Italian Classic Car 3 Wheels
The most significant Italian 3-wheels classic car is the Isetta. This is a microcar designed by the Italian engineers that was produced in the years that followed the end of World War II, when cheap transportation on short distances was of the essence. Its design and its impressive performance (for its size) made it one of the most successful and inspirational cars.
The Isetta is also known as the bubble car, because of its egg shape and its windows shaped like a bubble. The Italian firm that originally produced it in the 1950s was called Iso SpA. The one who envisioned this amazing 3-wheels Italian car was the owner of the firm, Renzo Rivolta that wanted to build a small size car for distribution purposes. His desire was made reality by two talented engineers of the time: Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi, who used a scooter engine to power the car and called it Isetta, a diminutive that means little ISO in Italian.
In November 1953, the Italian 3-wheels classic car was first presented to the public and received only positive criticism. The car was unique. It had only 1.37 meters and an interesting egg-like design. In case of a crash the car was equipped with a canvas sunroof that could be used by the driver and the passenger as an escape exit. To make access to the bench seat simpler for people, the steering wheel and the instrument panel swung out with the door. The seats were comfortable enough for two persons and behind the seats there was a parcel shelf. Below the parcel shelf a spare wheel could be found. The optional feature for the car was the heater.
The 3-wheels wonder was powered by a two-cylinder two-stroke motorcycle engine with a capacity of 236 cubic centimeters. When it comes to speed, you must know that the manual gearbox aloud four different forward speeds and reverse. The position of the wheels, at least for the first prototypes, was one wheel at the rear and two at the front, the car being exposed to roll-overs.
If you are interested in the models available at the time you must know that only two existed. One was the egg-shaped Turismo with its 50 cm rear track, while the other one, the Autocarro, came with a full-width rear axle. The Autocarro was also available in a few body styles: an enclosed truck, a pickup or a tilt-bed.
When it came to performance the Italian 3-wheels classic car was impressive as well. In 1954 it actually compete in the legendary Mille Miglia competition, where the Isetta occupied the first three places in the economy classification. That was possible, because over 1,600 km (1,000 miles) the car was able to achieve the average speed of 70 km/h (43 mph). That is very impressive considering that its maximum speed was of 15 km/h (43 mph). But, in time, mainly due to the Fiat 500C model, the Isetta started loosing its popularity.
Renzo Rivolta became interested in sport cars as well and introduced the Iso Rivolta. Later on he sold the license to build Isetta and Iso Rivolta cars to many important companies like BMW. It is believed that over the years more than 4,000 of these cars were built in different locations. The production ceased in 1958. But what we can’t deny is that the Isetta is the ultimate 3-wheels Italian classic car that will be remembered by all car lovers.
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