Monday, February 09, 2009

The BMW 600, also known as the Isetta limo

Designed by Willy Black, the BMW 600 was intended as an enlarged Isetta three-wheeler with more power and a more conventional four-wheel configuration.
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 extra size and weight, the 600 had a more powerful engine than the Isetta. The 600 had the 582 cc twin engine from the R67 motorcycle. Top speed was 64 mph.

In two years only 34,000 600's were produced, partly due to price competition with the entry-level VW Beetle. In the late 50's 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 1956-57.
The normal 300 in contrast had top speed of 53 mph, and it got 63 miles per gallon. In 1958 you could buy one for $1,093.

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