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Bubble Time! 1961 Isetta No Reserve

'61 Isetta

Today we have another project that the seller won’t be completing, so it’s is time to sell. This 1961 Isetta 300 is sitting in Anstey, Leicestershire, UK and is listed here on eBay at no reserve. At the time of writing there were 26 bids with the high bid of 4,100 Pounds Sterling.

'61 Isetta engine

The seller states that this is “quite a solid shell”. We don’t know if the 300cc engine spins or when the last time it ran. One plus of an engine this small is that you could put it on the coffee table and rebuild it a day or two.

'61 Isetta door open

It appears the door operates and the glass is in place except for the rear windscreen. The top needs some attention also. Since Isettas have a small footprint it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to work on it! You could probably even fit it in the shed.

'61 Isetta rear

The seller has a V5C and a ***UYO number plate for this Isetta. Do you want a micro-car project? When was the last time you saw one of these offered without a reserve? The seller is offering delivery (local) paid by the buyer at a 2 Pounds per mile one-way charge. At this point it appears that the micro-car bubble is still expanding, so this maybe a good buy for someone that is on the sidelines.




    I never understood the attraction to these things.

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  2. John b

    The engine is not as simple to rebuild in a “day or two” as you may think…

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  3. Charles

    From the pictures this looks like the three wheeled version made specifically for Great Britain because it can be licensed as a motor scooter or cycle. This looks like a decent example.

    As a child in Colorado my parents had two different four wheel Isetta 300’s and a BMW 600 that uses the a front door like an Isetta, but has a two cylinder 600 cc engine, a side door, and a second seat. Those little cars go well in the snow. This was in the late 50’s and early 60’s when 4×4’s were not common.

    At age 14 living in Central Florida, I bought an Isetta 300 for $50.00. It had a perfect body in red. My uncle, dad, and I rebuilt the one cylinder engine and got the car running. We played with the car some, but when I turned 16 I wanted something with a V8, so the little car was sold.

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  4. RON

    I have always had a fascination and desire for one of these since a kid. I knew nothing about them mechanically but figured them to be nthng much more tan a big closed motorcycle or Cushman Scooter. I remember there were 3 Brothers in Mobile Al. that were big Used car Dealers and had a New Car Franchise for these and were I believe the first Renault 4-CV and Dauphine Dealers. They populated the city pretty heavily with both little cars. They were used a lot for Pharmacy Delivery and women liked them and ids lied them even though gas was 25-29 cents a gallon.. With an afternoon job and Saturday job, you could have a pretty good social weekend. Sadly never had any of these cars, but managed ok with the job I had and the old Flathead Fords and one cool 50 Dodge Wayfarer Convertible.

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  5. Glenn

    Yes Charles, the motorcycle licensing meant it was much cheaper to pay the annual taxes due. If I remember right it also meant it could legally be driven a year before the same driver would be eligible to drive a proper car.
    When restored, this car will be worth double the price of my rare 1962 Ford Consul Capri in this attached picture! Sad but true!
    Believe it or not when these cars are restored they fetch about £20,000 UK Pounds ( about $30,000 US Dollars ) . Even a fairly poor restoration project like this one will probably fetch £8,000 on Ebay.

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    • Charles

      Glenn, I like the looks of your 62 Ford! I have never seen one before and if you had not said what it is, I would never have been able to guess. That’s a sporty looking ride!

      Who would have guessed that Micro cars would be so popular today. In the late 1950’s there was a Buick dealer in the western US that offered a Free Isetta with the purchase of a new full sized Buick. It seems that they became an Isetta dealer and when the little cars did not sell well, they assumed that they would be stuck with old inventory.

      I believe that my dad paid $775.00 US for his first new 1957 Isetta 300. I don’t have first hand knowledge, because I was only a year old, but remember him talking about it.

      We were sad to see the closing of Bruce Weiner’s Micro Car Museum in Madison GA. a few years back. The facility was about 120 miles from our home, and on the way to visit some of our grandchildren. That is the collection that was auctioned off one car at a time for unreal amounts of money. I actually thought about buying another Isetta until I saw the prices those cars were bringing.

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  6. Glenn

    WOW, a lot of fabulous little cars there! Pity the place closed down.
    My Consul Capri used to be owned by a French burleque dancer called Mademoiselle Pussycat. She had the original 1500cc Ford engine replaced with a 5700cc Chevy V8. Quite a lady and quite a car. Approx 19,000 made at Dagenham, England between 1961 and 1964 when Ford discontinued them due to poor sales.. Yet, the bottom line is that it’s only worth half the amount of the bubble car.

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  7. Mark W

    Is this Charles from Mass. that collects micro cars? If so, have you moved south? Mark Wilson Asheville NC

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    • Charles

      No Mark, not that Charles. We are 70 miles west of you near Cherokee.

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  8. Mark W

    Charles,I have micro cars and always looking for others of like_mind. If you want to contact:markandjenwilson@gmail.com

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  9. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Note that this Isetta, as it’s from the UK, is actually a right hand drive version. Most people don’t realize that BMW made both RHD and LHD versions. You can tell because the door is hinged [looking at the car from the rear perspective] on the right, and the steering wheel is also on the right.

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