Isetta car parked not far from Loving Dalston’s office could be part of a solution to London congestion… except that it’s one of the few surviving examples in roadworthy condition. It takes up little road space and does about 50mpg. Trouble is, through clearly once again in its prime, it is old and rare.
Five decades ago, Loving Dalston is told, bubble cars, as they were known, rode a surge of popularity in a time of postwar shortages and limited buying power. The München manufacturer BMW obtained a licence to manufacture the Italian designer-maker Iso’s Isetta and the re-engineered German version with its one-cylinder, four-stroke motorcycle engine became a bestseller soon after it tootled into motoring history in 1955.
An English company was set up, unveiling its version of of the 300 model at Brighton in 1957. The British Isetta did not sell well, but the introduction of a three-wheeled version to fit into a low UK tax band, boosted sales.
Eventually, growing affluence made bubble cars undesirable, as if their owner could afford nothing showier, and production of Britain’s Isetta ended in the early 1960s.
Now the micro is big. But the modern successor, such as the G-Wiz of The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, is no looker compared with its 1950s ancestor. Loving Dalston hopes to take a run in this expensively restored Isetta and report back.
Anyone know where this Cockney queen of the road stands? Clue: it’s on a Hackney bus route.