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1956 BMW Isetta convertible -Honda Powered

Kenneth's Web Page

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            1956 BMW Isetta Bubble window Convertible. with three wheels, Honda motor and automatic transmission.

This is my 12th Isetta and the car is a blast to drive.  The idea for this car started at a micro car show with a group discussion of "What would be your dream Isetta?" 

The group developed list went like this:

  • Of course it should be a Bubble Convertible- why? It is the most rare, the best body lines, etc
  • A fuel gauge... a must
  • A good heater..My girl friend is always cold.
  • An automatic transmission..Once again a request from my girl friend.  This also would be ideal for use in parades with stop and go traffic.
  • A modern motor with electronic ignition, a fuel pump, water cooled motor for a heater, available parts, and dependability.
  • A three wheeled design.. I have always wanted a three wheeled car like the photos I have seen of the UK models.
  • A more modern interior- stock Isettas have a Spartan interior. This car would not be portrayed as original so a cool interior is a must.  Wood grained panels were mentioned.
  • Tunes -  a perfect Isetta would have a CD player to play 50's and 60's music to add to the atmosphere at car shows.
  • A lock box for my purse and camera..another good idea from my girl friend.
  • A more comfortable seat... I liked this idea, parade rides are long.

This list rolled around in my head for a year or so and then an opportunity to build the car developed.

When the project ended I had a Unique 1956 BMW Bubble Window Isetta with a custom built convertible top,  UK inspired three wheels, a Honda Helix 250cc, 4 stroke engine, water cooled motor powered through a CVT automatic transmission. 

  Here is a list of features for the car:

  • Custom built convertible top.. A true convertible bubble could not be found.  A custom frame was built to mimic an original frame and latches. A one off top was built for the car to match the new sun roof cover. 
  • Power unit.. I used a 1986 Honda Helix Scooter. This unit provided a 250cc, four stroke, water cooled engine, CVT automatic transmission, CDI ignition, secondary fuel pump, remote radiator. This motor was inspected and optimized for this application with smoothed intake and exhaust ports, custom exhaust system, rejetted carburetor, and KN air filter. The custom muffler cost over $500 alone.
  • Under the seat, water based, cabin heater, with remote shut off and high and low blower settings. The heater unit is from a Toyota  SUV.
  • The car was repainted when body work was completed. There are a few flaws thanks to an unobservant SUV driver. 
  • A custom interior was built with wood grained steering wheel and side panels.  New sound padding and custom carpets were installed.  A new front door panel with Large door pocket and side pockets were added.
  • A comfortable seat from a Ford Aerostar was used. This required an indentation in the inner fenders to accommodate the seat base.
  • A hidden lockable storage compartment behind the seat.
  • A custom stereo and speaker enclosure, two speakers in the rear and two mounted on the front door for good sound surround.
  • Custom mounted instrument panel. Includes digital speed-o meter, FUEL gauge, temperature gauge, clock, trip meter, and service interval indicator.
  • Electric reverse to back the car. It is activated by the parking brake lever and a dash mounted switch. This device uses an electric wheel chair motor.  I use it to back the car out of the trailer. It serves this function well, but is limited in speed.
  • Custom mounted engine controls from the scooter.  Readily accessible fuse box and wiring harness.  This allowed the knee obstacles to be relocated..Ie the signal light lever and head light dimmer lever.
  • Rebuild steering column, foot controls and steering bushings.
  • Serviced brake system. A remote brake fluid reservoir was used to get away from the mandated head stand needed to check the brake fluid in the stock reservoir. Independant front and rear brake pedals. 
  • Newer radial tires for the front and a Vespa rear tire.
  • Frame mounted tie down points for securing the vehicle for transport.
  • Custom built front bumpers, model after UK models

The reason I am offer this car for sale is the fact that I have to sell one vehicle to finance the next project.  There is a 1957 Slider convertible waiting in the garage for a new life. 

This car is the culmination of numerous ideas and dreams. It is ideal for parades given the automatic transmission.  It is a pleasure to drive as it is just "Gas And Go" and it makes the MANY rides you will give easier to endure..

The asking price for this novel item is $18,000   Reduced to $14,500 or best offer.  Price reduce due to a SUV backing into the front of the car and damaging the paint.  To add insult to injury the driver complained that my car was to small to be seen.???

 

 

This price will not cover the costs to build the car, but it is time for me to move on to the next project.

This car is considered as a great improvement to a wonderful design. It is NOT being promoted at Original or stock in anyway.  It will also require adjustments and tweaking as any one off project would.  It will be sold with no warranty stated or implied.  Come drive it and see for yourself how great this vehicle turned out. 

To the purist out there, I did not mutilate a good Bubble to build the car. You will have to admit the that it is a vast improvement over the way was in its original state.  see blue photo below. 

Kenneth Winter

423-526-1328

KLW@centurytel.net

The car is located in Tazewell TN, which is 40 miles North of Knoxville TN. The zip code is 37879 for mapping software.

 

 

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