Believe it or not the BMW Isetta was our family car in the late 1950’s. It seated three people which was perfect for my Mom, brother and me.
Our Isetta was white with red interior with a sun roof on top. To get in you opened the front and climbed in then turned to sit down. It was a four speed with the gear shift on the left. It had to be like that because otherwise the gear shift would be in the way of the passengers. I am impressed that my Mom learned to shift with her left hand.
It could be a blessing or a curse
It actually handled very well in the winter even with our little town’s steep hills. On snowy days Mom would drive us to school. Being driven to school by my Mom could be a blessing or a curse depending on which kids saw us. Some made fun of the car with the big buggy eyes. My Mom even called it the Bug although it was officially known as the Bubble Car. And some kids thought it was cool and wanted a ride.
I’m sure we were quite the sight
One year we went on a trip across state in our little car. The main way to get air was to roll back the sun roof. Of course, that also let the sun shine in. So to keep the tops of our heads from getting sun burned my Mom made each of us wear a wide rimmed straw hat that tied under the chin. So there we all were traveling in our bug with our silly looking hats. I’m sure we were quite the sight.
We were the only one in our little town to have a Bubble car. When my Mom ran for office she put her posters with her picture on them in the windows of the car. Everyone knew to vote for the person who drove the Bug.
Mom eventually traded our little bug in for a green Renault station wagon. Even though it was fun riding in the back of the new station wagon we still missed the Isetta.
We have lots of fun memories of that little car. I wish we still had it today. There’s just a few restored Isettas left. If I had the money I’d buy one. For now I’ll have to settle for my little model Isetta sitting fondly on top of my bookcase.