Desert Car: 1958 BMW Isetta

The BMW Isetta continues to mature as a collector car, both among vintage car enthusiasts and BMW fans alike. This has led to project-grade examples or parts cars like this one popping up for sale instead of heading straight to the scrap pile. Looking quite sun-baked and devoid of parts of any significance, this Isetta listed here on craigslist for $1,500 is said to be a “…solid desert car with main(tenance?)”

You’ll note the question mark I left inserted, as the way I read the description makes me wonder if the seller is trying to infer that there’s a maintenance history of any kind to accompany this roughed-up Isetta. While it may be nice and dry thanks to its desert confines, there’s really not much left in the way of parts, or at least anything that would matter if it was at one point “maintained.”

Now, here’s where I start to pay closer attention: the corner window design and this hoop-style bar that makes an appearance in one of the photos would indicate this is a rare “bubble window” convertible, a model I just learned about while researching this one’s unusual roof design (so don’t crucify me if I’m wrong – I think that’s what this is.)

If that is indeed the case, my sentiments about how little there is to work with may begin to change, as the sheer rarity of this model would warrant its restoration. Does anyone else share my opinion about this roughshod example’s potential history? Let us know in the comments below, and whether you think it can be restored given the likelihood of obsolete parts.


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  1. Coventrycat

    Maybe those BMW fans that are finding these so interesting now are just allowing their inner Steve Urkel out.

    Like 3
  2. mike b

    So is that from the Florida Desert?

    Like 4
  3. Paul

    I have a 58 1500 for that is typical but needs everything so not sure it would cost effective

  4. Frank Staron

    insane price

    Like 1
  5. Victor

    Not too sure about this specific model/year but I had found every piece for the isetta available new a few years back when looking at the feesability of a local project car for sale. Just depends how much you want to put into it/keep original.

  6. Eric Z

    This is not a original convertible, its an Isetta 250 or 300 from 1955. This can be seen from the arrangement and shape of the side window frames.

    Like 2
    • Eric Z

      A convertible would look Like this..

      Like 4
      • The Shoog

        This is a bubble window convertible

        Like 1
  7. RedBaran66

    What a POS – more like the current owner should pay someone the $1500 to take this to the scrap heap for him. Like PT Barnum said, there’s one born every minute…

    Like 1
  8. Kenneth Carney

    Too far gone to restore, but you could
    make a great EV out of it. That’s what’s
    happening to some of these cars in
    Europe, and that makes sense to me.
    Here, you have a blank canvas to create
    something truly unique. I too agree with
    redbaron56 that the price is much too
    high for what you’ll get. For $250, I’ll
    haul it home in the back of my cousin
    Ted’s Ford F-350 pickup. Then, let the
    fun begin!

    Like 2
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Thanks Eric for your info ! One of the odd one’s that passed thru my hands just short of a Honda 750 implant. Mine went to some restorers here in Big D.

  10. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972 Member

    There’s a ’57 for sale near me in Bloomfield, CT., that’s available for anyone who wants to part with $30,000. Not running and it needs brake/fuel system work. That’s about 10X what I’d pay and it would have to be in mint condition at that. To each his own, I guess.

  11. steve

    The fact that it is sitting on some trailer that looks like the back of a lawn tractor explains a lot about the condition (or LACK of) the underside…
    Generally I purchase cars that at least have the possibility of attaching wheels….

    Like 2
  12. Nevis Beeman

    I’ve always enjoyed viewing on YouTube ‘Jacks Toy is a BMW Isetta’
    (A Petrolicious film)

    It highlights to love & appreciation a gentleman has for these cars.

  13. the one

    Slam it put in a 331 Hemi make it a street strip sleeper

    Like 1
  14. The Shoog

    Not a convertible. A deluxe bubble window with the top cut off. Worth the price for parts, (sheet metal to be used for repair panels and rare aluminum Z moldings) but a waste of time to restore.

  15. Dennis Peterson

    Something really wrong here – – first pictures show no engine cover (smooth body), then a shot with the cover missing and a gaping hole. The whole article is suspect !

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