Live Auctions

Drop Top Isetta Project

BMW Isetta Cabriolet

We haven’t featured too many Isettas over the years because the prices always seem too big for such a small car. Well, Robert R. sent over a link to a pair of projects and the first one caught my eye because it has a rag top! I honestly didn’t know that BMW even built a convertible version of their cheap little runabout. When I was a kid, a guy across the street  always had a few of these parked in his backyard. I used to admire them, but one day they all disappeared. With the crazy prices they command today, I bet he wishes he had kept a few around. The seller of the Cabriolet shown here is asking $11k and $3,500 for a rough coupe. That may sound steep, but lookup what they sell for restored and you will see the reasoning. Find this project pair here on craigslist out of Danville, Virginia. Thanks for the tip Robert!


  1. Richard Lewis

    Having restored an Isetta before I can tell you they are the greatest little collector car you can choose to restore. Parts are still available and some suppliers are making repro rubber kits and other things that surpass the original parts. Be warned that an Isetta like these is a major multi-year project and has a steep learning curve.

    Like 1
  2. Horse Radish

    It looks like the most fun is to be had when you restore one of these(?),

    HOWEVER : I cannot/or never could befriend the idea to be going into traffic, or downhill fast with one of these, when I KNOW the only thing separating me from major physical harm is that flimsy door in front of me.
    I think an Excursion or the like will win EVERY time.

    Some people may suggest: Enjoy it, you only live once.
    To that I say: a longer life for me will do just fine , thank you very much.

  3. Charles

    To think, I bought a 57 Isetta 300 with a sunroof that was nearly perfect in 1970 for $50.00. Prices new in the day were around $700.00 to $900.00 depending on options. One Buick dealership would give you an Isetta free with the purchase of a new top of the line Buick. Top speed was 55 to 60 MPH, depending on the wind direction and if you are on flat ground or decending a hill. 50-52 MPG, depending on terrain and if one is led footed or not. Of course with 13 HP, only the driver will know if he or she is being led footed. No one watching will be able to tell. My parents had a new 58 300 in Colorado in the late 50’s. The little cars go well in the snow. I think that the most enduring quality about these little cars are that they are just cute. Four people can pick one up and set it in the bed of a full sized pick up truck with an 8 foot bed.

  4. Tedd

    did they ever have a model with a back seat

  5. Charles

    The BMW 600 was similar to the Isetta, but with a back seat. The 600 has a front door and a side door. The Isetta used a one cylinder 13 HP engine. The 600 used a 26 HP two cylinder opposing style engine. Both engines shared design and components with BMW motorcycles.

  6. RickyM

    I like the sign in the background up on the top of the garage. Very nice !

  7. Vincent Quick Member

    It is amazing how much the Isetta has appreciated over the years
    We have a 1957 Isetta 300
    Full Drop Top
    Fully Electric
    Mega Fun

    Like 1
  8. Isetta 600

    I dont understand the author’s comments on multi-year project and steep learning curve. We push out body off restorations in 60 days and the mechanics is straight forward. Extremely easy to build.

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