice article, Rick. Many years ago, a customer brought two Isettas to my foreign car repair shop in Ann Arbor. Neither one ran, and he asked me to put them together to get one running. He really wanted to get one running because his driveway was six feet long, and the car fit. I did it just to see what it was like to drive one. Considering how unstable they are at 45 mph, I’m not sure it was worth it.

    But the following story made it all worth while. When I got the car finished, I took it out for a test ride. I came back laughing, and told my business partner he had to drive it. Well, the battery is right under the driver. He weighed just enough more than I that the seat spring dead shorted across the battery, which then got hot enough to catch the seat padding on fire. Dave’s pants got distinctly hot before the seat melted through. I had to unbolt the seat as quickly as I could, which by then had a large hole in it. Fortunately, the other Isetta had a good seat, so I just switched them. This time, I insulated the battery.

    Somewhere in my files, I have a piece of paper with a cut-and-fold Isetta . It makes a 3-D model about 4″ or so for your desk. If I can find it, would you like a copy, and how can I get it to you?

    Steve

  3. About, 1963, a friend of mine, Brian Orsetti’s dad, had puirchased 3 of these at an auction house..except, these had a 600 CC motor, with ‘fold back’ top, and us, being ‘teenagers’, with “lotsa hormones’, and little sense, drove one from Vancouver BC Canada, to Barkerville ‘Ghost town”..about 300 miles, and then on the way back, one of the rubber CVC joints..broke, and because those CVCs were so primitive, they only had the bolts mounted in the rubber ring..at different angles for the ‘exit’ drive, and the axle, so ..basically, we were in Limbo! I remember coming through the mountain passes, on the way up, while my buddy Brian Orsetti drove, and I stood on the passenger seat, and put my elbows on the top of the fold back convertible roof, and life was great..at 55MPH! A ‘mechanic’ at a ‘service spot’ tried to make a replacement using ‘belting’ from his shop, but after 100 miles we were done, and finally brought it home to the coast, on a truck his dad had in storage a 1947 Merc 3/4 ton pu, that we had already loaded with lumber, and had to tow through the Fraser Canyon, with a similar ’47 tow tuck, a one ton..so the Isetta, was atop, a 1947 3/4 ton PU, filled with lumber to the top of the pu box,and the Isetta, was on top of that!! We made it home, and only then figured out that his dad could have sent us another CVC off of one of the others there!!
    One of my many stories
    from my past!
    Cheers
    Syd

  4. I’m a 74′ graduate from Canoga and I too remember Mr. Hodgens cruising it at football games. It is nice to know that to you – it’s not just another car but a memory of times spent less hectic.

    • I am a 1975 graduate of Canoga Park HS. What great memories. Mr. Hodges and the Isetta are both gems. So happy to have read this story. Thank you for posting.

  5. That story about the springs on the seat frame shorting out the battery, is a fairly common one and explains why original seats are quite scarce. this happened more than you would guess and still happens today to restored cars if the battery cover or an insulator is not installed.
    The 600cc Isetta is not really an Isetta at all, despite the fact that it shared the unusual front entry door. It was called the BMW 600, and it had a single back door to access the rear seat.
    Chas

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