The Rare Isetta: 1959 BMW 600 Isetta

While it was based to a certain extent on the BMW Isetta which it replaced, the BMW 600 Isetta was very much its own vehicle, sharing only a few parts with the car that it replaced. While the original Isetta was a sales success, with 161, 728 cars rolling off the production lines, by the time the 600 was introduced, the public’s appetite for micro cars had diminished markedly. As a result, the BMW 600 did not sell in the same numbers as its predecessor, with only around 34,813 cars being built during its two years of production. This 1968 600 is located in Bogata, Texas, and while it will require a full restoration, its relative rarity may make it a worthwhile project. You will find the BMW listed for sale here on eBay.

The BMW 600 replaced the original Isetta and was designed to be a full 4-seater, as opposed to the Isetta, which was only designed to seat two people, although it was possible to fit three people in relative discomfort. The 600 was enlarged in every dimension, but it still remained within the realm of the micro car. This little BMW is largely free of significant rust, but it will probably be necessary to have the vehicle media-blasted so that you have a clean base to work from. The biggest issue facing the new owner will be glass. There isn’t a single piece in the car, so replacement items will need to be sourced. While this may be difficult, it actually isn’t impossible. In researching this story I was able to locate at least ten companies across the USA who have the glass in stock, and can also supply all of the seals and other window components.

The owner believes that the little BMW may have been used as a parts car, and this explains the sheer number of missing components. The entire interior is missing, and all new interior trim and parts will need to be sourced. Probably the trickiest parts to source will be the seat frames and dash, as the remainder of the interior trim items could be built from scratch if replacement items can’t be sourced.

The BMW 600 also varied enormously from its predecessor by utilizing a larger engine, and a more conventional drive-train. The car was fitted with a rear-mounted 582cc flat-twin engine that drove through a 4-speed transmission. The rear suspension was also independent by semi-trailing arms. The engine was mounted far closer to the center-line of the vehicle than it had been on the earlier Isetta, making it a far more predictable car to drive. This little 600 is missing its engine, but the transmission is still in situ. The lack of engine may not be a huge issue, as I have once again found suppliers that can not only supply them, but I have also located a specialist who will strip, rebuild, and bench-test an engine before shipping it to you.

So, with so much work to do, is this BMW worth the effort? At the time of writing, bidding is sitting at $1,025. The car will need a lot of work, but the vast majority of the preparation and reassembly work could easily be completed in a home workshop. These rarely come up for sale, and they do command a surprisingly high resale value. Two years ago a restored example with a few engine issues sold at auction for $30,000, while today, a pristine example can achieve around $45,000. So, is it worth the effort? I think that it is.

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Comments

  1. motoring mo

    Ended up 3D printing seat frames for my 600 project

    Like 3
  2. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Rare at some 34,000 made ? Maybe not to many survived makes it rare….the only BMW I’ve owned was a 300 I saved and sold to some 300 owners.

  3. Mark

    Cool slammed old van.

    Like 2
  4. Darrun

    The seller is on You Tube. He shows the Isetta being pulled from a Garage, and also has the Build of The Mighty Metro and a few others.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4brh5AJubM

    Like 1
  5. Darrun

    That’s not the Isetta that he had pulled from a garage, but he does have a video of picking this one up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azl7w-K0oQM

  6. Del

    Nope. Not worth saving

  7. Todd Fitch Staff

    LS it! JK Adam. Nice write-up. Thanks for showing us this interesting vehicle! Finish it to perfection and take it to Martha’s Vineyard where they make a stylish alternative to the everyday golf cart.

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