Not only was it real, but there is one for sale at a tony sports car shop on Santa Monica and Robertson in West Hollywood. I was just lingering on it from the window Monday evening.
Oh wow. The first thing that crossed my mind was "Rolling Death Trap".

The second was "clown car?"
YES
Yeah, I'm not sure how this seemed like a good idea to anyone.

Save space by putting the steering wheel on the door!
Sonovagun...s'like a DeLorean, only, you know, all twisted and backwards...
YES
Oh my word!

My first thought was em.. airbags people? And then it was that looks uncomfortable!
Sometimes, when I'm undergoing a period of great stress, I dream that I'm driving odd little cars like these.
YES
I'm looking at it and trying to make sense of it. Front, back side? Then I spot the steering wheel and I'm like That can't be right!

Maybe the competition should have been WHY DID THAT SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME???

Anyway,

YES
Yes

Oh, I remember bubble cars like this from the sixties. I used to wish for one with a passion.
I remember my father telling us about how, when on maneuvers in Germany in the 60s, he backed over one of those with an APC. The driver had parked it between the vehicles of a convoy while it was stopped beside the road and my dad didn't know it was there. Fortunately, the owner wasn't in it at the time.
Yep...its a real car. BMW built this car, an Italian design, under license as the BMW Isetta. The originals were two seaters. This is an enlarged four passenger Isetta 600.
Some might remember the Isetta as Erkle's car on 'Family Matters'.
Cars of this ilk were very popular in Europe after WWII until the early sixties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isetta