Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Did I Do That?!’ All About Steve Urkel’s Car In ‘Family Matters’

‘Did I Do That?!’ All About Steve Urkel’s Car In ‘Family Matters’

Super nerd Steve Urkel was an instant breakout character on the classic sitcom Family Matters, and his tiny car became a signature prop. Jaleel White’s scene-stealing turn as Urkel propelled him to a fan favorite of kids everywhere.

Family Matters centered on the Winslows, a middle-class family in Chicago, Illinois. Steve Urkel, a nerdy young boy, first appeared in the 12th episode of season one, smitten with Laura Winslow. Portrayed by Jaleel White, Steve Urkel was initially intended as a one-time character. However, his quirky behavior resonated with viewers, propelling him to become a regular cast member from the second season onwards.

However, Urkel’s unique ride, a 1960 BMW Isetta, was already iconic before the eccentric genius got a hold of it.

A Brief History of Steve Urkel’s Car

According to Hot Cars, The BMW Isetta originated from the Iso Isetta, a creation of the Italian company Iso SpA under Renzo Rivolta’s ownership. In a bid to produce a small car for widespread market appeal, engineers developed a diminutive vehicle by 1952, leveraging the Iso Moto 200 engine, and eventually christened the Isetta.

Upon its debut, the car sparked intrigue. It measured a mere 7.5 feet in length and 4.5 feet in width, sporting an egg-shaped design. Unconventionally, it boasted a solitary front door. The entire frontal section, encompassing the steering wheel and instrument panel, pivoted on a hinge to accommodate two passengers.

A storage compartment with a spare wheel was located behind the seat. In case of a collision, passengers could exit through the fabric sunroof, which also served as the source of ventilation, although an optional heater was available.

Steve Urkel’s Car Debuted in Season Four of ‘Family Matters’

In the season four episode “Driving Carl Crazy“, Steve Urkel’s uncle Cecil paid him $50 to take the Isetta. Urkel uses the minuscule vehicle to attempt to impress Laura Winslow and get driving lessons from Carl Winslow.

The Isetta became a signature prop for Urkel and appeared in multiple episodes. Indeed, his ride is so well remembered, that it’s often mentioned when modern microcars debut. Urkel’s 1960 BMW Isetta sported silver air dams in the front, flaunting a color combo of red, white, and pure cuteness. However, Steve Urkel’s car was modified slightly. It offers a larger cabin size to accommodate Jaleel White and his fellow cast members.

Family Matters fans might wonder where the car ended up. The car is said to be currently housed in Jaleel White’s garage, as he was permitted to retain it as part of his contract after the series concluded. Allegedly, it remains operational and is in impeccable condition.