Motor Mouth Blog


Sprucing up the Isetta


An update by Renee Crist – Collections Manager

The upcoming exhibit “100 years of BMW” has given me the ability to pull a vehicle from the collection and improve it for display. The car is our 1958 BMW Isetta 300 Export. It will not be in the BMW exhibit as we have examples on loan scheduled for exhibition, but I will use this one for promotional display throughout the year. We have been working on the car (on and off) it for weeks now.


We are going through the Isetta and doing a cosmetic refreshing for display, along with mechanical conservation routine work: change oil, check and treat fuel tank – it has been drained when we conserved it a few years back, lube, clean and stabilize everything etc.  The car had been repainted many years before we acquired the car into the collection. The paint job was quickly done – dull, some runs, overspray, left with the appearance of an “orange peel,” and most of the rubber was painted over. We have been cleaning all this up.


We started by removing the side windows and all of the interior, including the fab “shag-a-delic” carpet someone had installed.  I had a feeling if we wet-sanded and buffed the paint, we would have pretty nice looking finish. The car has been buffing really nicely.


We don’t plan on getting it running and operational at this time – it needs a full mechanical restoration including brakes, engine refresh, wiring, tires, steering and suspension work so that will have to wait for some time in the future when budget allows. We will be replacing the window channel and rubber for the sliding side windows, and some of the other rubber such as around the door and we will also spruce up the interior.

The next thing I’m looking for is a set of hubcaps and to obtain a set of new grilles for the door’s exterior.