A note from the teacher (Brian)
We realized, some time back, that we had a problem with our beautiful paint job; it seemed to chip too easily, and there were several places where the paint appeared to lift from the first primer coat. We corrected these areas as they appeared, but the concern remained; someday the car will need to find a new home and we will want to assure the new owners that they are getting the best possible restoration. So, pull the body, remove everything attached to it, strip off all the old blue and cream paint, then find someone else to paint the car! We’ve known for awhile that this rather daunting prospect was looming in the future, but the recognition at the Hillsborough Concours has re energized the project and (drum roll here)"Son Of Team Isetta " was born. Or, as Jake Blues said “we’re putting the band back together.”
Welcome friends to the Living Wisdom School's Vintage Car Restoration and Preservation honors elective, the complete rebuilding and restoration of a rare 1957 BMW Isetta 300 Cabriolet. The Team Isetta car, number 500269, was manufactured in Germany on March 18th 1957, and arrived in New York City on April 1st of the same year. The Isetta was parked with a broken drive shaft coupling sometime between 1965 and 1968, and was never driven again, becoming a sort of mini-storage and long-term affordable housing to countless generations of mice. The original owner had filled in the sunroof, and covered the factory blue paint with a fire engine red. We purchased the car in Wyoming from the second owner, and, in the back of a borrowed pickup, brought it to our school in the Sierra foothills of Northern California. Team Isetta was a four + year project, with a revolving class of two to three students between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. Classes met once a week, as well as after school and on weekends. Three of our start-up crew were members of the original Team Sprite, a remarkable eighteen month restoration of a 1958 Austin Healey bugeye Sprite.(If you're not familiar with that story, please take a moment and click on the Team Sprite photo just to your left.) After four years of meticulous work, our Isetta was started and driven for the first time at 6:00 pm on August 27th 2011, At 7:00 am the following morning it was on display at the prestigious 2011 Hillsborough Concours D' Elegance, where it was selected to participate in the Parade d' Elegance! After another year of 'fine tuning' we returned to Hillsborough on the 26th of August 2012. Once again we were asked to participate in the Parade D' Elegance, but the real surprise came when the Team Isetta car was awarded both The Chairman's Award (“presented to the exhibitor most deserving of recognition by the Concours Chairman and Vice-Chairman.”) and The People's Choice Award (“This award recognizes the automobile you would most like to drive right off the field this afternoon.”) I've always loved the Peoples Choice Award. Last year it was given to Mozart's 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Corsica (valued "in excess of $25 million"); a photo of that spectacular car hung on our shop wall for six years, I think the Mozart Bugatti is one of the most beautiful automobiles in existence. It was a most rewarding day!
The 56th Annual Hillsborough Concours D'Elegance August 2012 Team Isetta's 1957 300 Cabriolet winner of The Chairman's Award and The People's Choice Award.
Have you ever seen more than three Isettas in one day? Click on the image above and watch a parade of over 175!