Today’s car is a 1957 BMW Isetta 300 (Bubble Cars) by Todd Bracken. Tom has own the car since 1974 and drove it to Lakeview High School. It is finished in Silver with a White original seat upholstery covered in grandma’s clear vinyl seat cover and has a soft black hood (sun roof). The car has the paint that Todd and his father applied to the car in their driveway when Todd was 15. I saw this car at the Cars and Coffee in Marina del Rey, CA. It is powered by a 0.3 liter single cylinder, air cooled, L head with a Bing single barrel carburetor, producing 13 hp. Transferring that power to the rear wheels through 4-speed manual transmission and delivering that power to the rear wheels through 5.33:1 rear end. Slowing this baby down are hydraulic drum brakes. BMW advertised them as “four wheel brakes” while technically there is only one brake for both rear wheels. The front suspension is independent coil springs over shocks and in the rear is live axle with quarter-elliptical springs. This car is the deluxe model with the two grills mounted in the door for fresh air circulation. The Sliding Window Coupe was for export.
The original MSRP was $1,048.00 for the coupe, with no pricing for the convertible. The total number of 1955–62 BMW Isetta’s 300’s produced was 161,728. The top speed is 53 mph and the 0 – 40 time is 20.5 seconds.
The racing decals that decorate the outside of the car are Todd’s way of building a tribute to the rich racing history of the Isetta 300. That inspiration came after years of going to the Monterey car show and going to the the pits at Laguna Seca and seeing all the racing emblems on the cars. He was scouring the internet one day looking at the decals for his car and he came across an article that informed him that the Iso Isetta factory had entered the 1954 1000 Mille Miglia. They took first, second and third in the economy class and averaged more that 43 mph during the torturous 1000 mile race. Click the link below for the article Iso Isetta – The Mille Miglia Race Car by Mike Gulett.
Todd accomplished his tongue and cheek goals of creating a tribute to the racing world and making it look like an extremely fast race car. This is a very fun car that drew a crowd as soon as he could park it. Great story that will be a hit at car shows, and Cars and Coffee events for a long time to come. Thanks for riding along. Frank