Big Bubble: 1959 BMW 600

When your regular Isetta isn’t quite big enough to haul around your family, here’s a 1959 BMW 600. This car is based on the Isetta, and while still tiny, it is about two feet longer than the “normal” Isetta. This one is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $2,700 and heavy bidding. There is no reserve and you have two days left to get your bids in and then figure out how to get it home from Cumberland, Rhode Island.

The BMW 600 was the “biggest” bubble car offered by the fine folks in Munich and believe it or not, the next in line after this car ended production was the svelte and actual-car-like BMW 700! The 600 weighed around 1,100 pounds soaking wet and you may have guessed that some shenanigans can occur with such a relatively light car and those huge “handles” / bumpers on the rear. Can you say college prank?

The BMW 600 was made for three short years, ending in 1959. Speaking of short, the BMW 600, at 9′-6″ long, was over nine feet shorter than a 1959 Cadillac was! And, that always comes up when a microcar shows its head here. Hopefully we all know that these cars weren’t meant to do freeway duty next to the huge V8 American cars of the era. They were made to be easy to drive and park city cars, or a second car. The “limo”, or 600, still has the front-opening door to allow access to the front seat like the Isetta has, but it also has a side door for access into the rear seat.

You can see that this car apparently was blue at some point, possibly from the factory. Resale-red has reared its ugly head here. You’ve already noticed just how rough this car is. Parts of it look like they’re in decent condition but wow, this will be a big project. Or, an intensive one, it’ll never be a “big” project. This one should have had a 582 CC flat-twin engine and the seller says that it’s missing parts, but the block is complete. These cars in restored condition can easily top $30,000-$40,000 so there could be some room here if the next owner can track down enough parts to complete this one. Is this “big bubble” too much work or is it worth restoring? Have any of you owned a 600 or an Isetta?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Mike Young

    In 1969 I made a great dune buggy out of my nice, original yellow 600. It was the first year the San Francisco police debuted their Helicopter fleet. So, of course, they chased me off the beach. Good times (the poor car never was reassembled)…. That smooth little 600cc twin is far above the little Isetta. Maybe one could install an R100 motor ? (1000cc)…

  2. Sam

    Swap in an early “60’s VW bug or Porsche aircooled engine/trans. Add some wheelie bars and have fun!

  3. vadimivanovich

    Having an Isetta 300, Isetta 600, and BMW 700, my favorite is the 600. All of the cute-factor of the 300 with the added room, power (okay, relatively), and driveability of the 700. Bring this one back and smile every mile!

  4. Bill McCoskey

    Used to do a lot of work to a 600 limo in my area, the biggest problem these cars have is a very fragile stick shift setup, and as far as I know, no one has come up with an improved shifter, and it’s 600 only.

    The one I used to work on was very peppy compared to most microcars, even with 2 people. It was faster than my 2 cylinder NSU Sport Prinz fastback. However if the car had to transport 3 or 4 adults, in that situation it was bog slow! The weight difference between the 2 passenger Isetta and the 600 was not very much, but the engine was to double in size, from 247cc, later 300cc, to the 600 with 582cc.

    I lived in Germany in the early 1970s. BMW ads in Germany showed a family with 2 or 3 little kids riding in the car, never saw an advert showing 4 adults in a 600!

    I found a local BMW dealer outside Heidelberg who had a sea of Isettas, 600s and 700s in the back lot, and I could have had my pick of any RUNNING BMW microcar for 100 DM, about $35. Yes, $35. No one wanted them, and scrap value was about $10.

    Just one more reason I claim time travel is impossible. With the values of microcars and VW Sambas today, if time travel was possible, someone would have gone back & bought up these cars, & stuck them away!

  5. Kevin

    Bill, time travel is possible, the UK travels back in time 60 years today.

    • Mike C

      … and we start the EU Brexit at long last. Negotiations may not even conclude at the rate other EU member citizens are voicing their opposition to the EU bureaucratic madness. There may be nothing to leave !

  6. Dan

    Sold for $5850.

  7. Urquiola

    A member of German Wankel club http://www.hercules-wankel-ig.de installed in an Isetta a Sachs KM-914 Wankel RCE, 20 HP, 303 cc per chamber, charge cooled rotor, air cooled housing 5% oil in gas mix, these engines work better with gasohol 10%

  8. Urquiola

    When I received this Barnfind warning, the Isetta was already sold in $5’500

  9. Bajaboy

    When I was thirteen in 1960, the very similar Fiat 600 Multipla and the ’60 Edsel were my dream cars. Why? Because the NADA used car guide said they had almost no resale value, so I could afford a current model car for a few hundred dollars, assuming I could get a hold of a few hundred dollars more than I had.

  10. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this big bubble sold for $5,850.

    Like 1

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