The definitive bubble car was the Isetta, literally “small Iso,” designed by Iso SpA in the ruins of postwar Europe and built all over the Continent under license, mostly by BMW, which sold over 130,000 of them between 1955 and 1962, a few of which somehow managed to disappear into the US.
Of course, nobody would build such a teensy little vehicle today, right? Wrong:
A new range of city models is being planned by BMW, and they could be called Isetta after the famous bubble car of the Fifties.
Back in September, bosses announced plans for a fourth brand and this is the clearest indication of what it will be.
Why? Pretty much the obvious reason:
[S]mall turbo petrol and diesel engines would be used to help keep costs down, yet provide decent performance and excellent economy and emissions. This last feature is a key reason for BMW giving the city car project the go-ahead. It needs to reduce the average CO2 outputs from its vehicles to meet new EU targets.
Perhaps amusingly, it was the money BMW made off the Isetta which enabled the company to produce larger models in the 1960s; there’s a touch of irony in the prospect that once again the bubble car will be saving the Roundel’s rump.