|The title pretty much says it all.
We've gathered up some classic shots that have been taken of various Isetta configurations, goof-off shots and stories about the various uses that Isettas have been tasked with.
If you have any Isetta-related pix you think would be appropriate to post here, please email them to us via the Feedback link along with the story behind them and your permission to use it. That shot on the left of your screen is Firemarshal Bill Waite's car carefully situated under Izilla.
Revised March 2004
Isetta John Wetzel explains what's going on in this shot:
"Here's a photo of Chris Farley in my car I rented to Saturday Night Live for a skit that was never seen because it wound up on the cutting room floor. It was called Tortoise Man. It was filmed on location at a closed down fast food place in Queens, New York. The story idea was that here was this little boy who eats alot and later in life he got so big that he became trapped in his car much like the tortoise trapped in its shell and he lives in the car forever".
"To make Chris look bigger they took the windows out of the car, put Chris into a BIG foam rubber suit and put another person in the suit with him! This way when the car was shown there were two arms sticking out of the side windows like he's this really huge person filling up the entire car. I always was going to go back to get Chris to autograph the pictures, but shortly after this filming he left the show so I never got the chance" ... JW
If the car looks familiar, it is the same one that's in the picture down the page with “Helga” standing in it. The same car was also used in a Comedy Central show with comic Jeff Ross in his rap music video parody titled I've Got a Little Penis featured thru the entire video. It was used one last time for a music video in NYC with German recording artist BODO for his song Before You Wave Goodbye. It might be the most commercially used Isetta around other than the Urkel car from Family Matters which was really 4 or 5 Isettas that were used during the show.
These two are no dummies when it comes to their taste in cars.
No jack? No problem.
Speaking of Jak's, if you're ever in the Canyon Lake, Texas neighborhood, here's a culinary tip worth looking into.
Hmmm ... let's see here, hooded babe hits on dude with ladder and hula hoop while parked on tarmac at airport by cool plane while he's trashing her paint job with bottom of ladder and ... This could be a still from a REALLY bad movie.
Speaking of babes, here we have our lovely assistant Helga conducting a stress-test on a pair of size 8 undies. If that thing ever lets go, someone's gonna get killed.
If and when Helga ever gets through with her "presentation" and turns that ignition key on, this is the next sound you'll hear. Note: This is an 8 MB audio/video download. The mpeg runs around 90 seconds. High volume (sounds awesome on 11) and a cranked-up subwoofer will greatly enhance the experience. This clip is the same one posted in the Services section under Perry's Motorcycles and Sidecars.
Planning a bank heist? How about this for a low profile getaway car? For some strange reason, this looks like it oughta be Helga's car.
We don't need no stinkin' Surburban!
As obscure as the Isetta is, part of the fun of owning one is the never-ending stream of stories people come up with. There are stories about the family Isetta, the junior high teacher's Isetta that always ended up sideways on the loading dock, and on, and on, and on.
One good one we were told concerned a US Military installation in Germany back in the '60's. Seems like a bridge had washed out and was being guarded on one side by US troops and on the other by German troops. Out of nowhere, here comes one of the locals in his Isetta running flat out on the US side. A couple of the guards jumped out of the truck and waved him down only to see him hit the brakes and skid down the river bank and stop, door-first in the mud. The guy was OK, as was his Isetta. They hitched the wench on the duece-and-a-quarter up to the chain drive and pulled him back out. After collecting his thoughts, the driver thanked the Yanks, did a 180 and took the long way home.
Another yarn came from a lady that lived next door to the location where we were dismantling our car. She always dropped by to watch the progress. Seems like a couple of weeks before her daughter's (now in her early 60's) 16th birthday, she and her husband asked their daughter what she wanted for a present. Her reply? "An Isetta!". Well, the folks weren't about to part with $1000, or ANY amount of money, for a car for her. The morning of her birthday, she got up and shot straight out to the garage ... no Isetta. Then she went running out the front door to look in the driveway ... no Isetta. In a state of total disbelief, she announced that she was not going to school and spent the rest of the day in her bedroom sobbing. She never got her Isetta but lived to tell about it.
Here's a wacky one that has that 'old wive's tale' sound about it. A guy was talking about his Dad's Isetta and the fact that a friend's Isetta had a dead battery at work one day. His Dad agreed to jump start it but only had one good jumper cable. They parked their cars facing each other, hooked up the one cable to the positive side of their respective batteries, touched the doors together for the ground side and cranked the dead car right up. Sounds like some quick thinking but you be the judge.
Then there was the guy that smuggled no telling how many people out of East Berlin during the Berlin Wall days. Apparently, he had clearance to come and go on a regular basis over a long period of time. People hid in a secret compartment under the parcel tray in his Isetta, balled up over the chain drive. His demise? As the story goes, he had an elderly lady he was sneaking into West Berlin. While at the guard house, the lady tried to resituate herself and in the process, grabbed the exhaust pipe to steady herself. The ensuing yell alerted the guards to what was going on.
By the way, there's a show on PBS called Rick Steve's Europe. If you get a chance to see the Berlin episode, there's footage of this Isetta in the program along with the story.
Click here for a screen shot of a copy of the original patent document submitted to the US Patent Office by Renzo Rivolta. This one was up for grabs on eBay.