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1961 Isetta 300 (British)

Isettas were also made under license in France, Spain, Brazil and England. The British-built cars were promoted by Ronnie Ashley, an ex-pilot who had turned to motor manufacture, and were sold to British Commonwealth countries.

The cars were built at the old Brighton Locomotive works which, in March 1957, had ended production of steam locomotives. Two railway tracks ran through the works making it ideal for conversion to small car manufacture: all parts could be delivered by rail. The works were situated on top of a very steep hill and therefore were not accessible by road. Within three weeks of work starting on the factory conversion, the production line for Isettas was ready to roll.

The main change to the car for the British market was the introduction of a three-wheeled, right hand drive version. This was particularly attractive, as road tax favored the three-wheeler considerably. An automatic clutch was also available.

The rhd model’s door was hinged from the right hand side of the car and the steering column was moved across to the right as well. Unfortunately, the rhd conversion put engine and driver, and hence most of the weight, on the same side of the car and to compensate for the imbalance, a heavy counterweight was placed behind the trim panel on the nearside. Lucas electrics were used as opposed to the German Hella , with a different headlamp housing being used, as well as Dunlop tires.

This car was restored in England

Manufacturer: Isetta of Great Britain Ltd., Brighton England

Model: 300 Motor: BMW, 4-stroke Body: Steel
Years Built: April 1957 – July 1964 No. Cylinders: 1 Chassis: Tube
No. Produced: 30 000 Displacement: 295cc Suspension Front: Coil
No. Surviving: 600? Horsepower: 13 Suspension Rear: Leaf
Length: 7' 10" Gearbox: 4 rev Steering: Rack & Pinion
Width: 4' 8" Starter: Dynastart Brakes: Hydraulic
Weight: 784 lbs. Electrics: 12 v 3 Wheels: 4.80 x 10"
Interior: Bench Ignition: Coil Top Speed: 53 mph

© 2002