1957 Bubble Window Michael Barney                              

What is your name?  Michael Barney

Where are you and your car located? Fort Wayne, IN USA

How long have you owned your Isetta?  It's been in the family since 1991.

What other information can you tell us about your car?  My story begins way back in 1959 when my Aunt bought a red sliding window Isetta for her first car.  She didn't know how to drive a stick and never really could seem to get it right, so my Grandma had to drive her everywhere in her Isetta.  Unfortunately, that car had to be sold a few years later to buy a more "practical" car.

About 13 years after my Aunts '58 was sold, my Grandma and Grandpa bought a yellow 1958 sliding window Isetta for my Uncles first car.  He loved it and did all that he could to keep it going.

On several occasions he walked out of school to find that his car had been carried up to the front door of the school by a couple of his friends.  He would then either drive it down the small flight of stairs or have a couple friends help him carry it back down.  Unfortunately, after the engine went out, the car had to be sold to the junkyard.  Then in the 1980's my Uncle unexpectedly passed away and I never got to meet him.

In 1990 my Grandpa started having the idea of trying to find another Isetta to fix up in memory of my Uncle.  After a massive search he found a couple, but they were far to rough and rusty for him to be able to fix any of them up.  Finally in winter of 1991 he located a
1957 bubble window in a barn in northern Indiana.  He went to look at it and found that it was a complete car with very little rust and bought it for $5000.  The car was in pretty rough shape with some large dents on each side where farm equipment had bumped into it.  The entire car had also been painted gold with a paint brush and regular household paint; Needless to say, it needed a little work.  So he took it to the body shop owned by a friend of his where he had all the chrome redone, repaint the entire car, new wheels and tires installed, all new rubber parts, a new interior and almost anything else you can think of. The shop had it for almost a year and when my Grandpa got it back he drove it everywhere.

As he got older he drove it less frequent but he always found some time to drive it out to our house on the other side of town to take us
for rides.  We would also occasionally pick me and my brothers up from school in the car.  I couldn't believe some of the crowds that car drew; teachers, students and even the principal.  I even remember one year school started 15 minutes late because the teachers and students wanted to look at the "little green car" in the parking lot.  My grandpa and I loved the car and we were always talking about micro-cars and what micro-cars we would love to own some day. The odd thing was, no one else in my family had an any interest in it.  Everyone else was interested in muscle cars, so my Grandpa always told me that someday it would be mine. 

Then on Sunday November 17, 2002, my family and I were watching a NASCAR race on TV when the phone rang.  It was my Grandma and Grandpa's neighbor and they were screaming into the phone, my Mom quickly gave the phone to my Dad to try to calm her down.  Evidently, she had found my Grandpa outside unconscious and not breathing.  We got there right and Medics were loading him into a ambulance so we followed them to the  hospital.  While all this was happening my Grandma was at work trying to get someone to cover he shift so she could leave.  When she finally arrived at the hospital the doctors came in to talk with us.  They said that they didn't know what was wrong with him and that they thought it was best to just let nature take its course.  The last time I saw my grandpa alive, he was pulling out of my driveway in his 1957 BMW Isetta and that is how I remember him.

I was 11 at the time and I figured the Isetta would have to be sold.  But it sat in the garage until summer of 2004 when I finally convinced my dad to go to my grandmas house and drive it.  My dad eventually got the hang of the shift pattern and soon was able to drive the car with no problems.  There it then sat again until 2005 when we started taking it to car shows where it was a huge hit and won many awards.  We take it to shows now on a regular basis and it is always a crowd pleaser.


   
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Interior Engine
 
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