John: As I listened to your Saturday January 13th show I heard a number of mistaken recollections related to the bmw isetta automobile I lived in Germany from 1983-1988 and even then occasionally saw various micro-cars in use

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John: As I listened to your Saturday January 13th show I heard a number of mistaken recollections related to the BMW Isetta automobile. I lived in Germany from 1983-1988 and even then occasionally saw various micro-cars in use.
I thought I’d do a little research to give complete answers. No they weren’t three-wheelers (though some other small cars have been), they weren’t an Italian Company and they were not built in Spain. It was a common mistake from the appearance that people thought they had 3 wheels because the two rear wheels were very close together. BMW built them after the war because few Germans could afford the larger much more expensive BMW models continued in production similar to prewar cars.
There was some truth to an Italian connection because BMW bought the name and original design from an Italian firm called: ISO Isetta. However only BMW mass-produced their much improved version of the Isetta.
A couple of your last callers clarified some facts but in one case introduced yet another error. It was not that Messerschmitt built Isettas. Messerschmitt, Goggomobile, and numerous other European companies also built very small competitors to the BMW Isetta.
I’ll try attaching this and the rest of the ifo as a Word Doc so you get the pictures and charts.
Joel Heath

Citrus Springs regular listener on Nature Coast 90 and reader of your columns in both the Ocala Star and Citrus County Chronicle


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is the start and some main points from the article at:



Iso Autoveicoli


Iso Isetta (1953-1956)
BMW Isetta (1955-1962)
VELAM Isetta (1955-1958)
Romi-Isetta (1956-1961)


RR layout

The Isetta is an Italian-designed microcar built under licence in a number of different countries, including Spain,[1] Belgium,[2] France,[3] Brazil,[4] Germany,[5] and the United Kingdom.[6] Because of its egg shape and bubble-like windows, it became known as a bubble car, a name later given to other similar vehicles.[7]

The BMW Isetta was in 1955 the world's first mass-production 3-Litres/100 km car.[note 1] It was the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world, with 161,728 units sold.[8]

BMW Isetta (Germany)[edit]

BMW made the Isetta its own. They redesigned the powerplant around a BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine which generated 10 kW (13 hp). Although the major elements of the Italian design remained intact, BMW re-engineered much of the car, so much so that none of the parts between a BMW Isetta Moto Coupe and an Iso Isetta are interchangeable. The first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955.

1955 BMW Isetta 250, BMW Museum, Munich, Germany.

In May 1962, three years after launching the conventionally modern-looking BMW 700, BMW ceased production of Isettas. A total of 161,728 units had been built.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Messerschmitt AG


first AG, later GmbH






Messerschmitt-Bölkow GmbH (1968)
Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (1969)




Augsburg, Germany

Key people

Willy Messerschmitt


Commercial airliners, Military aircraft

Messerschmitt AG (German pronunciation: [ˈmɛsɐʃmɪt]) was a famous German aircraft manufacturing corporation (AG) named for its chief designer, Willy Messerschmitt, and known primarily for its World War II fighter aircraft,…


After World War II, the company was not allowed to produce aircraft. One alternative the company came up with was the three-wheeled motorcycle/bubble car or Kabinenroller (cabinscooter) KR175 / KR200, designed by an aircraft engineer, Fritz Fend.[citation needed]

The cars were actually made by Fend's own company in the Messerschmitt works at Regensburg, and Willy Messerschmitt had very little to do with the vehicles other than ruling that they carried his name. Production of the KR200 ceased in 1964.[citation needed]

The Messerschmitt factory also produced prefabricated houses, which were designed as "self-building-kits" mainly based on an alloy frame work.[citation needed]

Messerschmitt KR200

Excerpts From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia article at:
The Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), was a three-wheeled bubble car designed by the aircraft engineer Fritz Fend and produced in the factory of the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt from 1955 to 1964.
[The Messerschmitt autos and some of the other micro cars were even more motorcycle-like because the passenger sat behind the driver.}

Body style

bubble-top coupé, convertible, or roadster; two seats in tandem.


Excerpts from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at



Hans Glas GmbH (1955–1966)
BMW (1966–1969)[1]


1955–30 June 1969[2]




RR layout

Body style(s)

2-door sedan[2]
2-door coupe[3]
2-door convertible [4]
Pickup [6]
Roadster (Goggomobil Dart)[7]


Two-stroke straight-two engine
245 cc, 13.6 hp (10.1 kW) (DIN)
293 cc, 14.8 hp (11.0 kW) (DIN)
392 cc, 18.5 hp (13.8 kW) (DIN)[2][3][5]


4-speed manual
electromagnetic pre-selector transmission optional[2][3][5]


1,800 mm (71 in)[2][3][5]


2-door sedan: 2,900 mm (110 in)[2]
2-door coupe: 3,035 mm (119.5 in)[3]
Van: 2,910 mm (115 in)[5]


2-door sedan: 1,260 mm (50 in)[2]
2-door coupe: 1,370 mm (54 in)[3]
Van: 1,316 mm (51.8 in)[5]


2-door sedan: 1,310 mm (52 in)[2]
2-door coupe: 1,235 mm (48.6 in)[3]
Van: 1,695 mm (66.7 in)[5]


Goggomobil T (2-door sedan)[2]
Goggomobil TS (2-door coupe)[3]
Goggomobil TL (van)[5]
Goggomobil Dart (roadster)[7]

Goggomobil was a series of microcars produced in the Bavarian town Dingolfing after World War II by Glas.

Glas produced three models on the Goggomobil platform: the Goggomobil T sedan, the Goggomobil TS coupé, and the Goggomobil TL van. The engine was an air-cooled, two-stroke, two-cylinder unit originally displacing 250 cc, but later available in increased sizes of 300 cc and 400 cc. It had an electric pre-selective transmission built by Getrag and a manual clutch. The engine was behind the rear wheels. Suspension was independent all round using coil springs with swing axles.

214,313 sedans, 66,511 coupés, and 3,667 Transporter vans and pickups were built from 1955 to 1969.

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