Rathgar sale: pristine microcars including a Goggomobil Dart and a BMW Isetta 300

The online sale of eight rare vintage cars is expected to achieve in the region of €170,000-€180,000 this week

A collection of eight, rare vintage cars, including a Goggomobil Dart and a BMW Isetta 300, are set to be auctioned online by classic car dealer, David Golding Cars, in Rathgar, October 22nd-29th.

Amassed over the past 20 years by veteran collector Brendan Coyle, the eight rare vintage cars are expected to achieve between €170,000-€180,000.

Micro cars became popular after the second World War as demand for low cost, personal motorised transport emerged, especially due to soaring fuel prices as a result of the Suez Crisis of 1956.

Coyle began collecting microcars as a teen in the 1960s, when they would have been popular around Dublin. Two decades ago, he began again in earnest.


“I set a rule when starting this collection. I would only buy cars where bodywork was in pristine condition. You can always work on the mechanics, but bodywork is a different story”.

There’s a video on Goldings website showing him test driving the 1960s Goggomobil Dart in which he laughs saying “it’s almost like driving lying down”. Indeed, the car is so minute, if he donned a blue hat you might think it was Noddy driving around the back roads of Swords.

The convertible is Coyle’s favourite, and though it looks very much like an E-Type Jaguar, it precedes the classic by three years. Only ever sold in Australia, it is one of 700 such cars produced. Interestingly, the saloon model of this car was manufactured by Flaherty Motors in Dublin, and Coyle has an old advertisement from Ballsbridge Motors, selling them for £359.

Another interesting model is the 1958 Zundapp Janus 250. With the engine capacity of a quarter of a litre, Coyle drove this car in the Liège to Brescia Rally in 2018, covering the 3,000 kilometres between Belgium and Italy.

“It has two bench seats that can actually turn into a bed. But you get strange looks on motorways, especially from big articulated trucks, as the two front passengers face the front but the two back passengers look out the rear window”.

If you think the 1963 Messerschmitt KR200 looks like an aircraft cockpit, you are not wrong. Its design was based on the ME109 fighter plane (the German counterpart of a Spitfire), as the company also produced these fighter planes. Here, though, the passenger sits behind the driver, and instead of a wheel there is a flying column, while the entire cockpit can flip over easily so both occupants can egress at pace.

But the car, in the all-German pristine collection, that really makes a statement is the 1960 BMW Isetta 300. “This is what saved BMW’s business,” says Coyle. “The company made motorbikes but people wanted more comfort than that, so they modelled it on the Italian Isetta (which was made by a fridge manufacturer and used fridge technology). It was the first car BMW ever made themselves, and their huge showroom in Germany has the exact same car on show, to serve as a reminder to shareholders and employees that this little microcar saved their bacon.”

Incidentally the Microlino electric car, launched earlier this year, is based on the BMW Isetta.


Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables