Cohort Outtake: Bond Bugs Bugging An Isetta

Bond Bug and Isetta

This is quite the odd assemblage of microcars: A BMW Isetta with two Bond Bugs bringing up the rear. William Oliver posted this, and titled it “Oddities”. Fair enough. 

Bond Bug fq

I’ve never seen a Bond Bug in the flesh, and they’re not exactly common, as only 2,270 were made between 1970 and 1974. Unlike the Isetta, the Bug was brisk: it could do 76 mph, thanks to its 29 or 32 hp 700cc four, as also used in the Reliant Regal.

Bond Bug int

It was marketed as a fun-mobile; a go kart for the streets. Its pricing was the most obvious impediment to success, as it cost a bit more than a Mini 850.


A Bond Bug was the basis of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder.

Bond Bug rq

A wonderful bit of seventies’ whimsy.

BMW Isetta 300ffq

Sad to say, we’ve yet to do a proper CC on the Isetta, the definitive German bubblecar. We have done the Goggomobile, the Messerschmitt and even the obscure Libelle, but no Isetta. One of thes days I’d like to do a proper retrospective, but the very short story is that BMW licensed the Italian Isetta, and then used its own engines and other running gear. The original Isetta 250 had the bubble windows of the Italian Isetta, but the 300, which came out in 1956, and was the definitive version, had more conventional sliding side windows.

BMW Isetta 300 rr

The engines were based on BMW’s single cylinder 250 motorcycle engine, with a fan to keep it cool. The 300 mustered 13 hp, enough for a top speed of 53 mph. I remember seeing plenty of these in Innsbruck in the late fifties, carrying German tourists south, with bags tied to the rear luggage rack. For many Germans, this was the first chance they ever had to indulge their wanderlust, and drive themselves to Tirol and over the Brenner Pass (slowly), into Italy; the Isetta was heading back to its country of origin.