There are some strange chapters
in the history of any great car manufacturer, and one
of the worlds greatest marques, BMW, has two that come
readily to mind.
The first is EMW (Eisenacher Motoren-Werke),
the East Germany company that continued to build cars
after World War 2 from a former BMW plant (they were originally
also trading as BMW but were forced to change their
name to EMW following legal action). The second was
BMW's liscencing of the Iso Isetta "Bubble
Car" in 1955.
Looking more like a novelty than a real car by today's
standards, the vehicle was in fact way ahead of it's time
and proved to be very popular in Germany, taking on rivals
Heinkel and Messerschmitt.
Even today, with the advent
of the Mercedes Smart car, manufacturers realise the importance
of having a small economical city car available.
With folding roof and wrap around rear window, the driver
and passenger entered via a front hinged door that also
lifted the steering wheel when opened. Built with 4 wheels
for the local market, some 3 wheel versions were manufactured
for the export market.
Powered by BMW's 247 or 297 cc
single cylinder motor, the vehicle had a top speed over
50 mph and was the forebear to such vehicles as the BMW
600 and 700.