VEHICLE OF THE ERA OF CRISISVEHICLE OF THE ERA OF CRISISLittle micro-car BMW ISETTA. This has happened more than once. Crest of the economic crisis, the Great depression or the post-war ruin — and instead of the heavy limousine with big motors car company suddenly started to produce a compact and inexpensive cars that are in high demand from impoverished buyers. The result is a miniature sidecar pulled from the verge of bankruptcy that created them, car companies, and they, in turn, pulled out of the crises and the country’s economy.

In the early twentieth century this magic little car has become the easiest and cheapest for its time, the FORD-T, which reached tens of millions of copies, such was the pre-war FIAT 500 Topolino became available for almost all segments of the population, and so was post-war, the, perhaps, small cars ISETTA, designed by the Italian firm ISO SpA, and produced at least a dozen factories in many countries.
As you know, in the early postwar years the most popular vehicle in Europe was a Bicycle, later on a motorcycle and a scooter, but in the 1950-ies… the Motorcycles had already ceased to hold buyers: after all, the climate in Europe — and especially in the North — not always suitable for riding open to the elements vehicle. Rain and cold make the ride in mere flour. Well, the full car was until the Europeans can not afford.
One of the first to believe that the Europeans need a super compact little micro-car, a kind of scooter with a roof, or, equivalently, a passenger car on the basis of motor units, came a former aircraft designer M. Gobin and R. Rivolta, owner of the Milan firm of Iso SpA, which until 1953 was collected refrigerators, motor scooters and small three-wheeled trucks.
The layout of the four-wheeled micro-car, only called ISETTA, and today can not but cause admiration among specialists. The most unusual item was the front wall of the cockpit, she is a single door car. Such planning significantly easier access to the driver and passenger and the sidewall of the body has been very tough. Accordingly, light and durable was the body of the vehicle.
The micro-car, only BMW ISETTA
Front suspension type — Du-Bonnet (like the car or Opel Kadett “Moskvich-400”), rear — solid axle with a pair of episcopacy spring-hydraulic shock absorbers.
The dashboard and steering wheel were mounted on the door, after opening which, the “bagel” drove away from the driver, while maintaining the kinematic connection of the steering shaft with the steering gear due to the u-joint and spline connection.
Two-stroke engine cylinder capacity of 0.236 liters developed only 9,5 PS, but nevertheless clocked a super-compact passenger car up to 70 km/h!
The presentation of the car took place in 1953, at the motor show in Turin. It is curious that the great interest in this car, the Italians showed. It was, apparently, that the Italian climate (the absence of negative temperatures even during the winter months and about 300 Sunny days a year) gave the opportunity to use a much cheaper motorcycles and scooters. Well, for people in more Northern countries low-cost minicar that is closed for rain and snow cabin could be a good alternative to much more expensive cars. Apparently, therefore, great interest in the minicar showed the automobile companies of other countries — Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Brazil — who wished to purchase the license for the production of the ISETTA micro-car, only.
Minicar BMW ISETTA—the only door was located in the front
Minicar BMW ISETTA—the only door was located in the front
Today the BMW cars ITA can only be found in the Museum. The fourth car in the convoy — VMW 600
Today cars BMW ITA can only be found in the Museum. The fourth car in the convoy — BMW 600
One of the first license to produce the ISETTA were bought by a German firm Bayerische Motorenwerke — BMW. I must say that this company has never “sinned” in the release of such “small fry”, but in 1953 the economic situation was critical at the time, she vypuska luxury car sport — BMW 501 and BMW 502, however, to sell them became increasingly difficult. Besides, the design Bureau was prepared for the production of prestigious cars, but to seek loans and their preparation for serial production was not possible.
In such circumstances the leadership of the BMW and decided to launch a series of mass cheap car, the release of which would allow to accumulate the necessary funds.
In the process of preparing the production of the ISETTA in Germany, the management of the Bavarian car company has decided to significantly upgrade the little micro-car. First of all, the car was equipped with new engine — two-stroke of 0.236-liter engine working on a mixture of oil and gasoline, was replaced by four-stroke, with a displacement of 0.249 V. l and a power of 12 HP, picked up four-speed gear box with rear speed. Between the transmission and chain gear, located in oil bath, mounted the propeller shaft, fixed on elastic rubber couplings, and a new worm gear steering gearbox and a more efficient suspension.
Geometric scheme of the micro-car, only BMW ISETTA
The geometric scheme of the micro-car, only BMW ISETTA
As already mentioned, the ISETTA was a four-wheeled machine, but the rear wheels were close together so that their track was only about two feet is allowed, on the one hand, to do without the differential and have also provided inputs to directly affect resistance.
Thus, the result is a vehicle with a length of 2850 mm and a width of 1380 mm with a mass of 350 kg Car could accelerate to 85 km/h, although the “pilot” car at that speed, dared few.
The first production BMW 250 ISETTA appeared in April 1955. Little micro-car has caused a considerable stir in Germany — in the first year it sold about 12,000 machines. The price of a minicar was 2550 DM, that was fine with buyers — and that’s when the salary of a skilled worker — 90 marks a week. The growth of sales minilecture modernized — equipped with a 0.3-liter engine, the side Windows have sliding vents supplied and already in 1957 the firm was able to sell 40,000 BMW ISETTA 300.
I must say that BMW was not alone in the production of such machines. Moreover, under license with Iso little micro-car produced in a number of European countries, many companies have developed their own “kabinenroller” of the same class and organized their mass production.
Interestingly, in post-war Germany for several aviation firms, find themselves out of work, have also started to build compact cars — the idea of production of such machines, as can be seen, hovering in the air. In particular, the famous aircraft firm Heinkel had designed a little different in appearance from the little micro-car three-wheeled ISETTA Heinkel-Kabine, and the famous Messerschmitt company developed the tricycle in which the driver and the only passenger were arranged in tandem in the cockpit, closed the transparent canopy is almost the same as the double attack aircraft. A completely independent design was developed by German company Glas — it was a compact sedan, the Goggomobil two-stroke 0,25-liter engine.
1957 ISETTA was first produced under license by BMW in the UK — of course, in right-hand drive version and, unlike the countries on the other side of the English channel, with three wheels. However, the driver and engine were on the right side minicar, and for optimal weight distribution on the wheels designers had on the left side to accommodate a 27-pound load. Well, the removal of the car two wheels due to the fact that in England, three-wheeled vehicle with a motorcycle engine and no reverse gear was equal to the motorcycle with the appropriate tax incentives and simplified licensing.
The chassis of the BMW ISETTA micro-car, only
The chassis of the BMW ISETTA micro-car, only
Layout diagram of micro-car, only BMW ISETTA
Layout scheme of the micro-car, only BMW ISETTA
Despite the low-power engine and wheels of small diameter, ISETTA nice
Despite the low power the engine and wheels of small diameter, ISETTA nice “feel” like on dirt road

British BMW ISETTA had three wheels and located the wheel to the right
The British variant of the BMW ISETTA had three wheels and located the wheel to the right
Tricycle Heinkel-kabine — car-twin BMW ISETTA
Tricycle Heinkel-kabine — car-twin BMW ISETTA
The cabin of the BMW ISETTA
The basic controls a little micro-car
The basic controls a little micro-car:
1 —the lever transmission; 2—a control lever a heater; 3—horn button; 4 — the switch of a plafond of illumination of salon; 5—the switch of indexes of turns; 6—the switch wiper; 7—the ignition lock and the starter switch; 8—signal light generator; 9—speedometer with a pointer to the traversed path; 10—signal lamp repeater Blinker; 11—the switch of light of headlights

The four-stroke BMW ISETTA working volume of 0.25 l
The four-stroke BMW ISETTA working volume of 0.25 l
The driver
The driver
Three-wheeled Messerschmitt Kabinenroller firms have good aerodynamics and good high-speed qualities
Three-wheeled Messerschmitt Kabinenroller firms have good aerodynamics and good high-speed qualities
Domestic microcar С3А as to its performance differed from the foreign car-classmates
Domestic microcar С3А as to its performance differed from the foreign car-classmates
BMW 600 — the last of a series of subcompact car company Bayerische Motorenwerke
BMW 600 — the last of a series of subcompact car company Bayerische Motorenwerke

Firm BMW in the next year or two plans to launch a series of car called the ISETTA, made
The BMW firm in the next year or two plans to launch a series of car called the ISETTA, made “based on” mini-cars of the 1950s years
In the early 1950-ies miniature cars produced in France, in particular, the firm CITROEN is very successfully sold mini cars Citroen 2SV, and the company produced the licensed Velam ISETTA.
Not remained aloof and Soviet designers. In the 1950-ies on the Serpukhov plant, they created the first three-wheeled microcar С1Л, which was then replaced by a four-wheel two-door convertible С3Д with a canvas retractable roof, and completed this series all metal car С3Д. All these machines were equipped with single-cylinder motorcycle engines. Unfortunately, sidecar is not intended for sale to the public — they were distributed by the social welfare authorities as a vehicle for the disabled. By the way, the Amateur designers happy to have acquired overage sidecar — on this basis, we created a considerable number of self-made cars.
The post-war crisis, meanwhile, was declining, and buyers have started to increasingly look for “real” cars. Trying to keep up with the times, BMW once again upgraded ISETTA, this time quite radical. Little micro-car extended, making it a quadruple, brought the track of the rear wheels to track the front and equipped it with 2-cylinder boxer four-stroke engine, with a volume of 0,6 liters. The result was a kind of transition from the little micro-car to a small car called the BMW ISETTA 600. After it was released ISETTA with engine capacity of 0.7 liters and new body “pontoon” type. However, the time sidecars were gone — the last one by BMW released in 1962.
Technical characteristics of BMW ISETTA micro-car, only
Years of production……………………..1955 – 1957
Length, mm……………………………………….2285
Width, mm………………………………….1380
Height, mm………………..1340
Bacha, mm………………………………….1500
The front track of wheels, mm…………1200
Rear track, mm……………………..520
Dry weight, kg…………………………………360
Engine type………………four-stroke
Working volume, l……………………..0,25/0,30
Power, HP……………………………….12/13
Brake……..drum, hydraulic
Maximum speed, km/h……………..85

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