Isetta Gold Portfolio 1953-1964
de R. M. Clarke, Brooklands Books Ltd 1997, 172 pages 20 x 27 cm, couverture souple, 200 photos NB, texte anglais.
Isetta was the bright idea of Renzo Rivolta, a wealthy Italian motorcycle and motor scooter manufacturer. Introduced in 1953, it was initially manufactured by his company, Iso SpA of Milan, and had a 250cc two-stroke twin-cylinder engine. But Rivolta had bigger ambitions, and within a couple of years he had sold manufacturing licenses to BMW in Germany and Velam in France. All that was left for him to do then was to sit back and reap the profits. In fact, he stopped making the vehicle himself, and turned instead to exotic sports cars.BMW hoped that sales of this tiny car would underpin slow sales of their luxury saloons and sports models. Their version appeared in April 1955, and was powered by their own 247cc motorcycle engine. Within a year, this original Isetta 250 model was joined by an Isetta 300, with a more powerful 297cc engine.Meanwhile, the Isetta had also entered production in France, and in 1957 it also appeared in Britain. Isetta of Great Britain, Ltd. shrewdly cashed in on the trend towards more fuel efficient cars which resulted from the Suez Canal crisis. Holding their manufacturing license from BMW the company built a version of the car which had a single rear wheel instead of the narrow-track twin rear wheels of its parent.BMW now broadened its horizons with the 600 model, a wheel-at-each-corner, four-seat, long wheelbase development of the original Isetta. This appeared in December 1957, but never attained the popularity of the original model and was withdrawn after just two years. In its place, BMW introduced the 700, which owed nothing to the Isetta tradition.Although, the Isetta was remarkably popular in the later 1950's, the fashion for cars of its type died out after BMC introduced the enormously successful Mini in 1959. BMW stopped manufacturing this range in 1962, and production in Britain ceased just two years later. Within a short period, the public had totally lost interest in the Isetta, and it was not until 20 years or more later that enthusiasts began to recognise the interesting nature of these little cars. Today, some 30 years after the last one was built, this is a welcome reminder of the Isetta's colourful, eccentric, but eminently practical approach to motoring.
- R. M. Clarke
- Brooklands Books Ltd
- Publishing Date
- 20 x 27 cm
- 200 BW photos
- Number of pages
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