I thought the “bubble” side windows identified this as an early-series 250, but Bruce Fullerton’s cheerful Isetta Tech website tells me all BMW Isetta export models had the larger 300-cc motorcycle engine. And while every Isetta Moto Coupe had a fabric sunroof (doubling as emergency exit if the front door was damaged in an accident), this one’s folding rear top was a feature of the less common Cabriolet Tropical model.
The Isetta looks like a marriage of a refrigerator and a scooter, which, by no coincidence, were the major products of its developer, Italy’s Iso, in the early 1950s. Several firms would build Isettas under licence but Germany’s BMW was by the far the largest producer, selling more than 100,000 in its domestic market alone as people strove to get mobile in the years after the Second World War. (Check out a great selection of mini-machines from that period and others at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia, United States, not far from Atlanta.)
Maynardo’s Isetta, like so many Cuban cars, has picked up some newer components over the years. The steering wheel and instrument pod could be from the ’70s or ’80s, and those “Type R” pedals are more recent yet. And the engine? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t look much like the BMW engines – 250 cc or 300 – I see in pictures of other Isettas.
Here’s an Isetta history , and for the technically minded, here’s a detailed account of the restoration of another Cabriolet Tropical.
See other Cuban Isettas here, here, here and here.
YouTube -- a ride in this Isetta