Like the 170DS we featured earlier, the BMW bubble cars of the post Second World War era were the vehicles that helped BMW limp along and survive until a glut of new cars could be readied to position the company for future success. The BMW 600 was based on the smaller, two seat Isetta bubble car, but featured two extra seats and would foreshadow the larger, upcoming 700. Over three years, around 35,000 were built, eclipsed in numbers by the larger Volkswagen Beetle. While it might have not lit the sales charts on fire, this was still an important car in BMWs history and was the first car in the range to use a semi-trailing arm rear suspension, something the company would propagate throughout their lineup over the coming decades. This 600 for sale in the Chicago area is a fully restored example.
Engine: 1.7 liter inline four
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 802 km (~ 498 miles)
Price: €45,000 (~ $60,192 USD)
1959 BMW 600. Gorgeous Nut & Bolt Restoration! Most collectors favorite Micro Car.
Before we go into details on this 1959 BMW 600 2 door “limo” let us tell you a little about the car that you are looking at in particular. This particular car has been restored by a collector who does nothing but meticulous restorations to his vehicles. For starters this is the European model and only 8,500 were brought into the United States. When you are talking about the European model, you are talking about the model that has the sunroof. This particular car, besides being a chassis off restoration, by this we mean every nut and bolt was taken apart and restored, including a brand new interior, paint, chrome and tires. What is interesting about this particular model is that it is a 2-door model having the front door but an extended wheel base with the swing-arm suspension that makes a much wider tread in the rear for better balance and cornering and a side door for an additional two passengers.
The current owner since the restoration was completed three months ago has taken several 25 mile trips and finds the car to be in excellent mechanical and running condition from the restoration. The 26 hp engine pulls very strongly. It is interesting to note that these two-door BMW 600s were called limos. Please note that in the video there is a typographical error that states it is a 3 door but it is a 2 door car (front and side door with rear seat). It is also interesting to note that at the Bruce Weiner Microcar auction, an almost identical car to this was sold for $92,000.00 and it makes the reserve on this car look very, very attractive. (Sorry but we do not give out the reserves).
The seller wanted us to point out that this is NOT an Isetta but a BMW 600. There is a vast difference. Isettas may bring $37,000.00 however the price for a BMW 600 has brought up to $92,000.00! This is a rare original color combination and the car outperforms the old Isetta 10 fold! The following information is provided from the Internet on the BMW 600 and most of it should be applicable to this car for sale.
The front end of the 600 was virtually unchanged from the Isetta, but the 600’s wheelbase was stretched to accommodate four seats. A conventional rear axle was added. BMW introduced the semi-trailing arm independent suspension on the 600. This suspension would be used on almost every new model for the next four decades. Because of the increased size and weight, the 600 had a more powerful engine than the Isetta. The 600 had a 582 cc twin engine. Top speed was 103 km/h (64 mph). In the late 1950s, consumers wanted cars that looked like cars, and they had lost interest in economy models. Sales of the 600 were, however, aided by the energy crisis of 1956–1957.
BMW 600: the largest of the BMW Bubble Cars. At a time when cheap, short-distance transportation was incredibly preferred by consumers, BMW introduced the Isetta in November of 1953 at Turin. One of the most successful microcars that were produced in the post-WWII years, the egg-shaped Isetta’s design originated in Italy. The Isetta received the nickname ‘bubble car’ because of its bubble-like windows and its egg shape. Other nicknames for the Isetta were ‘das rollende Ei’; the rolling egg in Germany, along with the ‘Sargwagen’; coffin car, ‘yogurt pot’ in France, ‘huevito’; little egg in Chili and in Brazil, the ‘bola de futebol de fenemê’; soccer ball of FNM.
The BMW Isetta microcar was a popular car, but it was deemed too small to compete with the Volkswagen Beetle. So, in 1957, BMW introduced a large, four-seater version called the 600. It used the Isetta’s front structure and unusual single front-opening door. The BMW 600 is considered by some to be the best microcar of all time, the BMW 600 caused quite a stir when it was unveiled. More unique than anything out there at the time, the ‘bubble car’ was only 7.5 feet long and 4.5 feet wide. The entire front end of the vehicle hinged outwards to allow entry, along with an exit for passenger and driver through the canvas sunroof in the event of a crash. Making access to the single bench seat simpler, both the steering wheel and instrument panel swung out with the single door. There was enough room inside the vehicle for two passengers to sit comfortably, and behind the seat was a spare wheel hidden underneath a large parcel shelf. Ventilation was available by opening up the fabric sunroof, and a heater was optional.
If you collect only the “Best of the Best” this could be a car for your discriminating collection. Bid with confidence.
Like the Amphicar and Volkswagen Bus, bubble cars have become more valuable than one would think at first. Some well restored Isettas have brought strong money; upwards of $40,000 in some cases. I’d suspect this larger 600 might hit into the low $30,000 range, given the reserve is still on as of writing this at just over $25,000. Considering this was meant to be basic transportation meant to get people mobile again in post war Germany, that is rather impressive.