The world gains a BMW micro-dragster

31 January, 2013 | by Lance Branquinho

Just admit that you want it…We do too.

Thanks to Jeremy’s antics with it, most people think Peel P50 when they imagine a micro car.

But, as usual, the Germans were at it too. Most notably BMW with its Isetta. It was hardly a flawless piece of German engineering, though.

As Jeremy has mentioned before, one of the downfalls of the Isetta is that it has no reverse gear, so if you park in front of a wall, you can’t get out as the door’s at the front. Thankfully, someone’s overcome that showstopper… by building a 536kW V8-powered Isetta dragster powerful enough to plough through anything in front of it.

This dragster was initially a Hot Wheels die-cast toy from 1998 called ‘Whatta Drag’ designed by Phil Riehlman. Then microcar collector Bruce Weiner wanted a life-sized, fully-functioning version, so he put it in front of the ‘Honey I Blew Up The Kids’ machine in 2005.

The results? It’s built from the bodyshell of an original 1959 BMW Isetta, but with a new welded steel frame that extends its length to over 3.65m.

Then a 502-cubic inch (8.1-litre) Chevrolet “big block” crate engine, with a BDS supercharger, twin Holley 750 CFM double pumper carburetors, and Zoomies exhaust headers were thrown behind the driver. This gives out 536kW – 527kW more than the original Isetta – so in order to get that power down, a massive custom 18 inch by 13 inch drag racing wheel and tyre was been fitted.

The gearbox has been upgraded to a two-speed manual transmission (still no reverse), while a new circuit disc brake system, suspension from an M3 and an AP wheelie bar have been added so you aren’t sent skywards.

The car’s hitting the block on Saturday February 16 and is expected to go for between R450 and R700k. It would be money very well spent, we think.


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