It’s been nearly 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell, but those of us well-versed in history or with family from Europe have certainly not forgotten. BMW hasn’t either, and recently published a short film documenting the roll an Isetta microcar played in freeing a total of nine students from East Berlin in the mid 1960s.
BMW has a respected track record when it comes to film, something that we have discussed at length on this site. Recently, it seems the filmmaking efforts have been the subject of renewed focus, and The Small Escape is three-minute and 52-second masterpiece that deserves your attention.
Although the short film focuses on just one small element of the full story, which BMW chronicles in detail on a dedicated website, the clip will cause many to experience a wide range of emotion. There are moments of suspense and uncertainty, and despite its short length, the film is also very detailed in the way it portrays the lead up to the first escape. By the end, you’re likely to be left feeling a marked sense of gratitude, and appreciation for the goodness that exists in mankind.
There’s also the reality of the Isetta being a far less-than-optimal choice for ferrying freedom seekers to safety. The Isetta was originally designed to carry two individuals, and relied on a 298cc single developing 13 horsepower for motivation. Anyone that’s ever been around one in person can appreciate the scale of the dimensions, which include a length of just 93 inches, and a curb weight well below 1,000 pounds. Still, those involved with the escape effort found enough room for a single stowaway, who had to lay on their side next to the running engine for as long as a few hours to get through the border crossing checkpoint. Space was at such a premium, the factory gas tank was removed, with a two-liter container in its place containing just enough fuel to get the job done.
Check out the full video below to see how it all came together.—Alex Tock
[Photos and video courtesy BMW AG.]