BASF updates 1953 BMW "bubble car" with modern materials and electronics
By C.C. Weiss
October 30, 2013
It must get boring and lonely spending your days in a lab, mixing up slightly different plastics, epoxies and composites. Perhaps that's why BASF is making a push to get out in front of the world and show what these materials can really do. Prior to the Concept 1865 plastic bike, the German company updated a 1958 BMW Isetta "bubble car" with some of its materials and coatings. The car, which makes the Smart ForTwo look rather roomy, also gets a unique home entertainment system.
BASF selected the BMW Isetta because the front-hatched microcar from the 50s and 60s is still a head-turner today. It makes the perfect canvas for making auto materials and coatings seem way more interesting than they really are. Nicknamed the MySetta, the 1958 Isetta 250's chassis, body and interior have been refurbished.
BASF doesn't mention any type of mechanical tuning, so we're led to believe that the MySetta is still powered by the original 13-hp 298cc one-cylinder motorcycle engine. Unless BASF's upgrades cut significant weight, that means the car still tops out just north of 50 mph (80 km/h).
No matter how you look at it, the Isetta's interior looks painfully cramped and uncomfortable. BASF didn't solve this problem completely, but it attempted to alleviate it with updated materials. The two seats were gutted and re-cushioned with Elastoflex W polyurethane foam, the same brand of foam used on the Concept 1865's saddle. The company classifies the material as firm yet comfortable. The seats and interior lining were trimmed in a soft-touch material based on BASF's Steron.
BASF ran the body through its Coatings’ Refinish Competence Center in Münster. There, it reached into its Glasurit paint portfolio, refreshing the Isetta's look with a metallic Bluetta and Big White exterior.
Ironically, the most interesting part of BASF's Isetta update is the one that has nothing to do with its products. In order to give folks a little extra incentive to enjoy that modernized interior, it added a "home" entertainment system inside the car.
"The parcel shelf is equipped with stereo speakers and a video projector, which allows any picnic excursion to be expanded into an open-air movie night," BASF explains in its press release.
The little microcar gives the Mini Movie Campy a little competition in the custom, drive-up summer theater segment. From its brief description, we gather it projects the film straight out the front hatch onto an external screen.
BASF revealed its completed MySetta to shareholders in April and detailed it to the media last month.