The BMW Isetta, pictured, is among the most iconic microcars, but was not developed by the German automaker. Refrigeration magnate Renzo Rivola saw an opportunity to create the small economical car he yearned for, acquiring the patents for a design that would become the Isetta – diminutive of Iso, the name of his company. At just over two metres long, the egg-shaped Iso Isetta was unique in having a single door on its front, to which the steering column and instrument panel were attached. Early models were three-wheelers, but a fourth wheel was later added for stability. Its 236cc two-stroke engine produced all of 9.5 horsepower, comparable to the output of riding lawnmowers of today.
Pictured, four Isettas await buyers in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, in 1958. (Al Moldvay/The Denver Post via Getty Images)