Historic Borgward cars have always set standards.
These are some of the unforgettable models for automobile enthusiasts.
SIX MILESTONES OF INNOVATION
Although it was a brave and self-confident act for Carl F.W. Borgward to establish his company as an automotive supplier, producing radiators and fenders after the end of the first World War, this was merely an interim step for Carl F.W. Borgward. This 29-year-old engineer wanted to design and build cars – nothing else. The famous Blitzkarren (“Lightning Cart”) he produced in 1924 marked the starting point. It fulfilled the need for a cheap means of inner-city transportation and paved the way for a succession of vehicles, which by the end of the decade had captured a 25 per cent share of the light commercial vehicle market. Borgward’s partner, businessman Wilhelm Tecklenborg, sold Blitzkarren three-wheelers to the Deutsche Reichspost and these light trucks were employed to collect mail from Bremen’s post boxes. When a new name was proposed for the truck, the employees were in favor of ‘Lilliput’ but Borgward, always a big thinker, decided on the ‘Goliath’ name instead. Four years later, an entire generation of green grocers, bakers, farmers, and tradesmen took to the wheel of the new Goliath.
Borgward Hansa 1500
It was at the end of the Forties, when spirited automotive genius Carl F. W. Borgward was already thinking outside of the box. After completing the development of a new vehicle in the post-war era, Borgward set a standard that all other carmakers were trying to follow in the coming years. The Hansa 1500, first introduced during the Geneva International Autoshow in 1949, marked the first European vehicle to have a pontoon body with wings integrated into the bodywork.
Goliath GP 700E
Carl F. W. Borgward was a pioneer. Whether being first-to-market with a new product or technology, his spirit remained a motivating force throughout brand history.
First premiered in 1952, the Goliath GP 700E anticipated a technology that was not adopted in mass production until the end of the 20th century. Back then, almost 50 years earlier, Carl F. W. Borgward was the first automaker to express enthusiasm in the potential of direct fuel injection systems. Direct fuel injection systems could improve consumption, drivability and emissions, especially in conjunction with the two-stroke engines that were commonplace in 1952.
The Goliath GP 700E was a sensation and set a milestone in automotive history, for it was the first regular production car with direct fuel injection, offering motorists an incredible 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption over a carbureted engine. Overrun fuel cutoff reduced emissions of the car’s neat 700 cc 29hp two-stroke engine.
Borgward Hansa 2400
For some, manual gearboxes erode the quality of luxury motoring. Although widely available today, an automatic transmission was a radical concept in the early 1950s – at that time, no European car manufacturer offered one. In 1953, the Borgward Hansa 2400 became the first luxury car to offer this extra option. The innovative three-speed transmission with torque converter was developed completely in-house–pioneering thinking at its best.
Iconic is an over-used adjective, but not when it comes to the Borgward Isabella. The Isabella combines German passion for precision engineering with a beautiful and functional design. Sixty years ago, mid-sized family cars were expected to offer space for five people including luggage, yet their interiors were usually characterized as an unremittingly sober atmosphere. Carl F. W. Borgward disputed this orthodoxy. Why should a family car not be a pleasure to drive and look at? The Borgward Isabella helped form a new segment and featured attributes that could thus far only be found in luxury vehicles – sportiness, desirability, spaciousness and reliability. With an output of 60hp, the 1954 Borgward Isabella outperformed its direct mid-sized competitors by almost 50 percent.
As the first family sports car, Isabella effectively created a new segment in the automotive industry and set the standard for outstanding performance. The 1957 Isabella TS, like its older 1954 sibling, pursed the family sports car concept, offering 75hp of improved performance without compromising on safety or reliability. The longevity of its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine was legendary. Isabella derivatives were the result of open-minded thinking and innovative engineering. Why not also offer a coupé for even more driving pleasure? Or a convertible? And wouldn’t an estate car benefit from the diverse nature of the Isabella’s character? This expanded line-up reflected the further development of groundbreaking ideas and Borgward’s ambition to challenge existing boundaries and compromises – long before it became the norm, the Isabella line exemplified diversity. Isabella helped Borgward cars gain an excellent reputation around the world – a reputation that has lived on for half a century. Carl F. W. Borgward’s infallible instinct for latent market niches yielded the biggest success in Borgward history – in all, more than 200,000 Isabellas were sold.
Borgward P 100
Carl F. W. Borgward was an achiever; for him, hesitation was an unfamiliar concept. This attitude stayed with him throughout his forty-plus year lifetime career. Pride for personal and team-based accomplishment was ingrained in the Borgward brand. It provided the springboard for the company – the third largest market player in Germany in the late 1950s – to be first-to-mark with several emerging vehicle technologies. The lavish six-cylinder P100 managed to combine comfort and safety in equal measure and, even 55 years after its launch, its technical specifications remain impressive. P100 is credited as the first European car to feature the revolutionary, self-levelling pneumatic suspension, ensuring that the ride height remains constant, irrespective of the load and driving conditions.
HISTORIC BORGWARD IN NUMBERS