guessed that Mr. Neal's antique is a 1956 BMW Isetta, then you guessed
When we say Mr. Neal is a very interesting
person, you can believe it!
Mr. Neal retired from Shell Oil in 1977 where he
worked as a tin smith, a profession which doesn't
exist today as it did while Neal worked at Shell
Oil. Being a tin smith meant being a craftsman,
artist, inventor, and creator all in one. You
frequently were called upon to build from
scratch, or create totally unique solutions out
of various forms of metal in order to solve
refinery plant needs.
creativeness, desire to invent, restore and build
didn't slow down after Mr. Neal's retirement! The
following are only some of Mr. Neal's past
projects and interesting ways he continues to be
several commercial mechanisms designed to
put catalyst in the furnace tubes fail
miserably, Mr. Neal decided to fabricate
one of his own. The result was a
resounding success and it is still being
used to this day.
One was sent to
Houston refinery as a Pattern so they
could make their own. However, the
engineers couldn't figure out how it
worked so they wrote back for some
instructions from Mr. Neal.
This creative desire to find a
"better way" has remained with
him in his retirement. At present he is
experimenting with "free
energy", with the aid of the
"lost inventions" of Nikola
Tesla, the true "Father of
Radio",and not Marconi, as the
history books insist.
His inventiveness began to show at an
early age. When he was about are ten he
gathered some truck innertubes and sliced
them lengthways into 2 inch straps. These
were tied together to form a heavy
elastic cord. In those days innertubes
were made of real rubber instead of
man-made rubber, and were very elastic.
It was a simple matter to tie one end
of this cord to a tree on the side of the
road and the other end to the front end
of his coaster wagon. Then a half-dozen
of his friends would drag the wagon away
from the tree to the extent of their
strength. While they held on for dear
life, the designated driver would climb
aboard. When the wagon was released the
driver would be given the
"sling-shot ride of his life"
He once made a miniature steam engine
with a bore of only 3/8 inches and a
stroke of 1/2 inch that ran like the
dickens with only 60# air Pressure.
Since his retirement he has tended
towards more serious pursuits. A case in
point is the gasoline vaporizer he
fabricated for use in place of a
carburetor in his mini-motorhome. It made
his Gasoline consumption drop from 10
miles to the Gallon to a whopping 100+
miles to the Gallon as shown on his
on-board computer and double-checked by
the conventional gas gauge.
Less demanding was the compiling of
the Comeaux genealogy. Neal has the
Comeaux family down to the year 1335, and
comprises more than 5000 names ( If any
one of them had never lived, Neal would
not have been born!) This is a sobering
In a lighter vein, he once fabricated
a bicycle out of parts from seven
different bicycles. This bike had a rear
fork that swiveled just as the front fork
did. It was extremely difficult to ride
but Mr. Neal mastered it and rode it in
Mardi Gras parades for a number of years
much to the merriment of the spectators.
Another project of his was the
restoring of a 1910 Fairbanks Morse
single cylinder Gasoline engine. He is
also restoring a 1958 Bermuda Moped.
We hope have more articles about some of Mr.
Neal's many inventions in the near future!
This article though, is about his 1956 BMW Isetta.
What is a BMW Isetta? Where better to look than
in Mr. Neal's original MANUEL D` INSTRUCTIONS! It
Motocoupe BMW-Isetta is not an automobile or a
midget car or just a scooter with weather
protection. It is rather a new solution of the
motoring problem. Its maneuverability in city
traffic, the absolute weather protection yet
permitting a draft-free open-air drive through a
folding roof and transparent canopy arrangement,
its comfortable interior dimensions, quick
acceleration and considerable top speed by a high-performance
air-cooled engine unit,are all advantages
which make the BMW-Isetta a vehicle that we are
sure will meet the motoring trend of a wide
public as a safe-to-handle runabout suitable for
city traffic and country driving, for field
tracks and highways alike. Excellent road holding
and a brake system of surprising efficiency
ensure a maximum of riding safety.
is having fun sitting in
grandpa Neal's BMW Isetta. A sticker on the front
bumper reads, "Get a horse"!
Mr. Neal has the original owners manual, as well
as, a small blue book(Montag's Blue Horse
Memorandum Book) which the original owner used to
record the mileage, gallons of gasoline used, mpg
obtained, date recorded, and remarks. The very
first entry shows 2820 miles, 2.6 gallons gas, 52
mpg, date 12/1/57 and down the remarks column
shows oil additions and changes and addition of
battery water(something we don't worry about
Where did Mr. Neal get his BMW Isetta
from? A friend of his owned the car and
for many years Mr. Neal would keep asking him if
he wanted to sell it. No, I don't want to sell
it, his friend kept answering. Finally one day,
years later, Mr. Neal's friend came and asked if
he was still interested in the car. Oh great! Now
you ask me if I want the car. I still want the
car, but when I had the money to buy it you
wouldn't sell it, now that I have a wife and four
children and can't afford it, you want to know if
I'm interested! Well, Mr. Neal's friend said he
was tired of the car and Mr. Neal could just have
it. A lot of work has been completed on the car
since then, but would you believe that this
- original paint still!
- what looks to be original
upholstery and in great shape!
- still runs, only needs a
little carburetor cleanup!
- a functional, from the
factory, sun roof canopy!
- only 38,326 original
- original hub caps (in
great shape) in a box in storage!
What are specifications for the
BMW-Isetta? We won't list
them all, but a summary of some of the usual
- Engine: BMW
single-cylinder, four-stroke engine,
- Capacity: 250 c.c. or 300 c.c. engine
(that is 14.83 cu. in./18.61 cu in.)
- Power: 12 bhp at 5,800
rpm/13 bhp at 5,200 rpm
- Clutch: single plate dry
- Transmission: BMW four
forward speed and reverse gearbox
- Weight: Curb weight
approx. 770 lbs.
- Max speed: 53 mph
- Fuel consumption: 63-67
- Fuel Tank: 3.4 U.S. Gal
The rear wheels are closer together partly
because there is no differential. The rear axle
is chain driven from the motor which is mounted
on the right side of the vehicle just in front of
the rear wheel.
When asked what they liked about the car most,
Mr. Neal's wife Jerry, said that all the
attention you get when you ride around in the car
is fun! Everyone turns and looks at you as you go
down the road and when you get in and out of the
Asked if they would ever let the car go, Mr. Neal
said that they had once written to Jay Leno to
see if he would be interested in the car as he is
a collector of old vehicles
Mr. Neal though that Tom Benson should be
interested in the car because it would be perfect
to stand up in while someone drove across the
football field and Mr. Benson could twirl his
Mrs. Neal thought a car dealership might be
interested in the car for their show room as an
attraction to car buyers! However, Mr. Benson
never answered his letter.
Maybe it's better that Mr. Neal never got an
answer, he still enjoys his 1956 BMW Isetta!