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1959 BMW Isetta – “Whatta Drag”

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For decades, counltess muscle cars and luxury classics have inspired toy models from the revered Hot Wheels toy brand.  Every once in a while, life imitates art and the roles reverse themselves– as it was with the 1959 BMW Isetta – “Whatta Drag”.  This custom drag race microcar was inspired by a Hot Wheels toy instead of the other way around.  “Whatta Drag” was a toy-ish take on the classic BMW Isetta “bubble car”, a microcar sold in Europe in the 1950s.

Hot Wheels admiration of the BMW Isetta is also shared by microcar enthusiasts, perhaps most famously by collector Bruce Weiner.  Weiner was so taken with the “Whatta Drag” hot wheels car that he commissioned a real-life version to be built from an actual 1959 BMW Isetta.  Next thing you know, this 50 year-old single seater was mated with a 730-horsepower Chevy V8 engine and the “Whatta Drag” took shape– yielding one of the most unlikely vehicles ever built.

This real-life Hot Wheels car isn’t designed just to look good, it’s built to be a fully-functional drag racer.  It’s got its Isetta body and Chevy heartbeat, but its stacked with a whole lot more in the component department:

Power is transmitted via a two-speed manual transmission, and the dual circuit disc brake system also incorporates an AP balance bar for burnouts and donuts. In keeping with its BMW roots, the suspension is from an M3; the chromed five-spoke front tires use the BMW roundel logo and are shod with B.F. Goodrich G-Force tires. The single rear wheel is a custom 18 inch by13 inch drag racing wheel with a Sumitomo HTRZ II tire.

Like the rest of Mr. Weiner’s massive microcar collection, the 1959 BMW Isetta “Whatta Drag” will be auctioned off in mid-February in Georgia at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum.  It is expected to fetch between $75,000 and $100,000 at auction, an understandable sum for a one-of-a-kind vehicle like this.  [rm auctions]

TheCoolist will be in attendance at the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum for the microcar auction this month, so stay tuned for future updates.

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1959 BMW Isetta – “Whatta Drag” | Gallery