JULY 25, 2014 (AUGUST 2014): A TERMINALLY CUTE 1959 BMW ISETTA HAS A LONG HISTORY WITH ONE FAMILY

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One of the crowd-pleasers at any car show is a BMW Isetta

 

They are the cute little puppies of the automotive world and kids love these iconic little cars because the Isetta looks like it came right off the set of another ‘Cars’ movie from Disney.

 

We discovered an Isetta and its owners in a parking lot and we seized the golden opportunity to interview owners Lynne and Kathy Noble about their cool little set of wheels.

 

 

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Lynne purchased the car in 1961 for 300 bucks and then he used it as a daily driver for a year and a half.

 

Lynne is a pretty tall guy so his story about how he managed to squeeze two other guys who were also over 6 feet tall into the Isetta for a daily commute to work surprised us.

 

They were young guys on a tight budget, so the Isetta’s great mileage was a stronger draw than actual comfort for the commute. If you have ever seen the cabin space in an Isetta, then you would seriously wonder how three big guys could even fit into the car without a great deal of pain and discomfort.

 

The size of the Isetta also made it fairly portable for a group of fun-loving young guys and one day Lynne’s buddies moved the little car up the front steps to the veranda on his house. Try that practical joke with a 1959 Buick.

 

Eventually the little Isetta was parked for 40 years during a period when Lynne married Kathy and started a family. They had four kids and the Isetta was not a practical choice as a family car, but somehow it stayed in the family, despite Kathy’s early misgivings about the idea.

 

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In fact, Kathy told us she often wondered why they kept the little car over the years. The Isetta was never left behind through several moves for their family and its tag-along characteristic did not seem like a good idea at the time to Kathy.

 

However, Lynne was bonded to his little car and he wanted to keep the car in the family, despite early resistance from Kathy who viewed it as extra baggage at the time. Kathy told us she was “very glad they kept the Isetta” because she has also become very attached to the little car over the years.

 

The Isetta only has about 19,000 miles on it after all of these years, but that is understandable when you consider it spent 40 years in retirement over the past 55 years.

 

Another factor is the top speed of an Isetta because these little cars only had a 13 horsepower engine capable of an optimistic 53 mph (about 90 km/hr) top speed under ideal conditions.

 

The Isettas were not exactly freeway warriors in North America and spent most of their time in urban traffic where their small size and great gas mileage were big assets.

 

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These days Kathy and Lynne spend as much time as possible in their Isetta during the summer months when they can enjoy life at a leisurely pace with their terminally cute family treasure.

 

Jim Sutherland

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