Wednesday, December 31st 2014. | Auto & Motor, Car

You would think that BMW would feel a bit embarassed at having such a humble means of transportation as part of its history, but that has never been the case when talking about the Isetta bubble car. After World War II, the Bavarian car maker was not exactly in tip-top shape in terms of financial success, with Herbert Quandt being close to selling the entire company to Daimler Benz under the pressure of management. Thanks in small part to the prosperity brought by the tiny Isetta and Quandt’s rather risky decision of increasing his stake instead of selling all of it, BMW is still an independent brand now.

As some of you know, the Isetta was actually born in Italy, not Germany, and its original raison d’être was simply to offer an inexpensive means of transport with good fuel economy. Created by Iso, which subsequently became famous afterward for its elegant sports cars in the 1960s, the original Isetta had thee wheels and a single-cylinder motorcycle engine from the Iso Moto 200. Its quirky styling, low price and great city maneuverability caught the eye of BMW, who bought the project along with its tooling and made its own version, keeping the name.

Using a BMW motorcycle engine this time, the BMW Isetta spawned two more variants and became a resounding success for the Bavarian car maker, with over 150,000 units being sold between 1955 and 1962. Part of its success was also thanks to the Suez Energy Crisis, but no one can argue with the cuteness of its bubble car design as also being a very good reason.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW Isetta.

BMW Isetta originally appeared on topspeed.com on Wednesday, 31 December 2014 09:00 EST.

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