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BMW Isetta Car Club

VELAM Isetta

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BMW wasn't the only company to license the Isetta from Iso of Italy -- they were joined by another all-caps car company, the practically named VELAM (Vhicular lger Moteur [light vehicle with motor]), a French company. Whereas BMW started with the body style of the original Iso Isetta but with their own engine, VELAM developed their own body but kept the original Iso engine.

And what a body it was! Arguably the most beautiful of the Isetta styles, the VELAM interpretation was rounder and more egg-like than Iso's Isetta and was fringed with art-deco style bumpers. The VELAM Isetta did not have an honest-to-goodness frame like the Italian and German versions. Instead, a sub-frame in the rear, which held the rear tires, engine, and transmission, was bolted to the body. The front tires were separately bolted to the chassis. Instead of a handle, the VELAM Isetta had an elegant push button mechanism to open the door. Also somewhat unusual was the placement of the speedometer: Right in the center of the steering wheel!

The VELAM Isetta was known by the French as the ‘yogurt pot’ because it resembled the small, roundish glass jars of yogurt sold in stores at the time and because the cars, often white, were the color of yogurt.

VELAM made five versions of the car: the Isetta (their standard version), the Dcapotable cabriolet (the convertible version of the Isetta), the Ecrin (a sliding window luxury version of the Isetta), a one-off "Sport" version of the Isetta, and a race car reportedly called the Isetta Speciale (or the VELAM Course).

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VELAM Isetta

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VELAM Decapotable Cabriolet

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VELAM Ecrin

 

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VELAM "Sport"

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VELAM Isetta Course

 

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VELAM Isetta specifications:

Motor:

  • 236 cc
  • 2 cylinders with a common chamber (the ‘twingle’)
  • 10.5 hp at 4,500 rpm
  • Compression ratio of 6.5:1
  • Single barrel Solex carburator
  • 3% oil to fuel ratio; 30 weight oil recommended
  • Air-cooled

Transmission:

  • 4-speed with reverse
  • synchronized
  • no differential

Suspension:

  • front- Neimann rubber spring/damper units
  • rear – quarter eliptical leaf springs with tube shocks

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Brakes:

  • Drums on all four wheels
  • Hydraulic brakes, mechanical parking brake on right rear

Dimensions:

  • 2.38 meters long
  • 1.32 meter tall
  • 1.42 meters wide
  • Wheelbase: 1.5 meters
  • Track in front: 1.22 meters
  • Track in rear: 0.5 meters
  • Weight: 704 pounds

Performance:

  • Top speed: 45 to 50 mph, depending on wind speed
  • Acceleration: 0 to 30 mph in about 15 seconds
  • Mileage: 50 to 65 mpg

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