Buyers Guide to:
1955 to 1964
Isetta Owners Club
The Bromley Bubble Company
Go back all the way to the 1950s and one way for motorists to save money was by buying a bubble car. Quirky they may have been but they gained a big following thanks to their simple construction and low running costs, and in 1955 BMW got in on the act by launching the Isetta. In a difficult financial situation, they needed a small car that they could sell in big numbers so their answer was to buy the licence to the characterful bubble car and would go on to build more than 160,000 examples over the following decade. The single cylinder motorcycle engine produced just 13bhp, so although the Isetta was slow it was very frugal. Buyers could choose from three and four-wheeled versions.
- 1. Front wings and wheel arches
- 2. Front door
- 3. Rear side panels
- The floor pan as it’s susceptible to rot, especially if the sunroof has been leaking. Other areas to examine are the footwells, body seams, and inner front wings
- The condition of the chassis. You can’t buy new ones so you’ll be looking at repairs which can become very costly depending on the extent of the work required – finding another car might be better if things are very rotten here. Check that it isn’t cracked, too
- Check the door hinges for wear, and make sure the glass and rubbers are in good condition.
- A new glass panel for the door is around £300
- Whether all the exterior trim is present and correct. Don’t worry too much if not as most parts are available, but haggle on the asking price accordingly
- That the sunroof is in good condition, that it slides smoothly, and that there are no signs of water leaks. It’s you’re only exit if the front door is blocked so making sure it opens is important
- The engine is essentially the BMW R27 motorcycle unit which is inherently reliable. Ensure the metal shrouds around it are in place as they aid cooling; overheating can also lead to breakage of the two-piece valves – look for a car that’s already been upgraded to improved one- piece items
- The history for evidence of regular oil changes as the engine doesn’t have a filter
- That the Dynastart unit is working okay. It’s a combined alternator and starter motor, and also drives the cooling fan, and a replacement item is around £300
- For signs of poor starting which is often
- caused by a faulty choke mechanism. The Bing carburettor is a simple item that’s easy to rebuild
- The operation of the four-speed manual gearbox. It rarely gives trouble, although dif culty in engaging gears is usually caused by worn rubber grommets in the linkage; an easy and cheap fox
- For vibration once up to speed – it’s usually caused by perished rubber drive couplings. The duplex chain that drives the rear wheel can fail if the oil level in the chain case isn’t maintained, although replacement is inexpensive
- For vertical movement in the steering column which is caused by a worn support bush. Play in the steering can also be an issue – it could be caused by wear in the joints or steering box
- That the brakes aren’t worn, and that the suspension has been maintained properly – the front kingpins and steering shaft both require regular greasing, the former every 1000 miles or so
- The condition of the cabin as the cost of refurbishment will soon add up, and some parts are no longer available. More important is checking that the battery, located beneath the seat, has the rubber cover in place – otherwise, contact with the seat springs
- will lead to short circuits
Everything Check Out?
You can call QuoteMyClassic on 0808 278 1111
to get a free no obligation quote.