Live Auctions

Not So Big in Texas: 1956 BMW Isetta


As someone who has never successfully flipped a car, I often wonder if the selling price tells you just how deep a flipper is into the car he’s selling. I can’t help but think that this cute 1956 BMW Isetta here on craigslist is a quick flip, as it is listed on every craigslist page in the state of Texas and the information on the vehicle itself is extremely limited. For $8,500, is it worth finding out?


Aside from experts like the boys here at Barn Finds, most of the cars you see selling as projects are posted quickly, as if the seller couldn’t even wait five damn seconds to find out a little bit more about the vehicle they just snagged from the old lady’s barn. “In need of total restoration” is akin to giving someone directions by saying, “I live in Texas.” Of course, some might say the asking price is reasonable enough to justify making the phone call, but my pride always gets in the way with sellers like this.


On the surface, I don’t see anything too alarming about this Isetta. Sure, the interior needs refurbishment, but that doesn’t entail much more than reupholstering the bench seat. There’s only so much you can cram into the interior of a microcar like this, so the reduction in real estate should also reduce potential headaches when putting it back together. The paint colors are not factory correct, but the red paint inside may provide a clue to its original hue.


Aside from the engine panel cover, the Isetta doesn’t appear to be missing much, right down to its factory luggage rack on the rear and bumper overriders in the front. The paint does look like it was applied by brush as one time, so factor a full cosmetic refresh into any potential offers. If you can get past the seller’s coyness with the details, maybe there’s a good project to be scored, but I’ll leave that to our microcar experts to suss out.


  1. Francisco

    And this Craigslist listing originates in Chicago.

  2. Chris

    A lot of flippers play this game on purpose. When you buy the car and have a major problem they can always say they didn’t know about it. Pretty uncool but I see it all the time.

  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I cant help but laugh at the bumper overriders. I keep thinking oak 2 by 6.

    • macvaugh

      Oak 2 X 6 wouldn’t let you open the front to get out of the car :)

  4. Graham Line

    Pretty sure it’s also missing a rear window

  5. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep…..hate those multiple listings….like if it didn’t sell off your first dozen listings – your going to list it again a dozen more times – with not a price drop ! Priced a little high for the demand….

  6. John b

    How do u know it’s a flipper? U seem pretty confident.

  7. Bajrang

    Just a few quick thoughts on this car. There is lots of rust, much of it in very hard to repair places. The front fenders, door and body pan are difficult. It looks, to me, that there has been a fire. These usually start at the battery and harness behind the seat. The springs and shredded coconut break down and the driver’s weight shorts out across the battery, the shredded coconut catches fire, The loom entering the engine starts to go, as well as the front loom running from behind the seat up the left inside. It appears the steering wheel was patched and painted, sometimes it can be an oversized (tall) battery, also, the bottom of the battery box is most assuredly gone and people stick a board in raising everything. From what I can see, it looks like the engine has burned. The Tropic (not called Deluxe) door looks burned as well; see the burned rubber hanging off the lower hinge. Fire might explain the cracked dash pod.
    In a quick look, it will need a rear window $$, rear nerf bars, license plate light and plastic insert, outer engine shroud and rubber seal, looks like the dynastat is also burned, engine door, horn button $$, e-brake assembly, interior panels, the seat springs will be shot from fire, new coconut pads and seat cover, everything rubber on the car, wheel covers, front right drum has broken stud, the right rear wheel is a welded (not two piece) rim and off another car, and….
    To be really pissy, when the car was repainted the ‘cleavage line on the door should not extend past the bumper.
    Well, that’s the short list.

    • Bajrang

      sorry, that’s dynastart not dynastat

  8. Mike Burnett

    My memory is fading with old age but I had 2 of these at the same time when I was in University in the late ’70’s. I paid £5 each for them. They both needed work but were driveable. I seem to remember that I got rid of them before fixing them up because they had no reverse gear. You had to get out, pick up the back end and turn the ‘car’ round before re-entering. Great fun for 3 point turns in heavy traffic in the English rain when on a hot date (she had to get out while I performed the operation, as she was too heavy to allow lifting of the car). For some reason she didn’t agree to go on any further dates with me. My next car was a MK 3 Healey 3000 with triple SU carburettors. She was all over me then but I turned her away.- love me, love my car, though I regret swapping the Healey for an Allard race car with a big American V8; the Allard was incredibly fast as the aluminium bodywork was like an oversize Lotus 7, but with aero screens there was no weather protection at all as the screens just deflected the rain into my face. The one upside of having that car in London was during the refuse collectors’ strike, with bags of stinking refuse piled high on the pavements (sidewalks), which cats and dogs ripped open. I had a giant cardboard carton that the TV set came in. I filled it with refuse, taped it down, put it in the passenger’s seat and parked the car outside a TV sales shop. Typical of London, a thief stole it withing 15 minutes. To this day I am amused at the thought of him getting it home and calling the family to see his latest ‘prize’ when he opened it.

  9. Steven

    Looks like Steve Urkel car went off a cliff, lol 😁

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