Make your own free website on

My Life and Stuff

My 1956 BMW Isetta

My 1956 BMW Isetta
My 1961 Bug
My 1980 HMV Freeway
My 1988 Ford Festiva
Vintage Vacuums
Vintage Kitchen Appliances
Other Vintage Electronics
Vintage Trailers, RV's, etc.
Vintage Citroens
Big Finned Beasts
Cool Places

So in August 2005 we picked up our baby BMW from Tennessee.  Now its 2008, and she's almost done!

Picking Her Up

Wow, I can't believe we've had this bubble for 3 years... What I can't believe more though is that its taken 3 years to get restored!  Well, thanks to good ole Murphey's Law, the isetta is finaally getting finished.  Oh, but lemme fill you in first.
So... if you haven't heard of an isetta before, well shame on you!  They're just the most amazing car ever created! (well, in my humble opinion anyway!).  Since I really just don't have time right now, go here for a good history lesson.
Needless to say, after discovering these adorable little 1 cylindered beasts, I was blown away.  The isetta bug bit me.  bad.  I don't know what it was about them...their diminutive size, their fierce 13 horses putting away...their mindblowing top speed (53 mph) or just their irresistably cute looks...  Whatever it was, it did me in.  I had to have one! 
Well, my dream came true.  In August '05 we picked up our bubble from Kenneth Winter in good ole Tennessee.  It may have been a basket case, but it was OUR basket case.  More importantly, it's a rare bubblewindow model (versus the later more common sliding window one), with the even rarer "Z" molding that goes down the side.  Its absolutely my dream isetta, and I can't believe we have it.  And even though the bubblewindow tends to micowave you in the sun due to only two tiny windows popping out an inch for air, I feel it better fits the styling of the car..  The sliding window seems to break the natural "bubble" shape of the car for me...

This is a beautiful sliding window isetta

And this is a gorgeous bubblewindow!

Anyways, we finally got it home, and thats when Murphy's law started kicking in.  Things just took time...and other things in life came up, high school became more stressful, time went away... agh!  But things did get done.  First, we sent the engine and transmission off to Bill Rogers in South Carolina, who did an excellent job putting everything together and restoring it!  It was actually disassembled and labeled and all when we sent it to him, so that helped too.  He did an excellent job, and even test fired it before sending it back.  Looks awesome.  Oh, here are some pics:

Pics sent while working on engine

Its beautiful!

So then the other stuff.  Well, we sent the whole kaboodle to a shop in Rockville, and they're great- they quickly mounted the engine and tranny and brakelines and did a lot of work with the chassis.  Meanwhile, we sent the body to a nearby bodyshop, where they performed all the bodywork.  While it wasn't absolutely horrible, the floor was rusted and extremely thin and weak in several places so we opted to order a new one in from Werner (an isetta parts guy in...erm...NC?).  They put it in, and things seemed to be going ok...  Then the paint.
It took them FOREVER to get to it, and we had several issues with me saying I wanted the wheel wells and underneath red, and him...not. "All cars have black in the fender wells!" Me: "Well, this isn't all cars!  It needs to be red!".  Finally, they painted it the two tone red and white, though to my dismay they didnt listen, and painted the fenderwells and engine compartment a flat red, while I clearly stated I wanted it glossy.  That means they have to go back and fix it (which is a pain, because the car was mounted on the chassis when painted), which is more time...  They also got some overspray on the exaust, which they will also be fixing.  They did do a good job though on the outside, though they STILL have to paint the door!  They are actually supposed to do it this week though.  We had been held up for a month by a missing door hinge (they wanted the door mounted to get thing paint lines right), which I ordered from Werner, but has yet to come...argh.  Finally, we borrowed one from a local isetta owner (thanks John Malcolm!), and ordered one from Hans in Germany, which has arrived.  So once the door gets painted, the body goes back to the other shop, where final assembly ocurrs!  And thats not much more!  If all goes well, 2-3 weeks!  Though I have to order the window rubber and interior!  Gotta get on that.  But looks like we'll be bringing a bubble to the Gould's meet this year!  Woot!

Freshly painted

Another paint pic

Box of Parts from before

Pic from previous owner when together

Another pic from when together

A pic of the chassis

Bubble bubble toil and trouble...