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The BMW Isetta is a uniquely designed microcar, commonly referred to as a "bubble car" due to its egg shape and bubble-like windows. Originally an Italian design, it was produced under license by BMW and sold in several countries, including Germany, Britain, and Brazil. In 1955, the Isetta achieved a significant milestone as the world's first mass-production car to consume only 3L of fuel per 100 km, and with 161,728 units sold, it became the best-selling single-cylinder vehicle globally. The German version of the BMW Isetta underwent a significant redesign, most notably, replacing the original engine with a BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine producing 12 hp. Despite maintaining some original design features, most parts were re-engineered by BMW, rendering them non-interchangeable with the original Italian model. The UK version of the Isetta was right-hand drive, with the door hinged on the right and the steering column shifted to the right as well. This necessitated a 60 lb counterweight on the left side. Other modifications included replacing German Hella and Bosch components with Dunlop tires and Lucas electrics. BMW also introduced a cost-effective three-wheel version, which, categorized as a three-wheeled motorcycle, made it popular among drivers holding a motorcycle license and those wanting to avoid automobile legislation or taxation. The Isetta production run ended in 1964, but its iconic design and impressive fuel efficiency continue to hold a special place in automotive history.
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