Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Owners Manual Update

I've updated the Owners Manual with an annex for the U.S. model Isettas. It includes a wiring diagram for the U.S. Isettas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Muffler

In an earlier post I was complaining about the fit and quality of a muffler and heat exchanger I purchased from Group Harrington. I recently decided to replace the Harrington muffler with a quality German made muffler. The new German made muffler is an exact match to the Isettas original muffler and it was a perfect fit with no modification.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hella Turn Signal Lenses

Something that my Isettas and Goggomobil have in common is that the both use the same Hella front turn signal lenses.

The lenses on my red Isetta are in pretty good condition, but the lenses on my white Isetta are discolored, crazed, and cracked.

The lenses on my Goggomobil are cracked and broken around the holes for the mounting screws.

Back when I first bought my Isettas, I purchased a set of after market lenses on ebay. As you can see in the photo, the aftermarket lenses are not quite the same quality as an original Hella lens. The screw holes are much larger and missing the metal grommet that is used in a Hella lens. You can also see bubble inclusions in the plastic.

The backside of an aftermarket lense. While the quality is not the same as a Hella lens, you rarely see NOS Hella lenses, or if you do, they're pretty pricey. I was planning on using these aftermarket lenses on my white Isetta, but recently there was a seller on ebay selling NOS Hella lenses.

I managed to pick up a few sets of the NOS Hella lenses for about the same price as I paid for the aftermarket lenses. I think the difference in quality is pretty evident in these photos.

Hella lens on the left, the aftermarket lens on the right.

Since I needed another set of lenses for my Goggomobil, I'm really happy to have found these NOS Hella lenses for a reasonable price.

Isetta Animated Advertisement - 1950's

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goggomobile Cutaway Display Car

This Goggomobil cutaway display was made by trade school students in Germany and presented to BMW's Werk's 2.1 museum in Dingolfing. Click on the photo to go to an interesting webpage with more photos of this car.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Isetta - Speedometer Update

I just got my speedometer back from Palo Alto Speedometer and it looks great! It got a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. To see the before and after photos click here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Isetta - Carburetor Bing #1/22/98

A couple of new photos of the carburetor with the cables and rubber boots installed. Click here for more carburetor info and photos.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1959 Goggomobil T400 Limo

I had a very exciting and exhausting weekend. I purchased a 1959 Goggomobil T400 with 7000 original miles. The car was located about 900 miles away. I drove 14 hours on Saturday, picked the car up on Sunday morning, and drove 14 hours straight back to KC. The trip was full of drama, trailer problems, bad weather, road construction delays, but I made it back and the Goggo is safely tucked in its new home. The car is very low milage. The body is excellent, virtually no rust anywhere on this car. The engine is partially disassembled and will need rebuilt, and the interior is rough but complete. I have my parts catalog ordered from Uwe Staufenberg, and can't wait to start the restoration of this gorgeous little Goggomobil.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dymaxion Car - Buckminster Fuller

Once again I'm getting a little off the topic of Isettas or even microcars, but recently I picked up a book that is so awesome, I feel compelled to do a post about it. I've admired Buckminster Fuller for a long time. Several years ago while in Japan, I was fortunate enough to see the Buckminster Fuller exhibition "Your Private Sky - R. Buckminster Fuller - Art Design Science" The sole surviving incomplete Dymaxion car was not in this show, but there was a nice model of the Dymaxion as well as many historical documents, photographs, and films. Recently a new book has come out titled "Dymaxion Car Buckminster Fuller". It is published by Architecture Ivory Press. There were originally three Dymaxion cars built. The first one was completed in 1933. Of the three cars built, there is only one incomplete survivor owned by the National Auto Museum in Reno, NV. In 2008 the British architect Norman Foster decided to recreate the Dymaxion. Foster enlisted vintage race car specialist Crosthwaite & Gardiner to build the car. Working with the Dymaxion Chronofile at Stanford University and the National Auto Museum in Reno, Crosthwaite & Gardiner set out to recreate as accurate as possible recreation of the Dymaxion #3. The Dymaxion Car book is kind of divided in half. The first half of the book is dedicated to the original three Dymaxions. Lots of great historical documents, drawings and photographs. The second half of the book is dedicated to documenting the recreation of a forth Dymaxion car commissioned by Norman Foster and built by Crosthwaite & Gardiner. If you're a fan of Buckminster Fuller or have an affinity for automotive history, design, engineering or fabrication, this is a must have book.

Rear view of car #1 with framing in progress, July 9,1933.

The framed up "hull" of car #1, 1933

Completed Dymaxion car #1, 1933

Interior of Dymaxion car #1

Dymaxion car #3 photographed at the Chicago World Fair in the summer of 1934.

Patent application drawing. Patent #2,101,057 was granted on December 7, 1937.

Detail of the steering gear housing for car #3, dated December 13, 1933.

Drawing of the never built triple engine Dymaxion D-45, 1942

Crosthwaite & Gardiner building the frame for Dymaxion #4.

The chassis, engine and running gear in the process of being dry assembled.

Steven Aspden of Peter Freebody & Co at work on the ash frame.

Fitting the aluminum body panels to the frame.

The final body panels were made by Roach Manufacturing - a company with expertise in forming complex aluminum body panels.

The completed rolling chassis waiting for the delivery of the body.

The bodywork being fitted to the chassis.

Click on the photo to view a video of Norman Foster driving the Dymaxion he commissioned Crosthwaite & Gardener to build.

Here are a few more links about Dymaxion #4 that you might want to check out:

My personal opinion is that this is a really great thing for Bucky's legacy that Norman Foster has done. Once again people will be able to experience first hand the imagination and ingenuity of Buckminster Fuller. There is no doubt that Buckminster Fuller will continue to inspire future generations of forward thinking visionaries working towards more sustainable and harmonious ways of harnessing the resources of planet earth. Definitely a man way ahead of his time. One last thought, how about a Revell 1/18 scale die-cast of the Dymaxion. I would think that virtually every museum shop and design store would want to carry it, and a portion of the sales could benefit the Buckminster Fuller Institute. A Dymaxion die-cast sure would look cool sitting next to my Revell Isetta w/ Camper.