In the 1950s, an Italian company famous for refrigerators and motor scooters released the tiny Isetta slated for mass production and distribution throughout the driving world where gas mileage and distance were tantamount. The same engine that powered some of their scooters served as this car’s engine. Ultimately, it was named the Isetta (Picture 1).
In 1953, this tiny automobile caught the public’s eye because of its complete simplicity of design and its tremendous gas mileage-50 to 75 miles per gallon. It was a vehicle for persons looking to travel cheaply to-and-from work mainly in congested cities. The Isetta opened like, like-well, who could deny it-like an odd shaped refrigerator. Its passengers climbed directly into the front, turned, and sat down. Then they pulled shut the car’s door with steering wheel and dashboard attached to it (Picture 2).
Size wise, the Isetta was built to seat just two people comfortably; yet back in the days before seat belts were mandatory, dealers claimed that a small child could also be carried along on the car’s only seat. They also maintained that in case of an accident, even a minor one that a blocked the single front door, passengers could climb out through a cloth covered roof.
The picture shows an original Isetta from the 50s, probably 7.5 feet long and 4.5 feet wide. In the picture as in reality, the automobile appeared egg shaped with windows that bubbled out, possibly to give occupants a greater feeling of roominess. This tiny vehicle used a motorcycle engine with two cylinders and could go from zero to 50 miles per hour in approximately 30 seconds.
According to en.wikipedia, “The Isetta was one of the most successful microcars produced in the post-world War II years.” This bubble car, as it was called, was built in a number of countries: England , Brazil , Belgium . Spain , France , And Germany to name a few.
There is a lot of scuttlebutt about bringing back the Isetta, but according to a Munich manufacturer, when it does return to the streets, it would not use gasoline at all. It would be a completely battery operated automobile. Engineers who are designing it claim that it will not look like the egg-shaped original. It will look more like the one seen in the third picture. Admittedly, It has a far more stylish appearance than Chrysler’s Smart Car-an aborted baby shoe!